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Facing the Challenges of Evolving Customer Service Standards
Consumers’ assessments of their purchases are based not only on the quality of the product, but also the quality of their experience. Have you noticed how everything is being rated? Both you and your Uber driver are rated; restaurants, services, activities, and retail stores are rated on Yelp; even products purchased through online channels and marketplaces are rated. In a 2015 Parature study of 4,000 polled consumers, 60% say they have higher customer experience expectations than the previous year. My cousin posted this on Facebook last week:
“If EVERY TIME you call a company their voicemail message apologizes for ‘longer than normal hold times,’ at what point should they update what ‘normal’ is and just tell you they are strategically understaffed to ensure that you have a poor customer service experience?”
Sarcastic as his response is, he brings up a good point – at what point do superior customer service standards update to become normal? When everything is being rated and consumers are becoming more and more conscious of the quality of service, standards for customer service routinely get set higher and higher.
Consistently satisfying consumers is becoming an increasingly integral part of running a business, especially in service industries where consumers don’t leave with a product. This is especially true in hospitality industries where quality is determined by the guest’s experience and satisfaction. The same Parature study reports that 97% of consumers say customer service is somewhat or very important in their choice of or loyalty to a brand. Further, 62% have stopped doing business with a brand due to inferior customer service. 87% of 7,000 consumer polled say brands must work harder to create a seamless experience for customers.
As the popularity and professionalization of the vacation rental industry increases, these expectations translate into the responsibilities of the homeowner. Many vacation rental owners, however, are finding it increasingly challenging to deal with the demands of current customer service expectations. For example, homeowners are expected to be available 24/7 to respond to guests’ communications, and dealing with a flood of guest questions because they’re unfamiliar with your property can be tiresome. Even the time commitment for handling key exchanges and cleaning, prepping, and maintaining the property between guest stays is exorbitant. In addition, not living nearby your property makes it horribly inconvenient if not impossible to be available on short-notice, if at all, for routine tasks let alone lock-outs and property emergencies.
These challenges are often what drive the decision to rent out property on a long-term lease. But we all know short-term rentals, even though they require more involvement, can be much more lucrative. As guests begin to seek lodging that’s tailored toward their needs, homeowners are turning to services, like property managers, who specialize in vacation rental lodging. So don’t give up!
Using a property manager will assist with the challenges of maintaining the consistent customer service levels that ultimately result in a healthy and profitable vacation rental. Property managers will assist with an array of responsibilities including listing information, advertising, guest communication, check-in and check-out, and property maintenance.
Some property managers, however, go beyond the basics. Pillow goes further; we provide a platform that offers full management services for both homeowners and guests, setting the standard of professionalism and raising the bar for customer service. We’re full service meaning, we handle everything. Your vacation rental will have all that it needs to run efficiently and profitably – with consistent results – and your guests will have everything they need for a happy and successful stay. And we’re tech-focused, so we have competitive advantages including a proprietary pricing algorithm and smartphone apps that help us achieve our customer service standards.
Pillow also lists and advertises your home on all major vacation rental websites including HomeAway and Airbnb. We take every measure to ensure your listing is at the top of a guests search results, increasing your visibility and ultimately your booking rates. It’s been observed that when asking about a product or service, 66% of consumers expect a response to their query on the same day, and over 40% expect a reply within the hour.
Pillow provides 24/7 support for guests and homeowners. As customer service is everything, we make sure your listings have a 100% response rate by providing a dedicated team to respond to all inquiries and maintain a consistent response time. In addition, we’ve assisted over 25,000 guests with their stays – we know what questions often come up and we know what information to collect about the property so guest questions can be answered through the easily accessible guest app.
Our customer service is twofold as it’s dependent on the happiness of both guests and homeowners. We aim to provide a way for homeowners to experience hassle-free hosting while earning additional income with our income increase guarantee, and we strive to give guests a comfortable and pleasurable stay so they can get the max out of their vacations.
About Pillow: Pillow is creating a new way for people to become excited about renting their property. We are a technology enabled short-term rental platform that connects homeowners, guests, and vendors to provide a standardized rental experience. For homeowners, the ‘Pillow Promise’ means we maximize your income and care for your rental. For guests, it means we deliver an authentic and reliable hospitality experience.