Good Customer Service: The Rigorous Demands.
What is Customer Service?
Customer service is of paramount importance in the hospitality industry. No matter what department you work for in a hotel, one way or another you will come across an unhappy customer. Customers do not complain because they feel like it. Customers complain because they think that they are not getting value for their money.
Let’s take a look at customer service. What does it really mean? There are actually two words involved here; Customer and Service. Let us define the words and see what it really is. A customer is a person who wants to pay a fair price for a quality service or product and feel satisfied that they have paid for a service or product and received what they have paid for in return. Service should not be just the exchange of monies for a service or product. Service should be more than a product or action taken on his behalf. It should provide satisfaction. The customer should be pleased – not just content but actually happy. A happy customer is a returning customer. Thus customer service simply means providing a quality product or service that satisfies the needs and wants of customers and keeps them coming back.
Customer Service: Hospitality Industry
Having defined customer service let me put things into perspective. Whilst working in the hospitality industry, I came to know customer service as one key factor that will determine whether the hotel is going to be profitable or not. As I have defined customer service above, if good customer service is lacking, then customers do not return. Ask any hotel manager or employee in a hotel and they will tell you how important the customer is to their operation and success. That is the very reasons why you will hear the Hotel manager say that the customer is the most important person in their job, he is the reason why we have a job. The customer is the one that pays everyone’s salaries.
As a matter of fact a customer can fire everyone in the hotel starting from the manager down to the line staff. How does he do that? You may ask? It is simple. He spends his money somewhere else. This means loss of jobs, decline in sales and profits, decline in market share and it all sums up to the company not being in business.
For that matter, companies spend millions in training their staff to ensure that they are equipped with all necessary skills and attitudes to make the customer happy. A happy customer is a returning customer.
Customer Service Training
One common thing among all hotels that I’ve worked with is the development of a system or an attitude promoting customer friendly service. That is viewing the customer as the most important part of their job. A good example of such is the development of a training module “In The Customers Shoes” by a hotel that I’ve worked for. The name of the module should speak for itself. It is about knowing the customer’s needs and wants and also knowing what services and products you have that will best suit the customer’s needs and wants. Only if you know what your customer’s needs and wants are, only then, are you able to provide good service that will make the customer happy and satisfied.
One important thing about customer service is First Impressions. I attended one of this trainings and I must confess that it is as important as the customer himself. As the age old saying “you will never get a second chance to make a first impression”. How you sell your product or service depends on how your customer perceives you in the first 30 seconds. This is why first impressions are extremely important and can set the tone for all future transactions.
Customers first impressions are very important in the industry. That is why hotels train their staff to impress customers in the first 30 seconds of their contact. It is very important because the first impression you make stays with the customer for as long as he is alive.
All in all, good customer service for hotel means, continued success, increased profits, higher job satisfaction, improved company morale, better teamwork, and market expansion of service or product. Most importantly, good customer service determines the overall performance of the company. If we do not have returning customers then the hotel does not make money, resulting in decline in profits, low staff morale who are ready to hand in their resignation.
For the above reasons, customers are the back bone of any industry providing goods and services. Without customers the company may go out of business, leaving a lot of staff without jobs. Thus it is very important that staff be trained in all aspects of Qualtiy Customer Service as it is very demanding in today's competitive world.