In 2016, Mursion partnered with Best Western® Hotels and Resorts to help one of the world’s largest hotel chains reach its vision to “lead the industry in superior customer care.” After field testing the Mursion virtual simulation platform, Best Western integrated simulations into its “I Care – Every Guest, Every Time” program, a site-based training program designed to improve guest interactions throughout the guest’s hotel stay.
Delivered directly to all of Best Western’s North American properties by a team of 42 regional training coaches called regional services managers, the program emphasizes problem resolution, an area of customer service that challenged many Best Western sites according to customer feedback data provided to Best Western by Medallia, Inc. No role faced greater customer service challenges than that of front desk clerks, who have to manage the short tempers and high demands of tired and often frustrated business travelers every day.
Best Western’s front desk training included the following:
- Training Module: Each front desk staff member participates in a module that is delivered by a regional services manager focused on how to implement Best Western’s service standards, while going above and beyond the call of duty for every customer.
- Live Simulation: Each front desk staff person participates in 1-2 live virtual simulations with Mursion, in which they interact with avatar-based characters that present challenging issues that mimic real-life customer problems.
- After Action Review: Immediately following the simulation sessions, regional service managers and general managers deliver standards-based feedback to front desk staff, and the team reflects on how to better handle similar problems moving forward.
Initial results of the program based on the first cohort of 380 hotels who received this training, demonstrate that Mursion is delivering on its promise to transform customer service. As Best Western recently reported, “Results from the program are staggering.
Hotels that received the training experienced the highest short term gains in customer satisfaction that Best Western has ever measured in such a short period of time.” The average cost to design and deliver the simulations driving these extraordinary outcomes was less than $165 per hotel.
- Hotels experienced an average of 2-5% gains in post-stay guest satisfaction survey ratings compared to flat rates for non-participating hotels.
- Gains were strongest for problem resolution (5.1%), the main focus of the simulation-based training.
- 97 percent of hotels reported being highly satisfied with the training.
- Best Western credits Mursion for helping them to sweep the upper midscale in midscale brands in nearly every customer service category, including “helpful and courteous service” (Business Traveler News, 2017).
Based on the success of the first phase of the project, Best Western and Mursion are currently planning a second phase of training that will include simulations for front desk staff on how to better serve Best Western Rewards members. The front desk agents “actually are being tested while learning in a much more fun environment,” said Best Western Hotels & Resorts chief marketing officer and SVP Dorothy Dowling.
“Results from the program are staggering. Hotels that received the training experienced the highest short term gains in customer satisfaction that Best Western has ever measured in such a short period of time.”