While there might be plenty of lessons for small businesses, when it comes to customer service; one just needs to turn to the hospitality sector. Whether you own small business within the tourism and hospitality industry or in any other sector, good customer service is the key to increasing and retaining your customer base. Small businesses have more direct interactions with their customers and clients than bigger operations.
This by itself paves the way for creating great customer experiences that will make your organization more memorable. Exceptional customer care helps you leverage your brand identity without having to spend hundreds of thousands on marketing initiatives.
In spite of the obvious advantages, many small businesses fail to put together a well thought out customer service plan in place.
A sound customer service policy should cover the recruitment and training of personnel, best practices, quality standard, plan for contingencies and much more.
Hence it is never a bad idea to consult with an expert. Amit Roy, a hospitality industry consultant with over 12 years of International experience, admits that “People get complacent about customer service as they believe their product is supreme, which in the long run does not help the business.
Companies also tend to forget to please and reward their customers for their patronage.” As a partner of ThinkTank, a specialized food and beverage industry consultancy, Amit has seen a fair share of businesses adopt customer service strategies from the hospitality industry. In any business, good services is about creating the “wow effect” for the customer.
Just like a hotel or restaurant tends to remember their regular customers’ tastes and preferences, any business should make sure they listen to the voice of their customer.. Remembering what your customer fleetingly mentioned or offering them loyalty benefits can make them feel cherished. So does asking your client or customer for insights about changes in your business.
This reaffirms the fact that they are central to your business. Building this sort of a personal dialogue with your customer is a surefire way to cement a long-lasting association.
Amit Roy lists five simple ways to make the right impression on your client or customer.
1. Do not ever say ‘no’; suggest an alternative if possible.
2. Take a leaf out of India’s traditional hospitality book- treat your guest/ customer/ client like God. You will never go wrong!
3. Always wear a genuine smile on your face and your voice while meeting or talking to a guest.
4. Under-promise and over-deliver.
5. Always know your product/ service better than anyone else out there.