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Building a Client-Centric Culture and the Art of High Retention

By , Vice President, Global Account Management

From the C-suite to the summer interns, everyone must live, breathe, and eat client satisfaction

Okay, maybe eating client satisfaction is a stretch, but you get the idea. In the world of B2B software solutions, there are two types of companies: those that put client interests first with every decision across all departments, and those doomed to fail.Click to Tweet | IDeaS Twitter

Throughout my hospitality and technology career experiences, I’ve had opportunities to travel all over the planet. While business practices vary from place to place, I’ve found client satisfaction and retention to be the worldwide benchmark of a well-run company with a high-quality product. Even in my hotel days, back when I myself was the B2B client, the same mantra applied—keep the guests happy.

So, what can you do to ensure you and your wider organization consistently keep your clients at the very top of your priority list? Here are five basic tips I practice and preach to help instill a client-centric culture and ensure my company’s clients want to stick around for years to come.

  1. Take it personally. Your client’s success is your success. Enabling their ability to succeed, and preventing potential pitfalls, must be your daily mission. Celebrate new clients. Cherish old clients. And get to know them all on a personal level. A company is, after all, just a group of people. No matter how big or small the client organization, they should all be treated equally. The abbreviation may be B2B, but the mindset should be B4B.
  2. Walk the walk. Hire people who have been in your client’s shoes. Leverage the experience and expertise of those industry vets to educate the rest of your staff on what matters most to your clients (and to their bosses). Then get out of the building. Visit your clients. See what their day is actually like so you can truly understand their wants and needs, which leads to my next point…
  3. Listen up. Don’t waste entire client meetings blabbing on and on about the superiority of your product. Instead, listen to their problems, learn about their unique business challenges, and use that intelligence to make your software even better. With a well-informed, client-driven product improvement roadmap, you can position your company as the proactive partner your clients trust.
  4. Show, don’t tell. This fundamental advice for writers is just as relevant to client training. Education is not a stop. It’s an ongoing journey. We can’t simply tell our users how to operate our systems; we must offer ongoing, tailored support and thoughtful learning experiences. Above all else: be patient and stay committed. A good mountain Sherpa waits for the right conditions, makes sure you’re ready to climb, and when it’s time, they lead the way.
  5. Sleep at night. Getting a healthy eight hours is great, but I mean this more in the ethical sense. If you don’t believe in what you’re selling and supporting, it’s time to look for a new job. In order to provide the best possible client experience, to exceed expectations, live up to your promises, and produce results, your company and your product have to actually be worth it.

At IDeaS, we strive to operate by all these principles across our entire organization, and our client retention rate of over 98% gives me a hunch we’re doing something right. We’re somewhere in the ballpark now of 11,000 clients, in about 130 countries, and growing constantly, but never letting the exponential momentum cause us to lose sight of what matters most.

Mohamed Khanat
Vice President, Global Account Management

Mohamed “Mo” Khanat joined IDeaS in 2012 with over 20 years of industry experience in hotels and hospitality technology. He is currently the vice president of global account management, leading a team of hospitality experts focused on delivering the best possible experience for IDeaS’ clients and driving their ongoing satisfaction and success.

Prior to IDeaS, Mo held several positions in the hospitality sector, including director of revenue for Accor Canada and regional manager for Travelocity. He continues to be committed to the discipline of revenue management and profit optimization by finding innovative opportunities to drive asset-value growth for his clients while seamlessly integrating into current business practices. Mo holds a diploma in hospitality management from the University of Jordan. In 2020, he relocated to IDeaS’ headquarters in Minneapolis, MN from his hometown Toronto, Canada. When he is not busy traveling the globe, Mo enjoys spending time with family and friends.

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