In an interview with CustomerService.ae, Peter talks about the importance of having a competitive edge, and how Symphony Style Hotel Kuwait has managed to retain that competitive edge through remarkable customer service practices.
Q: What customer-centric factors set Symphony Style Hotel Kuwait apart from other hotels in the region?
Peter: Everything we do at Symphony Style Hotel Kuwait is focused around our customers’ experience, which maintains our standing as the preferred destination for the whole gamut of travellers, from business to leisure.Being awarded earlier this year with the prestigious Safe Hotels Premium Certification, an internationally recognized award for safety and security, further strengthens our reputation as safety pioneers.
The right people with the correct attitude are crucial to success and every member of our team is committed to this approach, to put the customer first in all aspects. Our facilities are designed keeping the needs and desires of guests in mind, from the F&B offerings, which feature the best of local and international cuisine, to our spa and gym facilities. Corporate travelers are a big part of our business and our extensive meetings and events facilities, which feature the latest conferencing and audio-video equipment, guarantee seamless, successful events every time.
Q: What aspects of the hotel would you describe as highlights of the customer’s journey during their stay at Symphony?
Peter: Our highly skilled customer-focused team remains attentive to the needs of guests, from the moment they arrive until the end of their stay. First impressions are lasting impressions and a big draw in our customer journey is our interior – 18 luxurious floors of contemporary design, which blends perfectly with our authentic hospitality. We cater to all segments of travelers; business, leisure and families with our dedicated facilitates such as the state-of-the art Six Senses Spa, fully equipped gym and suspended infinity pool, which together make Symphony Style Hotel Kuwait a center for wellness. We also offer a stylized and unique Kids’ Floor, a space dedicated for our junior guests, staffed by highly skilled professionals and offering a range of facilities including an expansive multipurpose play room, cinema, sleeping and dining areas.
In addition, our state-of-the-art meeting and events facilities across six floors of Prestige Tower offer our corporate guests an unmatched venue to conduct business meetings and corporate conferences. All of our 18 meeting rooms are fitted with the latest audio-visual and conference equipment, with a highly-qualified team, trained in the latest AV and IT technologies on-hand to ensure each event runs smoothly. Two striking executive boardrooms located on the 16th floor feature built-in screens, projectors, video conferencing facilities and high-definition surround sound systems. Our two stunning ballrooms Ebreez and Breesim, located on the second floor, add an extra dimension to the customer journey, with the flexibility to host large weddings and corporate functions, to more intimate gatherings.
We go above and beyond the standard in our approach to the customer’s experience with our highly-personalized services. An excellent example would be our ‘pillow menu’ allowing guests to choose their perfect pillow.
Q: What are some essential customer service skills and protocols that you teach and develop in your staff training and how often do these trainings take place?
Peter:As we offer cutting-edge customer service, we constantly innovate and evolve our trainings to ensure we remain at the forefront of the region’s hospitality sector with our exemplary services. We engage all our new staff members in our in-depth induction program to ensure they are up to speed with our policies and the Symphony Style Hotel Kuwait approach. We train our staff to build a positive and professional relationship with guests, such as greeting them by name and remembering names. This is one example of how we go above and beyond the usual service standards ensuring our guests feel valued. Our Concierge and front-of-house teams are fully immersed in local culture and traditions, which is at the core of our ethos and philosophy so they can assist guests with knowledgeable answers to any questions. They are trained in English and Arabic communication skills, safety and security techniques and responsible business policies.
Q: What facilities do you offer for guests with special needs?
Peter: We take great pride in being a hotel that is inclusive and accessible to all. We have full wheelchair access in all areas of the hotel, from ramps to the lobby and around the interior and exterior of the property to accessible restrooms. All our pathways and corridors are also wheelchair-friendly. All rooms at Symphony Style Hotel Kuwait are also equipped with wheelchair access and facilities for those with special needs.
Q: What service factors are most integral in providing a memorable customer experience?
Peter: Customer service is a key success element in our industry. The quality of service can make or break our name; hence, it is vital that we pay utmost attention to provide unparalleled service and pay close attention to the full customer journey, from the very beginning with the guest booking through to and their airport drop-off. Service at Symphony Style Hotel Kuwait is of the highest level from our superb F&B facilities, focus on wellness at the Six Senses Spa and our commitment to offering the best available room rates through our website. The high level of service extends to the intricate details of the room décor and facilities, which highlights how we stand apart from our competitors by addressing the finest of details. In addition, the fact that we can provide our guests access to a connected world-class shopping mall, is an extra special component that others in our sector are unable to offer.
Q: What methodologies do you have in place to assess customer feedback and guest satisfaction?
Peter: We have implemented the latest ReviewPro solutions that collates all guest feedback from online and social media channels, including Trip Advisor, Booking.com, Google+ and many more. Listening to your customers is the key to success and we strive to reply to every comment in the shortest possible time, to act on feedback and deliver wherever possible in order to retain customer loyalty and satisfy guests on their next visit.
Q: What online customer support and social media platforms do you use to address customer inquiries and concerns?
Peter: We pay great attention to all our channels of communications including our website, Facebook and Instagram. We encourage guests to give feedback via SMS and email as well. We take every comment on-board and act on it accordingly, which is something that sets us apart from the competition.
Q: What methodologies do you have in place to establish customer loyalty and keep customers coming back?
Peter: Our guests can maximize their stay with us through the Club Carlson rewards program, which allows customers to earn points for their stay with the chance to collect some great rewards. All Club Carlson members can gain exceptional benefits at more than 1,000 Carlson Rezidor hotels worldwide. Club members can also earn 20 gold points per dollar spent on all stays worldwide including money spent on food and beverages.
Q: What are your plans to further enhance customer experience in the future?
Peter: In our industry, you cannot rest on your achievements. You must keep innovating and evolving to retain customer loyalty and satisfaction. We plan to implement a guest tracker system so that we can monitor guest feedback after each event. Our guest comment cards and guest satisfaction sheets will continue to evolve so we are able to capture the most accurate picture of the experience of each guest to be able to continue to exceed expectations.
With more than 21 years of experience within the Rezidor Family, spanning more than 9 countries, Peter Schuler is a skilled hospitality operator and administrator. Peter is an advocate of balanced leadership, empowering employees and spearheading development and is driven to excel in customer service, striving to make Every Moment Matter.