They say two heads are better than one, and when it comes to redefining customer service in hospitality and beyond, it most definitely helps to work together.
Maria Ines Coma Cobar and Gabriela Gonzalez Rubio met in 2005 at high school and, like many students attracted to Les Roches, they shared a passion for hotels and travelling. After graduating with a Bachelor Degree Hospitality Management in 2012 and 2011 respectively, Maria and Gabriela took separate paths before meeting again in London.
Starting a business together
Originally from Guatemala, both Maria and Gabriela decided to head back to their home country after leaving London, a decision that led to their joint business venture. “We realized in Guatemala customer service is not a priority, owners tend to forget about their employees and their service and just focus on green numbers. We saw a big opportunity and decided to take it straight away.”
Putting employees first
In the hospitality industry, customer experience is everything, and Maria and Gabriela believe great customer service starts with well-trained and respected employees. “Your employees are your most important asset, they are the ones in charge of creating experiences for every single customer, without them there would be no business, and this is something you must keep in mind every moment of every day.”
Hospitality and beyond
For Gabriela and Maria, it was clear that all businesses, not just those in the hospitality industry, could benefit from support with employee and customer engagement. So, they launched Destinadas together, with a clear mission. “We are a customer service consulting agency focused on helping any type of businesses improve their care for their employees and the customer service given to their clients”, Maria says.
“Our main focus is to teach people how to take care of their employees, so they can then ask them to take care of their customers.”
A targeted marketing strategy
In an astute move, these two Les Roches alumni drew on their hospitality knowledge to develop a focused marketing strategy using facts and figures to appeal to finance-focused Guatemalan businesses. “Naturally, people are driven by numbers, which is why we choose to give statistics to our potential clients”, Gabriela said. “We strongly believe that service is what matters most, it does not matter how nice your store is and how beautiful the products you sell are, if you do not have good customer service, clients will not be loyal and will not come back.”
The facts Destinadas uses to promote their service are pretty compelling:
– It takes 12 positive experiences to compensate for one negative experience.
– There’s a 5-20% chance of completing a sale with a new customer, this rises to 60-70% with a repeat customer.
– It’s six to seven times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to sell to a repeat customer.
– For every complaint you receive, there are 26 more unsatisfied customers that didn’t complain.
People make the dream a reality
Finally, we asked the Les Roches alumnae what advice would you give to our students about the importance of customer service in the hospitality industry. “As Walt Disney says: You can dream, create, design and build the most wonderful place in the world…but it requires people to make the dream reality”.