We all talk about it in our businesses and we all practice it at varying levels of implementation and success. But what is customer service and what do we mean when we say ‘good customer service?’
What is Customer Service?
If you were asked to define customer service what would you say? If you google the phrase you will most likely receive expressions such as “the assistance and advice provided by a company to those people who buy or use its products or services” or “The process of defining customer satisfaction”. Both of these are correct in my eyes but what else does it mean to you?
Define Customer Service
I see customer service as the actions that add value to the experiences had by the people who visit your bar, pub or restaurant. Customer service is not something that is done solely so customers say “That place has great customer service” when they are talking to their friends and family about their most recent night out. Don’t get me wrong, this is something that you want people to be doing but it is not the only reason.
Customer service is just something that we all should be doing in our businesses anyway. Forget about the fact that we have to give great customer service because that’s what the business model or handbook tells us to. We all work in the hospitality industry for a reason and that reason should be about wanting to give people a great time and allow for them to have great experiences in our venues.
Customer satisfaction is what we’re driving for every time we open our venues. Every time we take payment for a meal or a drink we are wanting to ensure that customer satisfaction is high. From the moment our customers walk through the door all the way to the time they leave we want to be sure that everything between those two points has the highest satisfaction level that our team can give.
What is Great Customer Service?
Look, we all know the answer to this really. If you don’t, then try flipping the question around. What is bad customer service? Think about all the times that you have not been thanked once you have made a transaction. Think about all the times when you’ve sat at a table with dirty plates and glasses for twenty minutes before you finally have to get up and ask for them to be cleared away. These are all examples of bad customer services.
Customer service doesn’t always have to be about the obvious displays of free gifts, the priority boarding or the loyalty scheme applications. Think about the subtleties that your customers will expect to receive whether they realise it or not. All it takes to start your customer service journey off on the right foot is a simple hello, a smile, a thank you and a ‘have a nice day’. Your customers are people, they are paying for a service…the least your staff should be doing is thanking them for choosing your service over that of your competitors. If your staff are forgetting to do the fundamental basics of customer service then next time your customers may just become someone else’s customers.
Customer Service Training
As managers, we should put emphasis on the customer service training and as just shown above this doesn’t have to be in scientific delve into the human physique in order to get results. Focus on the basics and your customers will react. Your customer loyalty will increase and so will your footfall and turnover. Face it, that’s what we’re looking for really isn’t it. We are in the business of giving people great experiences and through that we should be seeing larger financial turnovers.
You should be aware of what your customers want and tailoring your training around that. Different markets require different experiences and therefore the customer service approach may be different. You and your team will be able to see what works, what doesn’t, how people react to certain things and what the feedback you collect is saying. So long as you’re building upon your customer service approach you will find what the perfect balance is.
Customers for Life
In my book “Do you Need Help Running Your Bar” I talk about this subject a lot. A customer for life gives you a lot more value than a one off customer. Through great customer service we can convert more and more of these ‘one off customers’ into customers for life so that you continue to get their repeat custom and therefore repeat revenue.
Think about it, if you have more customers who spend £20.00 a week at your bar compared to customers who spend £80.00 once and never return which would you prefer? Fifty-two weeks a year…you do the maths. I know I’d prefer to have my customers spending with me for life. That’s not to say you shouldn’t be giving these known ‘one off customers’ the same experiences but your life customers will reward you for years and years.
Easily said than done though as people’s situations change. They grow up, they move away, they begin to develop different wants and needs. That’s fine. Life customers may start to visit you less frequently…just make sure that it is not for the wrong reasons and that you and your staff didn’t contribute too much through bad customer service.
If you are still unsure about what is customer service I suggest you read back a bit in this article and find the part where I ask “What is bad customer service”. By eliminating the things that we ourselves know to be bad we can start to emphasise and improve on the service that we want to give to our customers. Find that perfect balance to what is great customer service and what is just plain annoying. Nobody likes to be pestered every two minutes with an “Is everything OK?” but nobody likes not to be asked at least once during a meal either. Nobody likes to be constantly interrupted by a bartender trying to join in the conversation at the bar but then again, nobody likes to be completely ignored by the bartender either. Finding the balance is the key to great customer service.
What is customer service? I hope you are beginning to remember all the times you’ve experienced good and bad customer service in your life. If you’ve got a great customer service story or an example of a situation that had the worst customer service then let us know…these stories are always good for a read but they’re also good to learn from. Not everybody will realise that what they are doing could be bad customer service so it’s always good to learn. Leave us a comment in the form below with your stories or drop us an email at email@example.com , we’d love to hear from you.
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