Hospitality has a core function of providing excellent customer service. Therefore it is something that needs continuous hard work, effort, and attention. It’s an attitude and a way of thinking, a lifestyle essentailly. Customer service is tough in any industry, but in the hospitality industry it can be especially difficult – being on par in terms of price and quality only gets you into the game, but good customer service can win the game entirely. IHS Online offers a brilliant Higher Certificate in Hospitality Management, students achieving this qualification are competent to apply hospitality-specific frontline and management skills with specific focus on hospitality management.
Herewith are some tips and thought-starters for you to consider when you’re working on your customer service strategy…
Don’t call it customer service, but client experience instead.
it’s no longer just about service – it’s about creating a fully immersive customer experience for each client or guest. From the minute they walk in the door, until they return for their next visit/stay, is their experience. What kind of an experience would you like to create for each guest? How can you help them have the best experience? Remember that each experience is something that they’ll share with other people – word of mouth is a powerful customer service tool. . The aim should not only be to serve your customers but to create indelible memories that they will cherish for years to come and always associate your establishment in a positive light.
Be your own customer service legend.
Every hotel or restaurant has their own legendary story about that one employee who went above and beyond for a client. Make sure that’s you. If a guest or customer needs something, making sure you exceed their expectations is a good way to get noticed.
Pay attention to what your customers are saying, even if they aren’t talking directly to you. Look for opportunities to pleasantly surprise your guests. Anticipate their needs, without being obtrusive or overly noticeable. Strive to exceed a customer’s needs. Don’t just hear what your customers are saying but get physically engaged in order for them to feel understood. Eye contact is vital during this stage of the process, you should nod your head and encorage your customer to speak more. Another important thing to do is to mentally take notes and use the exact same keywords the customer is using to show that you have actually processed the situation.
Each guest or customer is a unique individual with their own needs. Make sure your guests know that you’re always available to them, no matter what they might need. Get to know your regulars. Their tastes, routines, personal preferences. It will pay off for you. Constantly make sure with your customer, take time to check in with them what they needs or wants might be. Ask them are you ok with this ….? Are you happy with that…?
Show Your Gratitude
Always thank your customers warmly and genuinely with a smile on your face each and every time. Tell them that it is pleasure to be serving them, it is here where you are able to make them feel appreciated, valued and important.
Millenials always want to feel like they are a part of the proceess, so before launching a new product or meal on the menu get their opinion. Put it on social media whenever and whereever you can.
Whatever your business is you will always be dealing with human beings and it is essential to realise that human beings will always make decsions based on their emotions. Try to always shift from speaking about business to other personal topics of converstaions like family, passions, art, literature, music and hobbies to name a few. By showing them you have similar interests you make it easier for them to relate to you.
Try to always remain confident, but never arrogant! Build your confidence in yourself by always staying informed and abreast whatever is going on in your business and in the hospitality industry.
Wow your Customers
The same treatment doesn’t work for all guests, in all situations. Learn how to read people and don’t be afraid to try new things. As long as it doesn’t hurt the hospitality business you’re working for and the outcome is favourable for the customer and the relationship with that customer is enhanced – consider your efforts to be successful.
To ensure your customer base becomes your fan base then pull out all the stops when the need arises. Be consistent in your methods and actions and you will always be rememebered.
If a guest or colleague has a question or a request, one of the quickest ways to get a solution or a recommendation can be found through crowd-sourcing on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. The fact that these are personal recommendations for tailors, hairdressers and the like, makes them even more valuable. Use YouTube to further your education – you’ll be surprised how many new skills you can learn from how-to videos. If you’re not sure of something – Google it instead of guessing – guests and customers love it when hospitality staff make the effort to be properly helpful. This builds immense rapport for them, and by sharing fresh new ideas and content with them you peek their interest making them feel as though they are growing by just being in your association.
Sometimes a customers happiness can boil down to a price, and you have to be willing to pay for this. The Ritz-Carlton permits every employee (yes, every single employee) to invest up to $2,000 USD to make a client satisfied. Whether it be handng out a free meal, or a weekend stay money here could be a good investment in building a lifelong customer. Happy clients are the best investments you can have in the long run as well as the most cost effective.
No is a Swear Word!
Never say NO! The word no is a barrier and brings about a shock factor to every customer. The word no is unconsciously associated to denial and refusal, you can always be very selective with your choice of wording when dealing with tricky situations.
Consistency is Key!
Nothing could possibly more disappointing to a customer than receiving impeccable service on one night/ or stay and to have a less than desirable service on another day.
Punctuality is Everything
If you are required to meet your customers at a certain time or serve at a particular time then that standard and timing must remain consistent. Being late shows lack of interest, lack of respect, lack of time management and sheer laziness.
People now tend to not return calls. Be different, return every single call that comes your way. Show your customers that you are interested, invested and you care.
Be it with your words, work ethic, mannerisms, image always try to set high standards for yourself and for your establishment.
Be a Rolemodel
You don’t need a title or a position of authority to be a role model. No matter what your level of responsibility in an organisation is, you can step up and be a role model for others to admire. Always have a positive, helpful attitude. Conduct yourself with dignity and integrity. Be useful. Jim Rohn stated: “Work harder on yourself than you do on your job”. Unleash your potential, be the person people want to do business with.
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