Customer service, it is the be all and end all of success in the hospitality industry, and while you can’t please everyone, you should be doing your darndest to try!
The hospitality industry is so competitive now and those not keeping their patrons happy, or failing to keep up with the expectations of their members and guests, will quickly find themselves suffering from falling profits.
If you haven’t noticed already, your customers’ expectations have changed. New technologies have firmly placed customers in the driver seat – they now hold the power over brands and can either help you to swim, or video you on their iPhone as you sink (and then upload it to YouTube)!
A recent study, “State of the Connected Customer” (Salesforce, 2016), suggests that a perfect storm is coming our way. Business leaders are now faced with a future where Millennials will dominate their market, increasing digital customer service expectations further.
The digital age in no way downplays the importance of real world customer service, however now, it is all about maintaining the growing customer service landscape both on and offline. We know you can’t do everything, but there are some key areas that are worth focusing on, so we have pulled together our top five to help you get started!
- Customers expect immediate, responsive digital service: As connectivity becomes universal and customers grow increasingly comfortable with digital brand interaction, immediacy is an expectation now. 62% of Baby Boomers and 66% of Millennial consumers said they expect real time interaction with brands, and those figures are only going to increase as Australia grows in digital acceptance. Matching these expectations will have a big impact on your customer lifetime value, with immediate responses highly influencing brand loyalty. So, answer that Facebook query, respond to that TripAdvisor review (good or bad), provide that event pack via email … and do it quickly!
- Positive attitudes count: Complacency, apathy and employees who moan and complain in front of customers can quickly sour the perception of your venue in customers’ eyes. Outstanding customer service starts and ends with positive, smiling staff members who are helpful and use friendly tones to service clientele. Your employees are the face of your business and the people that your guests and members will most often interact with during their time with you, their cheerful attitudes will make a huge difference in time spent at your venue.
- Complaints? Nope – Opportunities: While the customer is not necessarily always right, when they take the time to reach out, on or offline, to discuss an issue with you, it should be taken seriously. More so, it should be taken as an opportunity to learn about your venue’s shortcomings or problem areas. Courteously helping a guest or member solve an issue they have often leads to stronger loyalty, great word of mouth and return visits with more friends and family in the future.
- Do what you say you’re going to do, when you say you’re going to do it: This may seem self-explanatory, but in the hustle and bustle of the everyday in a crowded venue, if even the smallest request is ignored or forgotten, it can seriously affect a guest. If you say you are going to get the Manager, get the Manager. If you say you will be back with some extra tartare sauce, don’t leave your seafood loving guest hanging. If you see someone regularly, learn their name and a bit about them so you can make them feel welcome every time they step foot in your door. Sometimes the smallest “extra mile” activities can have the biggest impact on customer service perception to your guests.
- Exceed those expectations: Going the extra mile for your customers is always the best course of action. Be pre-emptive if possible, for example, if you just signed on a new member, ask questions to discover more about what they like and then guide them to the best place in the venue to help them enjoy their first visit based on their responses. Think about how you would like to be treated when you come to a venue, do you want a “thanks for your money and bugger off I’m busy” kind of attitude, or a helpful friend that has all the time in the world just for you? I think you know the answer. Make every experience with your venue amazing and you’ll have them coming back for more!
Undoubtedly, customer service is critical to your venue’s success, so spend the time and the effort to get it right, it could mean the difference between empty seats, or packed to the rafter success for your venue.
If your team could use a customer service refresher, we have just the thing. Why not give us a call on (07) 3878 8977 and organise a private and confidential conversation about how to turn those frowns upside down in your venue.