What is great customer service?

Customer service is what the service industry is all about – whether in hospitality, banking, retail or any other sector. If you fail to deliver good customer service customers vote with their feet and go elsewhere. Sometimes the product is so good that customers will overlook poor customer service initially, but this will only last so long as failure to improve the service will mean the next fabulous, shiny new product will take them away.

In the hospitality sector great customer service can make or break your business. When I interview for any position I always ask the candidate to give me an example of a time that they experienced great customer service. I’m amazed by how many candidates that say they can’t think of a positive experience, but they have plenty of bad customer service experiences and they usually go on to relate the story whether I want to hear it or not! We all have numerous examples of terrible customer service and we tell everyone about it whether they’re interested or not because we pay good money for the pleasure!

I always remember the time I experienced exceptional customer service. My other half and I decided to have a staycation at the Bushmills Inn. I was very excited about our visit as I had heard so many good things about the hotel. We checked in at reception, relaxed in our room enjoying all the luxurious elements before deciding to head down for dinner. At this point I would make it clear that we hadn’t made a reservation for dinner, nor had we ventured further than our room and had not had any interactions with any hotel staff other than one receptionist at check in.

As we approached the restaurant the manager on duty said, ‘Good evening Mr. & Mrs. Douds, how are you this evening?’. I looked at him in surprise but said we were great and we’d like a table for two. Needless to say, the food, service and relaxed atmosphere was second to none for the rest of the evening but the high point was being greeted by name by someone who hadn’t met us before. How did he know who we were? Had the receptionist phoned the restaurant in the couple of minutes it took us to walk past reception to the restaurant, had he a list of in house customers and a description of each one, or was there a simpler explanation that maybe he had been at reception when we checked in? Whatever the explanation I was completely ‘wowed’, and that member of staff made a great customer service experience exceptional for me.

Great customer service is more than delivering the service with a smile. It’s about engaging with your customer from the point they decide to visit your business (by checking out your website social media or reviews), the welcome they receive, how they know what’s on offer and how it is delivered to them by engaging, proactive team members. Key to delivering excellent customer service is getting your team to care. On one occasion one of my breakfast team welcomed a guest by name and asked would she like her usual before going on to relate what she had last ordered – two years previously! He cared enough to remember the hotel guests and what they liked.

We at Podd Consulting can help you to deliver exceptional service every time. We offer bespoke, tailored workshops as well as ongoing department specific one day workshops through Northern Ireland. Check out our services at www.poddconsulting.com or contact us on 07813 906082 to discuss how we can help you.

Upcoming Front of House Receptionist Training Workshops – Belfast Thursday 27 September 2018, Omagh Thursday 4 October 2018 and Derry/Londonderry Thursday 11 October 2018. Book now to be the best!