Customer Service – Can you meet the Challenge?

Customer Service in Tourism – Can you meet the Challenge?

The Scottish Government’s Framework for Change for Tourism states:

‘We need to exceed our customers’ expectations so that they have a great time in Scotland and want to come back – and recommend us to their friends. In order to do that, we need to know who our customers are and what they’ll want from us. We’re in a fast-changing and competitive consumer marketplace, though, and consumer expectations are continually changing.

‘We therefore need to stay ahead of the game, keep on top of market trends and new developments and be quick to respond with development and enhancement of our own products and services. Only then can we ensure we’re always ready to exceed our customers’ expectations, however they may change, and so build our reputation as a must-visit, must-return destination.’ http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2006/03/03145848/4

Tourism providers are encouraged to collect feedback from customers to identify their client base, what they do well and where they could improve.  Feedback should be analysed and improvements made on a continuous basis to meet ever-changing customer needs.

Do you collect feedback and focus on continuous improvement?

It is particularly important that tourism and hospitality providers continually develop their people.  A tantalising, tasty menu, an ambient atmosphere and up-to-date decor might draw in the customers, but if the customer service does not match your customers’ expectations, they will be dissatisfied.

The people of your organisation and their skills do affect your bottom line.  It is vital that you improve and maintain the morale of your staff.  Here are a few tips on how to do this:

  • Carry out an internal staff survey to understand their key concerns and their barriers to delivering great service. The principle applies that if your staff are not satisfied, then your customers will not be satisfied.
  • Ensure staff involvement and participation in identifying and improving service quality. Increase the employee involvement in identifying problems and solutions and your staff are more likely to experience a sense of ownership of your service and quality problems. They will also perceive that management considers them to be important partners in providing services, empowering them to address and solve problems.

Involving service staff as partners in building a strong service culture makes it more likely that your employees will care about delivering good service to your customers.

  • Create a continuous feedback loop for your frontline staff. Don’t just give feedback when something negative has happened. Your staff need to know when they are doing well. Don’t leave them to guess.
  • Don’t try to shoehorn your staff in to a ‘one-size-fits-all’ operating model. Staff are motivated in different ways. Some will want recognition; others just want or need the money. Some strive for career advancement, others are seeking self esteem. Try to understand these drives and manage accordingly, or productivity and quality may suffer.

It is a team effort to improve products, services, skills and knowledge. Through a focus on continuous improvement, your business will grow and prosper by providing a competitive and exceptional visitor experience.

For your FREE workbook on Supporting Customer Service Improvements contact Michelle Fenwick by email mfenwick@protocol-skills.co.uk and the workbook will be emailed back to you, alternatively call Michelle on 01383 842254 or 07795256193.

Protocol Skills also deliver qualifications in Customer Service; check out our courses by following the link. www.protocol-skills.co.uk

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