Before we all speed off into 2017, I wanted to slow down and acknowledge our progress in the past year. You may ask, “Why should I care about what iResponze did in 2016?” I believe that a quick detour with iResponze reveals some lessons that could apply to your company, your team, or your hotel.
Testing 1, 2, 3
One of the most enlightening lessons of 2016 revolved around pilot programs. As a young company, we have to be willing to offer up a sampling of our services with some prospects. Until last year, we had not rolled out our pilot programs with consistency nor had we applied our learnings to overall company processes. This year, our team dialed into the pilot process, and we successfully converted two major prospects with multiple hotels to contracted clients.
What did we do differently? We collaborated deliberately. The sales team kept us on our toes about what we needed to offer to secure the pilot. The engagement team kept us honest about the resources we needed to bring. The leadership of every team shared knowledge and followed through on adjustments. For many companies, this collaboration is understood and acted upon every day. For our startup, with staff members used to just getting the job done, we dug in and learned to grow our company together. The results speak for themselves: we have doubled our portfolio of hotels and tripled the number of pilot programs we implemented.
Add, tweak, repeat
For any organization, matching resources to needs is challenging. Identifying your priorities and ensuring you consistently match the right resources – money, people, tools – can strain a team’s efforts to cooperate and collaborate. Doing this while you’re experiencing high-speed growth is even more challenging. This year, I must admit, we experienced some growing pains that strained our team dynamic.
How did we resolve? We committed to adjustments; we let nothing be set in stone. For instance, we brought in a powerful sales management software, focusing, of course, on how our sales team would use it. As we implemented, we learned of ways that our engagement team might benefit, and we expanded our utilization. Along the way, we also listened to our colleagues, finding ways to simplify and to maximize the system.
This has been an exceptional growth year for iResponze. Our engagement team has tripled the number of responses they manage each day. Our client roster has more than doubled. Our onboarding time for each client has been cut in half. Our services have expanded to include not just review response but also social media servicing. This team grew our company exponentially in 2016.
How did we celebrate? We paused. For the first time since our launch, we designated time together to review our progress, set our goals for the new year, and get to know each other. Our two days included sharing some personality profiling so that we can communicate better, discussing goals across all departments so that we can support each other more successfully, and volunteering together so that we can be reminded that our world is bigger than our computer screens.
As you and your teams move into 2017, I urge you to learn from our iResponze experiences this past year and check your rear-view mirror. When we did, we learned: Be bold in how you secure new clients. Make adjustments to resources as needed. Celebrate your team.
I couldn’t be prouder of the work we’ve done together this past year, and I look forward to what 2017 will bring. Here’s to you, team iResponze.
Rose Mentrie, Chief Innovation Officer, at iResponze, helps hotel management companies create successful strategies for responding to online reviews. As someone who has worked with hotels and hotel brands for three decades, Rose understands that guests ultimately determine success at hotels. iResponze® partners with hotels by responding to online reviews on their behalf. This collaboration allows staff to focus on what they do best – delivering exceptional guest experiences.