Who among us hasn’t had an unpleasant dining experience thanks to a rude waiter, lousy food and bad service? From the telephone to the table, customer service is defined by anticipating the demands of customers, and these days, customers are demanding more; specifically in the way of service, and service starts as soon as the guest walks through the door. The old adage, “You never get a second chance to make a good first impression” still holds true today, especially in the hospitality industry, and equally important is the guest’s lasting impression.
“Customer service is all about the guest and anticipating and filling their needs”, said Shelly Dodson, Assistant General Manager of Mon Ami Gabi; a Lettuce Entertain You Restaurant. “Managers must convey to their staff that we are here to create a positive experience for our guest. When people dine out, it’s an event. They want a fun, exciting and pleasant experience and it’s our job to make sure that happens”.
Providing exemplary service is not complicated but it is a priority and every opportunity should be taken to ensure that the guest has been satisfied if the business expects to survive in a challenging, complex and competitive food service industry. It is the responsibility of both management and staff to understand the difference between good service and exceptional service. Most everyone can offer good service, but only the best can deliver exceptional service. Exceptional service is anticipating and exceeding the expectations of the guest. Creating a unique and exceptional level of unparalleled customer service will provide an advantage over the competition. Competition is good, as long as the business can stay one step ahead of their competitors.
“If we don’t take care of our customers, our competition will,” said Annie Kang-Drachen, Director of Sales and Marketing at the Department of Food & Beverage Management, UNLV William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration. “There is good and bad customer service and bad customer service stems from lack of care, ignorance and inaptitude which ultimately will result in loss of business and profits. I believe that exceptional customer service starts from the top; key personnel leading through example and instilling pride in each employee who comes in contact with customers. Exceptional customer service is what we all strive for because that is the foundation of good business, and our customers expect it which is evident by the fact that you don’t often hear comments about positive customer service experiences but you most definitely hear about the bad ones”.
While some companies concentrate on increasing sales by adding new menu items, redecorating the venue, outfitting the staff in trendy uniforms and offering daily specials often times, the little things that keep customers returning, gets ignored. Attention to detail is crucial. Customer service is the basis of a successful business and the wait staff is the lifeblood of that business. If service is sacrificed for the sale; that is a recipe for disaster. It doesn’t matter how delicious the food is or how inviting the atmosphere, if the service suffers, so will the business. פלטפורמה לשירות לקוחות
“People spend money when and where they feel good”, said Walt Disney and this holds true for any market segment.
“The customer service we provide is unsurpassed”, said Reina Herschdofer, Executive Director of Sales and Pavilion Operations at Rio and Harrah’s Las Vegas. “We get to know the customer and truly learn what is most important to them. Each and every customer has different needs and different priorities. If you know what the key to their success is, you can exceed their expectations”.
“You’re never fully dressed without a smile!”
Since the service staff is an integral part of the operation, they should dress for success and that begins with a smile. Service with a smile is one of the most important tools of the trade. Never underestimate the power of a smile. There is nothing more welcoming or contagious; it costs nothing and takes little effort. It doesn’t matter the nationality or the language of the guest, everyone understands a smile. “I never tired of saying a smile is worth a thousand words”, said Dodson.
As part of their training, it is imperative that the service staff be knowledgeable about the menu, not only in terms of the offerings but more importantly, in preparation, especially in today’s health-conscious society. Furthermore, building a rapport with the guest, making eye contact, adding a personal touch by having the servers introduce themselves and displaying the proper body language might seem inconsequential, but they are important qualities of service and contribute to a positive dining experience. The staff should treat their customers in the same way they would want their families or themselves to be treated. They are both the voice and the face of the business. Their attitude and appearance is a reflection of that restaurant’s culture and its success and growth depends on a well-trained, enthusiastic and accommodating staff with a strong work ethic; committed to taking care of the customer with decorum and good product knowledge. Strong leadership also plays a key role. Staff and management working toward a common goal will result in a positive dining experience for the guests and those guests will reward the staff with a higher gratuity and the restaurant will reap the benefits. It’s a win-win situation.