Have you ever been to a restaurant and you’ve come away saying that it was just ok? The surroundings may be lovely and the food was good but you just didn’t feel terribly positive about the experience. Perhaps it’s hard to put your finger on what was wrong.
Representatives from the local tourism industry attended a WorldHost Food Ambassador Workshop at Daniel’s at Tweedies, sponsored by Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council and Tourism NI. Lynda Willis from Customer Sense Training delivered the course which was designed to provide insight into the rich food provenance in Northern Ireland and highlight all that is happening the growing food industry.
“Are you getting?” was how I was greeted in a fast food restaurant recently. It was accompanied by a scowl and it came after a three minute wait while I watched the disinterested employee put a few orders on to trays.
Customer Service Experience FAIL!
Was I a valued customer? Definitely not. Was I given a warm welcome? Definitely not. Will I return? Let’s say, it won’t be top of my list of “must return soon” businesses.
This assistant in the fast food outlet failed on a number of reasons including:
- Although she was busy serving other customers, she didn’t acknowledge me at all and say “I will be with you in a minute.” Instead, I had an uncomfortable wait while I wondered should I walk out and go to a competitor.
- She scowled at me – I wonder was she able to smile at all? It’s not hard to smile at customers and let them know you are glad that you have come to your business. It wasn’t the only restaurant I could have visited in the area.
- She said “Are you getting?” That’s not even a proper sentence. “Hello, how can I help you today?” would have been a much warmer and professional greeting.
Am I being fussy? Perhaps so but if I was an American visitor arriving in Northern Ireland for the first time, I wouldn’t be too impressed with the greeting that I received. It’s definitely not the way that we would welcome a good friend or family member to our workplace.
5 Top Tips to Improve Customer Service
Here are five top tips which will help to improve the customer service experience for all of your customers, new or returning.
- Acknowledge the customer on arrival with a greeting e.g. ‘Good evening, I will be with you shortly’. In doing so, make eye contact and smile to convey positive and welcoming body language
- Speak politely and professionally – ‘Can I take your order please?’ or ‘What can I get for you today?’ or ‘How can I help you today?’
- Thank them for their custom and encourage them to return again soon – e.g. ‘Thanks for coming in today. Please come again soon’.
- Upsell eg ‘Please take a copy of our menu. You can also telephone your order in advance or order online. We also offer a home delivery service.’
- Request feedback – ‘We are on Facebook and TripAdvisor so please feel free to tell us what you thought of our food and customer service today or give us a call’.
Customer Service Experience SUCCESS!
Even though you are really busy at this time of year, try to remember the golden rule of welcoming customers as they enter your premises with a friendly smile and a “Hello, how can I help you today?” instead of “Are you getting?” Hopefully that will be part of the solution to get customers to come back to your business in the future.
It was just a typical day for me working as a freelance marketing consultant and trainer. I had a meeting in the morning and then had another meeting later in the day. It was pointless in returning home in the interim so it was a good excuse to have a coffee and catch up on a few emails.
Deli Lites in Newry has become the latest organisation in Northern Ireland to gain national recognition for its commitment to customer service, after being awarded WorldHost Recognised Business status.
WorldHost is a world-class customer service training programme that has already been used to train nearly one million people worldwide, including front-line staff in hospitality, tourism and passenger transport for sporting and cultural events across the UK.
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Lurgan, Co Armagh,
Phone: +44 (0)28 9265 1525
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Email Customer Sense