Photo: Courtesy of Diamond Resorts International
Before arriving on their tropical vacation at a Diamond Resorts International hotel, a family—let’s call them the Smiths—wrote a long, explanatory letter to the hotel staff about their son, who has autism, and his special needs.The family, who has suffered some unpleasant hotel check-in experiences in the past, explained that their son wanted to be above the second floor but not near an elevator.
Upon reading the letter, Diamond Resorts, which has timeshare units at 208 locations around the world, filed this information in their Customer 360 software and promised the Smiths that they’d never have to explain their request again while staying at one of Diamond Resorts’ properties.
The family was overwhelmed with joy and relief.
Technology can dehumanize many processes, but Diamond Resorts International wants to use it to make their staff’s interaction with customers more personalised, said David Palmer, company president.
“The beauty of our system is everyone is a number in it that can be instantly called up,” Palmer said. “So we have ability to dissect their interaction and find out what they want. The analytics can be robust and we have the ability to see how that person’s journey evolves while staying with us.”
Customer 360 is being rolled out through out all of Diamond’s timeshares in phases. The first started last year at the front desk. When customers arrive, the front desk attendant can see whether the customer is a first-time guest or a regular.
The point is to have a friendly “welcome to your first time in Hawaii,” or welcome back, good to see you again,” Palmer said.
If the person was in Hawaii for the first time, but the front desk manger can see they had previously stayed in Sedona, AZ, the front desk attendant will also have access to the activities the family did while in Sedona.
Palmer said the ideal response would then be something along the lines of, “We see you went on a nature walk in Sedona. Here there’s a tour of a volcano or snorkelling lessons, because we see you like nature.”
The Customer 360 software also has laid the foundation for the “Unexpected Delights” program, which allots money to each resort for the staff to do something nice for the guests.
Palmer gave the example of one manager over hearing a little boy asking his mother over a Christmas vacation, “Are you sure Santa knows I’m here? Where are the gifts going to if there’s no tree?”
The manager used the Unexpected Delights funds to set up a tree in the family’s room. This gift went into the system.
Again, the family was overjoyed and became “customers for life,” according to Palmer.
The next phase of Customer 360 will be for the call centre staff to help customers use their points better and help them plan vacations.
The ultimate goal for Palmer and Stephen Cloobeck, company CEO, is for everyone who touches the guest to have access to the database, to help make every interaction a bit more “human” and “personalised.”
“Technology can make life more complicated,” Palmer said. “But we’re trying to use it to make life more simple, and more enjoyable.”
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