The new year is in full swing, and it might be the perfect opportunity to take a step back in your business and have a look at how your staff and yourself if you are an owner/operator, are serving your customers.
Also, consider where there might be opportunities for improvement.
Ongoing and consistent evaluations and tweaking things in business are essential for success.
Here are some useful tips to enhance your customer service for 2020.
1. Think like a customer
Seems like an easy thing to do, but something we often forget to do when we are in the throes and day to day running of our business.
Take some time to dine, visit or be served in your venue like a customer, or send a friend to check it out.
You can assess the ambience, noise levels, lighting, staffing and food, which all play into a successful customer service experience. When was the last time you visited your venue like a customer would?
2. Invest in a staff training day
Getting together with your key staff regularly can work wonders on refreshing your approach to customer service in your business. When was the last time you held a staff planning day?
Staff planning days can be a great way to ensure everyone is up to speed on what is expected of them, to roll out relevant training, and it's also a great way to boost staff morale.
3. Think of your customers as guests
It is a little mental shift that can pay off greatly. Think about your customers like they would be a guest in your own home or sharing a meal at your table.
To get to the heart of an excellent customer service experience, try and treat your customers like you would a guest.
4. Empower your people
Empower your people to deal with conflict as soon as it happens. The more practised your staff are through training, role playing, and giving them the confidence to tackle problems, the better prepared they will be to deal with them in real-life situations.
By empowering your staff, you are setting them up for success, and hopefully minimising the incidences of service experiences going poorly for the customer.
5. Lead by example
Your staff will look to you for guidance on how to handle both positive and negative customer service scenarios that play out.
As the saying goes, ‘Monkey see, monkey do.' We are not calling you or your staff monkeys but think about leading with a positive mindset and treat each customer as you would like your staff to. They will mimic your behaviours so lead by example.
6. Thank your customers for visiting/dining with you
Such a simple thing, but a thank you goes a long way in customer service.
At the start of opening a business, we are so grateful for all the customers that come through our doors, but over time we can get a bit jaded.
Taking time to thank every customer genuinely is a great way to create some good vibes and repeat business.
7. Refresh phone answering skills
When was the last time you refreshed phone answering skills with your staff?
Investing time to train your staff on how to answer the phone with a calm, friendly and professional manner is an investment in customer service.
I'm sure we have all been on the receiving end of a rude staff member when we've called a business. Take some time to invest in training your staff on correct telephone etiquette for your business. Please don't assume they already know how to do it.
8. Review your reviews
Have a look at your reviews for your business and ensure that you have responded to all reviews; both good reviews and bad reviews.
And if you don’t have a process in place for handling reviews, we suggest adding this into your job description, or someone in your marketing department.
9. Look at your touch points
Look at all the touch points your business has with potential customers.
Have you invested in customer service training in all these areas for your front-facing staff? This could be in sales, online, in your cellar door, social media, on the phone, and when they walk in your doors.
10. The devil is in the detail
Take a good hard look at every area of your business for the details.
Things like chairs dragging along floors, a storeroom on the way to the toilets that needs a clean-up, or chipped plates going out of the kitchen.
The devil really is in details, and for customers to have a well-rounded and great experience in your venue, you need to ensure that all the details are of the highest standard. Think about creating an experience for your guests. Every time someone walks through your doors, look at it as an opportunity to create an unforgettable experience.
Kate Bickford MD & Owner - BK AGENCY: