By Floyd Adler, Training Account Manager, Signature Worldwide
What an interesting question and what a challenge! Personally, I do not look at customer service being the same as it used to be; however, the challenge lies in the demand to work harder to make EVERY customer service encounter better than it has ever been.
Many changes have taken place over the years in the hospitality industry, making it a more competitive environment due to more properties (greater competition) and more amenities for your guests. With this comes the urgency and obligation to position your business with consistent, positive customer service to achieve the culture each guest demands. Guests want to know you value them as customers, and you should strive to show them you are appreciative of their loyalty.
It is also inevitable that problems will surface—as they will in any business that involves customer service—but you must assure your customers that you are willing to work with them through the complaints. A large percentage of customers will not complain to anyone at the property; instead, they just never return. It is important to build loyalty in customer relationships so when a disgruntled customer situation arises, you have the opportunity to handle it in a positive, caring manner.
In building this solid relationship with your customer, let us first define the customer and determine what it means to provide great customer service.
Customer: A person who chooses to do business with you without any coercion, intimidation, or pressure.
Great customer service: Service that leaves customers fully satisfied with their experience.
As you can see, defining great customer service is not that difficult. It is when you fully understand the customer and the customer service that is expected that you then will be able to deliver the legendary customer service process that will become part of your culture, which should be your main goal.
Figured it out yet? Customer service does not have to be the same as before, as you constantly should look for ways to improve upon it. You want it to be better and so do your customers. The following skills will assist you in adopting a great customer service attitude toward developing new customer relationships and in maintaining your current customer base:
Will the customer service process ever be the same? A commitment to building a strong customer relationship will ensure that the process will only get better. In addition, a better process helps to ensure long-lasting customers and repeat business.
Floyd Adler is a training account manager for Signature Worldwide, a Dublin, OH-based company offering sales and customer service training, marketing, and mystery shopping services for a variety of service-based industries. For more information, call 800.398.0518 or visit www.signatureworldwide.com. You also can connect with Signature on Twitter @SignatureWorld and on Facebook.