Customer experience in 2016 is largely about speed. Consumers have grown accustomed to the lightning-fast tempo of online and mobile platforms, and brands are expected to follow suit in all customer-facing processes. Chief among these evolving practices is customer service, in which customers expect immediate responses and two-way communication with the brand over the course of every inquiry.
 
Streamlining this process is CoMMingle Live, a new offering from Lodging Interactive that is touting itself as “the hospitality industry’s first real time live chat service for hotels and resorts.”
 
“In 2016 Customer service has become the new marketing as social media networks continue to evolve into direct consumer to brand communication platforms,” said D.J. Vallauri, Founder & President of Lodging Interactive. “Our CoMMingle Live service enables hotels and resorts to humanize their properties and to build loyalty with customers by providing a level of online customer service never before experienced in our industry.”
 
As younger consumers continue to trend further toward live chat as opposed to phone calls, the transition for brands, while full of its own challenges, has been one that provides immense benefit. Social media especially, with its built-in communication tools, has proved to be a channel through which customer service innovation can find success.
 
Thus far, the platform has delivered tangible improvements: over the course of a three-month beta test, hotels saw group RFP requests increase by almost 40%, while online direct bookings grew by 12%. With the rise in prominence of online travel advisors (OTA’s), hotels are searching for any edge in driving guests to book directly with the brand.
 
“CoMMingle Live enables us to provide the highest level of customer service even before our guests arrive,” said Ed Reagoso, General Manager of the Wilshire Grand Hotel. “I've been amazed at the level of customer engagement we've been able to achieve which helps us build long term loyalty.”

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