Delivering Exceptional Customer Service in the Hospitality Industry

An Article by Ian Graham of Swayed Greyhound about Delivering Exceptional Service in Hospitality

In my experience in the hospitality industry if you work hard to keep your customers happy you will achieve success in your business.

I have found that staff who have been given comprehensive customer service training are much happier in their work, they are rewarded, in turn, through tips from happy customers, are encouraged by their managers and are loyal employees.

Customers will spend more when they are looked after and what’s more they will return again and again to establishments which provide great service and a great product. That makes the business a greater profit and it will benefit from the best type of advertisement there is – word of mouth, resulting in more profit and so everyone is happy!

My top five tips for providing great customer service in the hospitality industry are:

  1. Get off to the best possible start with the guest, giving the best introduction you can and extending a genuine welcome to new arrivals. With the people I have worked with I run an exercise which ensures that they can do this every time regardless of distractions. Mindset plays a part in this and a good server has a ‘towards’ mentality. A bad server doesn’t and can often run away from an arriving guest. Have you seen this before?
  2. Building a good rapport with all guests is vital. Luckily this is something that occurs naturally in all humans and the trick is to apply this as a skill. Remember to minimize any differences between you and a guest and emphasize any similarities. This could be in your body language, your voice, facial expressions and the words and language you use.
  3. Asking good quality questions will help you to identify what the guest would like and help you spot any opportunities to highlight other potential menu options. Think about the questions you’re currently using and think how you could improve them.
  4. Present the menu using descriptive and persuasive words in a way that appeals to the guest. Think of the Marks and Spencer food advert, then turn it down a bit and you’ll be well on the way!
  5. Don’t try to fix a complaint straight away as the guest may just want you to listen. Make sure you look like you’re listening when they are talking too. When responding avoid phrases such as ‘I know but…’ or ‘yes but…’ as these can get people’s backs up.

You would think customer service is an easy thing to get right but it’s amazing how many businesses get it wrong. How many times have you been out for something to eat where this has happened to you? There is a lot more to this than these tips and a little training can go a long way to improve the experience for guest and server.