Most of us are dealing with customers in our every day life. But all the customers are not the same and they have different needs. To be able to serve your customers in the best way you should have individual approach to each of them. But this requires some skills which can be learned.
A good service is not just one action, it is a combination of different actions that should be determined from a clear plan. It is important to make our client feel special. Therefore all the employees should be very well-trained regarding this subject.
Hospitality is very different from retail business. In retail business you can go to the store, choose the product, a suit for example, pay for it, put it in the bag, go home, hang it in to your closet, so you have something tangible. But in hospitality the only thing that customers are able to take with them when they leave is their memories and their experience. So it is very important how we make them feel. It is very important to create unforgettable experiences for our guests.
It is not just about attracting new customers, but also to keep the old ones happy and loyal. A very good and established technique is rewarding the loyal costumers which will later advertise and have the willingness to recommend our product.
The basic actions we have to take in order to keep our customers happy are:
- Competitive prices
- Clean environment
- Excellent knowledge of our product
- Effective presentation
- Professional behavior
- Effective promotion that connects the quality of services with customers needs
- No additional charges for extra services
It is important to identify customers needs and expectation. Only when we cover their needs and expectations we can say that we provide service. But we have to overcome the needs and expectations, in order to reach the customer satisfaction. The honest conversation with our customer is the simplest way to achieve this.
It is very important to measure and evaluate customers’ satisfaction. We can achieve this by conversation, through complains, surveys, reviews on social media, by measuring the guests’ loyalty, etc. Always encourage your guests to complain, ask them if they are satisfied, ask what can you do better if they are not satisfied. This is the only way to find out where you failed, and to understand your customers’ expectations.
The basic principles of the efficient services in hospitality are in other words the most important characteristics that defines the efficient services.
It is important to keep our promises.
This concerns willingness, efficiency and power of employees to provide a good service.
This concerns the knowledge and competence to perform services. Well trained staff is the must.
Is the ability to approach and to be approachable in order to provide efficient service.
Employees who represent the business directly, such as receptionists, waiters, bartenders and those who answer the phone should always show respect and to be friendly with the customers. Their appearance is also essential. They should have a decent look, and besides nice and neat appearance they should always wear their best and sincere smile ever.
This has to do with keeping your customers well-informed. To communicate clearly so they can understand you. To be able to listen carefully, this is the topic that I wrote in my previous article Learn how to listen.
It has to do with credibility and integrity to company ethics and promises.
Is the awareness of the dangers, risks and doubts. It also has to do with gaining the trust of your customers.
It has to do with recognizing and understanding of customers’ needs, expectations and requirements.
Has to do with providing facilities, equipment, well-trained employees, services, etc. in order to satisfy the guest’s needs and expectations.
We have to understand that nowadays customers are very well-informed. According to UNWTO statistics, 75% of the customers are choosing the property by the reputation and the rest by the price and the location. So we have to understand that just a tiny bad comment on the social media can cost a great damage to our reputation. I can give you one example so you can understand better what I am talking about regarding the reputation importance.
I worked in a very nice and quite new hotel that belongs to a famous and very popular hotel chain globally. The beds in the rooms were big, mattresses were thick and comfortable in excellent condition. Nobody ever complained about our mattresses. Until one day a review appeared on Tripadvisor from a guest that was not satisfied with our mattresses at all. He wrote that he found them so hard that he could barely sleep. We found the comment weird of course. We apologized to the guest for the inconvenience, but this is not the end of the story. The interesting thing is that after this comment on Tripadvisor most of our guests started complaining that our mattresses are too hard. In order to keep our guests satisfied, our General Manager decided to purchase around 100 memory foam uppers for mattresses, and we kept them in the store. So in the case that some of our guest complains about hard mattresses, we will be able to provide a solution. After one month the comments stopped. I hope through this example you can understand the importance of reputation. The reputation can be negative but it can also be positive and this is what we are striving for.
We have to take care of the guests’ overall experience. It is actually reduced in the fraction of a second of their consciousness but it is important. What matters is the summation of the guest experiences crystallized in a single sense. If it’s positive we will get the sympathy and loyalty of this guest and this is our main goal. It’s not all about outer appearance of hotel and advertising, if it’s not equate with inner culture of all the employees of the hotel.
Take care of your guests, they are the reason why you are there in the first place. I can’t understand when some employees complain that guests are distracting them from performing their tasks. This is ridiculous. The main task of every person involved in hospitality industry is the customers and their satisfaction. So, yes a lot of things can distract our attention during the performance of our tasks, but we can never see our customers as distraction.