Limehome, a technology-based apartment provider and operator in Europe, is a leader in the travel industry. Since 2018, the company has expanded to over 100 locations and manages over 3,000 apartments in seven countries.
But how does it approach CX? And what’s contributed to their off-the-scale growth?
To find out, we sat down with Julia Zuber, Senior Customer Insights Manager at limehome, to get the inside scoop.
“WE SELL EXPERIENCES AND MEMORIES”
Limehome is disrupting how a longstanding hospitality industry does business. They do it backed by a well-equipped, forward-thinking CX team. They have to learn from customer experiences quickly and use that data effectively across the entire company.
“What we sell are not just products. We sell experiences and memories,” says Julia Zuber, Senior Customer Insights Manager at limehome. “To sell amazing experiences, we need to stay closer to our guests, and that’s why everything we do is based on customer feedback. Executives, Product, Customer Support, Operations, and Marketing teams can access customer feedback anytime using Chattermill to make more informed decisions.”
Limehome’s ultimate goal is to become the first name that comes to mind when you think of travel, for everyone and everywhere. With ambitious growth plans and thousands of online reviews each month, it’s mission-critical for the company to channel the voice of the customer into every department and educate employees and partners on how to build outstanding customer experiences.
How has limehome created ‘surprise and delight’ moments?
“We’re using customer feedback to help our guests feel at home and make their stays more enjoyable,” says Julia Zuber, Senior Customer Insights Manager at limehome.
“Now that we’ve learnt what our customers need, we’ve started a number of initiatives to improve their comfort. We’ve exchanged our pillows as we found out many guests complained they were too big. We deliver reusable shampoo bottles and recycling bins because we know our customers care about sustainability.
With Chattermill, we can also test our ideas for personal gifts, like a toothbrush or earbuds, as we’ve learnt these are the things that get easily forgotten.”
“We wouldn’t be able to uncover these little things without Chattermill, and they are all priceless for creating unforgettable experiences.”
How do you keep every team involved in the CX mission?
With the help of Chattermill’s interactive dashboards, workflows and alerts, the operations team could uncover critical customer issues, potential risks, and incidents with external partners.
“With Chattermill, we have been able to build interactive dashboards for our external partners who look after our local properties”, said Jennifer Möller, Head of Hospitality Operations at limehome.
“We use them weekly to run performance discussions with each partner, focusing on specific themes such as housekeeping or amenities. They enable us to identify critical issues with unpleasant smells, damaged furniture, or missing amenities and then build an action plan, setting the highest standards in the industry.”
In addition, the revenue and distribution team at limehome looked to improve their online customer experience, which led to multiple improvements on their website and third-party booking platforms.
“When advertising our products on websites such as Booking.com, we can easily keep track of our progress, improve our property descriptions and provide more transparency in our services,” says Fiorella Valencia, Channel Distribution Manager at limehome.
“We can then quickly see how our guests respond to these improvements and measure the impact of our actions in Chattermill.”
What about product managers?
“Chattermill helps us analyse large volumes of customer feedback, concentrate on critical issues, and optimise our products, specifically our website, mobile app and customer portal,” says Aiman Fakia, Team Lead, UI/UX Design at limehome.
“The platform provides us with insights from those users we wouldn’t have access to without conducting time-consuming user interviews. Traditional product analytics platforms couldn’t complete the perfect picture for our guests. Chattermill was the missing puzzle piece that helped us achieve this goal.”
“Chattermill helps us inform some of the product decisions we're pursuing and shows us positive feedback from our customers,” says Gaston Vejar, Group Product Manager at limehome.
We are now reviewing our Chattermill dashboards weekly, monitoring the changes in net sentiment, especially within our online check-in process. It helps our tech team understand our users and shows their work's positive impact on the customer experience, increasing their engagement and motivation.”
How does CX fuel limehome’s growth?
“Chattermill is an incredible platform for our Expansion Team that helps us consolidate and analyse our customer feedback more granularly and link it to the specific properties we offer to our guests,” says Daniel Hermann, VP of Expansion at limehome.
“We can understand the impact of the tiniest nuances, such as a balcony, light, or design, on our guest experience and use it to improve the search for our next property. With such a summarised view, I can extract the most critical aspects, better equip the team for any real estate negotiations, or work with construction companies to solve problems.”
By unifying multiple feedback sources in Chattermill, all of limehome’s teams can see the downstream effects and impact they have on their customers and, ultimately, the whole business.
What are the daily responsibilities of a Senior Customer Insights Manager at limehome?
“I am a team of one. The customer experience and customer insights department was created only two years ago,” answers Julia Zuber, Senior Customer Insights Manager at limehome.
“I am responsible for getting the voice of the customer into the company, that was very hard at the beginning because there was no such thing at limehome, so I was fighting myself through it and trying to advocate for our customers within the company.
Now everybody is interested in what our guests say and how they feel about the experience with us. Everybody wants to have access to Chattermill.
Together with respective departments, I try to figure out where the customer journey breaks, we’re looking for solutions or starting certain initiatives to fix the issues and problems quickly and improve the guest experience.
My major KPIs are: NPS, average ratings on channels like booking.com, Google reviews, and AIRBNB reviews. We also want to connect our support platform through Dixa. Since we started working with Chattermill, net sentiment has also become a meaningful score.”
How do you measure the effectiveness of your VoC program?
“We made a big step into not forcing our products into our customers but co-create them. It’s connected to retention and revenue. We want to co-create with our customers to drive loyalty, launch more digital services, and equip the apartment with additional items or supplies – not only to encourage them to come back, but also to support word of mouth.
We want to be top of mind. We try to increase customer retention by creating great experiences. We look at retention, repeat purchases, and loyalty.”
What were your biggest pain points that triggered your decision to seek a solution like Chattermill?
LIFE BEFORE CHATTERMILL…
- Manually reviewing Booking.com: 2000-4000 reviews per month
- Manually reviewing NPS: 7000-8000 reviews per month
- At least 5 hours per day just categorising and reading comments.
“My first three weeks consisted just of reading reviews. I read hundreds of reviews per day. There was that insane amount of data (both quantitative and qualitative) no one had ever taken a look at.
I read thousands of reviews, created categories, and categorised feedback manually, but it was only getting worse.
As our business was scaling, we had more properties, more rooms, and more guests. I couldn’t do anything else but just read and categorise reviews. I couldn’t do any reporting or start any initiatives. It was just an overwhelming number of reviews.
We entered a state of information paralysis. I started fighting for a tool that would help us with these efforts.
We then agreed on a short-term solution - we hired a company (CrowdGuru) which categorised feedback for us and sent us results once a month. We sent them the definitions of categories and the reviews, and they had to do the manual analysis.
I could at least drive some initiatives. I had more time to do some actual work, talk to guests, and talk to other departments, but insights once a month just wasn’t enough as we scaled up.
Getting insights is just not enough. Whenever we got them, the deal was already done, the guests were unhappy, the insights were delayed, and there was no point in reacting anymore.
A lot of initiatives just didn’t prove to be successful. Without having insights or a certain direction, we were just checking what our competitors do. "
Could you give any specific examples of the time when you improved customer experience, product, or customer service based on the insights you found in Chattermill?
Knowing when we need to refurbish the apartment - We look at the number of reviews, and we can now see the number of negative comments increase, how many guests we have hosted so far, and that’s how it helps us define which needs to be refurbished.
We can collaborate between different departments - We can clearly see that it matters how I do a job for other teams to continue the work, which affects the customer experience. So the collaboration improved.
Proactive reach out to customers - After they give us feedback, it helps us see how to make up for a negative experience, learning from our mistakes.
Chose the right tech vendors - We’re closely monitoring issues with the digital access system, looking at which system has the least errors.
Improved communication with guests - We’ve reduced the number of emails and discovered that we need to use more icons in our emails.
We end with some quotes directly from the people at limehome!
What the limehome team has to say about Chattermill:
"I genuinely feel closer to our guests. Reading reports, support tickets, and monitoring review scores are one thing, but being able to jump into our Chattermill dashboard and quickly connect with the sentiment of our guests has been immensely rewarding for me."
Martin Mason, VP of Guest Experience
"[Chattermill] enables us to identify critical issues with unpleasant smells, damaged furniture, or missing amenities and then build an action plan, setting the highest standards in the industry."
Jennifer Möller, Head of Hospitality Operations
"I find it very helpful that Chattermill is not limited to one source of feedback but gives us a unified view of our NPS surveys, Booking.com comments, and Google reviews… Life is a lot easier with Chattermill!"
Isabella Stocker, Senior Guest Relations Manager
"Chattermill is an incredible platform for our Expansion Team that helps us consolidate and analyse our customer feedback more granularly and link it to the specific properties we offer to our guests."
Daniel Hermann, VP of Expansion
"We receive automatic notifications for certain keywords, such as "broken", so the Operations Manager can convert them into a ticket for the corresponding service partner. Ultimately, this is important to guarantee an intact physical product and a great customer experience."
Christoph Bremen, VP of Operations
"Setting notifications in Slack with Chattermill helped me to reduce my workload. The setup is so easy that everyone can do it themselves … I save even more time and work more efficiently on projects to solve problems."
Tuan Anh Le, Expert Service Delivery & Guest Analytics
"Chattermill automatically translates all the guest reviews into English and matches them with the keywords I identified. It's also easy to use, so I don't have to compile manual reports or ask other team members for help."
Sabrina Siti Dara, Working Student Procurement
"Chattermill is also a goldmine of customer-generated ideas that help us develop innovative solutions beyond our internal resources. As a manager, I find it helpful to evaluate different options and choose optimal strategies. It provides food for thought to our broader discussions on various topics."
Emma Pötscher, Senior Project Manager, Brand & Physical Product
"With Chattermill, we not only have an additional tool for measuring the quality of our support (e.g. attitude of staff), but we can also better understand which adjustments we can make to better meet our guests' expectations."
Christian Seebacher, Head of Guest Relations
"At Limehome, we strive to make truly data-driven decisions… We needed more in-depth insights into what people liked about our product. Chattermill helps us inform some of the product decisions we're pursuing and shows us positive feedback from our customers."
Gaston Vejar, Group Product Manager
"Chattermill provides a unified view of what our guests say about our brand. As a Channel and Distribution Manager, I need to understand the sentiment of our customer feedback and get detailed data on our guest experience. When advertising our products on websites such as Booking.com, we can easily keep track of our progress on those platforms, improve our property descriptions and provide more transparency in our services."
Fiorella Valencia, Channel Distribution Manager, Pricing and Analytics
"Traditional product analytics platforms couldn’t complete the perfect picture for our guests. Chattermill was the missing puzzle piece that helped us achieve this goal." Aiman Fakia, Team Lead, UI/UX Design