Do You Have a “Fresh Remote” Problem? A Curious Case of Customer Experience

Posted by: Jason Brooks
  • August 14, 2017

Upon checking into a particular hotel of a brand I had never stayed in before, I noticed on the nightstand a little white translucent bag labeled “Fresh Remote.” Sure enough, I could see the TV remote hermetically sealed inside. I immediately found myself in a paranoid state of questioning the cleanliness of my entire room rather than reflecting fondly on the welcome cookie they gave me at the front desk!

This was curious to me as both a customer and a researcher. As a customer, I suddenly became consciously aware of a “problem” I kinda-sorta wish I hadn’t been made aware of: that TV remote controls in hotels are apparently disgusting enough to warrant sealing them in bags. (I even posted a picture of it my Facebook page for a silly laugh.) Upon reflection, I suppose I’ve always been aware at some lesser-conscious level that hotel TV remotes are probably “germy”, but at the same time, either assumed hotel cleaning staff were already giving them a little wipe down between customers or that the problem just wasn’t that big of a deal. From a researcher’s perspective, this experience begged the question: was my implicit assumption about the hotel remote cleanliness the exception or the rule?

When companies set out to improve customer experiences, they need to identify, size and evaluate the impact of problems in order to set priorities.

Identify Problems

  • What problems or pain points do your customers perceive?
  • Can you solve problems consumers didn’t even know they had? (Consider that most of us never knew how great it would be to carry a camera with us at all times.)

Size Problems

  • How often and which customers experience the problem? (Maybe this hotel chain had already received a critical mass of customer complaints around this subject that warranted their corrective action.)
  • How often, if at all, do customers experience a resolution?

Assess the Impact

  • What impact do those problems and resolutions have on overall satisfaction and loyalty?
  • Do the resolutions have the expected impact or might there be unintended consequences?
  • How do experiences with your brand compare to experiences with your competitors? (Perhaps a clean bagged remote will be a differentiator for this hotel.)

Custom research can determine how experiences impact consumers both explicitly and implicitly. Armed with this information, brands would do well to heed the advice of Kenny Rogers, “You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em.”  In other words, use research to determine which problems are worth overtly addressing and which ones might be better off—as might be the case of the “Fresh Remote”–playing closer to the vest.

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