The Anatomy of Customer Service: 5 + 1 Tips to nail it!

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Good service could be summed up in one single phrase, “Always be nice.” Yes, it is so simple. If you look in the dictionary for the interpretation of the word “nice” you will see next to adjectives like “friendly” or “polite”. The verb also “to be” clearly states that good service is not just about what you are doing, but also who you are. As Liz Tahir, a well-known retail consultant, stated “The quality of customer service never exceeds the quality of the people who provide it”.

In this article, we will talk about customer service, and the tips that are applicable to all the layers of the Hotel hierarchy, as all employees without exception come in direct contact with guests. Lee Cockerell, former President of Walt Disney World, shares his experience in “The Customer Rules: The 39 Essential Rules for Delivering Sensational Service” inviting us to “create magic”. What does he mean?

Tip # 1: Customer Service is not just a Department

Customer service is not an obligation or a chore. It is personal responsibility. A responsibility carried out not only by the customer service professionals, but a responsibility that “waterfalls” from the President till the newest receptionist. In any position you may work, you must provide good service to your sellers, your suppliers, your colleagues.

In every business there will be always another – or many others – who will offer the same product as you. But if you offer a quality product along with quality service, you will become the first choice of customers. In a survey that asked “Why does someone stop working with a very company,” 43% responded “because of poor experience with a staff member”.

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Tip # 2: Ask yourself “What would mom do?”

After serving customers for over 40 years, Cockerell concluded that “Do not do something your mom would not want to know”.  Your mom wanted to raise a child who would be a team – player and would not leave the other children on the playground “off”. Customer service is clearly a group game, so make sure colleagues feel port of this too – yes, as you did in the playground.

You may not have perceived it at an early age, but Mom’s advice is a very useful professional lesson. I will tell you a few classic phrases that every mom in the world says, and I challenge you to doubt that they are not extraordinary customer service tips:

  • Always say “Thanks” and “Please.”
  • Always say ‘I’m sorry’ if you make a mistake.
  • Always keep your promises.
  • Never lie.
  • If you cannot say something good, do not say anything.
  • Step in others’ shoes.
  • Do something right or do not do it at all.

 

Tip # 3: Rehearse, rehearse, and rehearse.

Good customer service requires a script. The script, however, is not enough for a perfect performance. Rehearsals are also required. Exactly like football teams exhausting pre-race training – why should hotels be any kind of different? An entertaining and quite effective way of “practicing” in the Hotel is the role – play. The staff manager assigns the roles of the clients to some employees, while others retain their job status. Questions and realistic incidents take place, with you – the participant – improving both in service and in eliminating “stage fear”. A good start for this game is to gather all the possible, positive but mostly negative, situations that can arise with customers from all the departments of the Hotel. It does not matter if you will be wrong, but when will you be. That’s why, as Shakespeare said, “Readiness is everything”.

Tip # 4: Be a bee

No matter which your position is, you can always “walk around” in your work environment “planting” your inspiration and ideas, creating “buzz” for better ways that things can be done. Some questions you can answer by yourself or ask your colleagues to do the above are:

  • Why are you doing this in that way?
  • Do you think there is a better way to do it?
  • What do customers like about how things are done?
  • What they do not like?
  • If you could change 2 things in the provided customer service, what would that be?

Remember: It’s never too late to be better.

Tip # 5: If they say they want a horse, give them a Motorcycle

Henry Ford aptly observed, “If I asked people what they wanted, they would tell me faster horses.” Customers often do not know what they want until someone gives them – as in this case Ford gave them motorcycles.

Whatever product or service you offer, an important asset that you deserve to build is to anticipate the needs of your customers. In this way, you can solve any problems before they even arise. Watching carefully what went wrong in an incident or what upset a client, you can help in preventing future issues.

 

+1 Tip: Never say “No”, unless you continue as “No problem”

The word “no” awakens negative feelings, so it is not recommended by experts to use it to educate young children. Usually, it makes them want to stubbornly do what they have been banned to. Do not think your adult customers are very different. If they have a problem and you answer them with a vertical “no” you show a clear lack of effort to help them. Just do not say no. If you want to use it so badly, you can say something like “No, we cannot leave your question like that. Give me some time to see what I can do. “Even if you cannot guarantee a solution, do not disappoint them with a disastrous for their hopes “no”.

Always make sure you talk to the client who had the request after a while, and if you have not found a solution to it, do not focus on the weakness but on what you can do to offset it. Yes, this advice also works for “unreasonable” requests. Reply politely even to the most irrational customer and give him some time to calm down – he will certainly have “rationalized” his requirements.

 

There is no need for too much effort. Yes, you have heard well. You must try hard to offer the best possible service to your customers, but do not overdo it. You may have the best of intentions, but over – trying often seems false and pretentious, and customers do not like to feel that they are mocked. At the same time they do not like being ignored – I know the line is fine. So, to avoid losing your balance, you have to face customer service as something as natural as parenting your children.