Whatever you want, whenever you want it:what W Hotels can teach employers about employee experience

The 2017 US Customer Experience Excellence analysis was released recently and it makes interesting reading.

Based on research amongst over 7,500 customers about their experiences with 257 brands, it also looks at the employee reviews of those organisations as well.

One of the key things that emerged was the United State’s proficiency in customer experience best practice. It’s a mature discipline in America, and the country is currently six per cent ahead of the United Kingdom. Indeed, it is pulling away to an all-time high; 15 times more brands achieve outstanding CEE scores of 8 or above in the US, with just one organisation (first direct) reaching this score in England.

One of the top 10 organisations is the travel brand W Hotels, which pledges customer experience best practice through its brand promise. The W in its title stands for “whatever, whenever,” meaning that the company promises to give its guests whatever they want, and whenever they want it.

This is symptomatic of a desire to give customers a more premium experience which starts with the employees. Its housekeepers, for example, are referred to as “stylists,” whilst its other employees are referred to as “talents.” W Hotels rolls out this level of treatment because it believes that employees have to first experience it for themselves before they can pass it on to other people. And interestingly, the brand currently has an impressive 80 per cent return rate, and an occupancy rate that leads the US hotel industry.

They’re not alone in recognising that customers are looking for a more personalised, higher touch experience.  The IBM Institute for Business Value report brings this fact into sharp focus:

76 percent of consumers expect organizations to understand their individual needs

81 percent of consumers demand improved response time

68 percent anticipate organizations will harmonize consumer experiences

And this experience in our personal lives is tracking through to the employment space. Recent research from TMP Worldwide indicates that only 5% of candidates rate the recruitment experience as ‘excellent’  with 42% of candidates who have had negative experiences saying they’d never apply to that employer again. A scary thought in times of skills shortages.

The lesson to employers? Ensure that your employment experience – starting with recruitment – is differentiated, seamless personalised and authentic.