Below are our top tips for excellent customer service – the things you MUST do if you are going to deliver time and again. Of course these aren’t rules, they are our hints and tips, and if you have suggestions of your own we would be very glad to hear from you.
1. The Customer is King
The customer may not always be right in your opinion, or indeed they may not actually be right at all, but they are of paramount importance to your business and you ignore them at your peril: find solutions for them even if you cannot give them exactly what they want – always be prepared to go that extra mile and make sure you do it with a (genuine) smile. You must always make your customers feel valued and that their business is the most important thing in the world to you. Customers are very sensitive to their environment – remember they are your guest and need to be made to feel that they are not just at home, but they are at their home. Above all make sure that every interaction with a customer is completely sincere.
2. Listen, learn and add value
Constantly seek feedback, either direct from the customer through exit questionnaires or in-room surveys, or make sure people know they can review your service on digital platforms such as Feefo. Remember though, there is no point asking questions or seeking feedback if you are not going to listen to what they tell you. It is worse if you listen but don’t act. If you just assume that your service is excellent, you are missing the vital point that every customer is different, with unique needs and expectations – so excellent service for one may not meet the grade for another. While you cannot cater for every different customer, if you can show that you listen, act, and where possible add value above what your competitors are doing, your customers will appreciate your efforts, even if you fall short of their expectation. And remember, there will always be something you can implement or improve upon.
3. Life’s a mystery, but your values shouldn’t be
Your business is unique, with its own set of values and its own challenges. Your customer wants to hear about the former and not the latter. They do not need to know about your systems and procedures – they only really care about the outcomes because that is what affects them. So they don’t need to know what you do behind the scenes or why something has gone wrong, but they do need to understand why you behave in a certain way when dealing with a situation, because then they can put their experience in context. Understanding your brand values helps them make a judgment call on whether to come back. Your staff have to wear those brand values as a uniform because they must convey them to your customers in word, and thought, and deed.
4. Knowing wrong from right
According to the Radisson Blu Hotel Jersey, you have to have a ‘Yes I Can’ ethos. They say you should always seek out ways to help your customer and try to answer their needs, so long as they are reasonable. Always deliver what you say you will deliver, and if something goes wrong, hold your hands up and get on with making it right. Customers may not like ineptitude but they will always understand that mistakes happen: systems and people can let you down, and sometimes you will fall short of expectations. When this happens, make sure your apology is swift and gracious (but not over-the-top). Don’t try to explain every nuance of every negative event – the customer is not interested in why it happened, just that it is not going to impact on them any more than it has already.
5. Look to the future
You cannot underestimate the value of word of mouth or repeat business. Always review what you are doing in light of what your customers are telling you (see above) and look to improve. Look at ways to make the customer’s visit even more appreciated next time – and make sure you let them know their opinion is helping to shape your service. Similarly, make sure your teams are included in the feedback you receive. There is no point in keeping the information to yourself because if your teams don’t know what they are doing well, and not so well, how can they embrace or initiate change? Your team IS your business and you could have the best customer service policy on the planet, but if your people don’t understand it or, worse, don’t believe in it and therefore don’t live it, you will never deliver excellent customer service. The customer experience has to be of the highest level at every touch point of your business. Just as you should talk to your customers, it is equally important to communicate with your staff. Hold team review meetings, invite their feedback and suggestions, and check their understanding of your brand values and aspirations. If you work as one, the customer’s experience of your service will be memorable for all the right reasons.