Have you ever heard the saying “By hook or by crook”? It actually traces back to 1170 when Henry II was searching for the Norman Lord Strongbow on County Waterford coastline. The village of “Crook” is on the Waterford Harbour estuary and there is a headland called “Hook” at the mouth of the estuary. Hook is the home of the Hook Lighthouse which is over 800 years old and is the oldest operational lighthouse in the world!
“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.
This has always been a hot potato at any of my customer service courses. Most people say they don’t but in reality, I think a lot of people have sneaky looks at their phones during their core working hours.
The Holiday Inn Express has become the first hotel in Antrim to receive WorldHost Recognised Business Status. WorldHost is a customer service training programme that was developed for the Northern Ireland market by sector skills council, People 1st, in partnership with Tourism NI. The programme offers delegates a comprehensive training toolkit that can be used across a wide variety of industries.
WorldHost NI is leading the way for customer service excellence across Northern Ireland, with Moira Guest House becoming the 500th WorldHost Recognised Businesses. This is an incredible achievement for the property as well as the entire WorldHost NI Community including the trainers, business proprietors and participants themselves.
As the first business to attain the award in Moira, Moira Guest House has certainly shown that it is prepared to go the extra mile in customer service, assisting guests to plan their visits in terms of airport collections, itinerary planning and weekend adventure packages. Dogs can now also be catered for by special arrangement.
Eleven local hospitality and leisure businesses from the Newry and Mourne area have successfully completed WorldHost Customer Service training. Councillor Michael Ruane, mayor of Newry and Mourne Council presented certificates to the ‘WorldHost graduates’ at a special ceremony at the Sean Holywood Arts Centre on Tuesday 12 November.
Antrim hotel and restaurant staff met up with Viking warriors, damsels in distress and celebrity chefs at the Shane’s Castle Game Fair recently to find out more about how the event looks after its 25,000+ customers every year.
The representatives of the Holiday Inn Express, the Maldron Hotel and the Back Shed restaurant were completing the WorldHost Customer Service Programme, the international customer service programme which was developed in Canada in 1985 and now used in over 17 countries around the world.
Nine local Lisburn self catering accommodation businesses have become the latest organisations in Northern Ireland to be awarded the national WorldHost Recognised Business Status for their commitment to customer service.
Owners of Dunhill Cottage, Flatfield House and Clock Tower Self Catering, Heathfield Hall, Clenbelle B&B, the Coach House, Clintagh Cottage, Richmond Coaches, Good Cottages and Ballycanal Manor were presented with their WorldHost certificates at Good Cottages in Ballinderry on 8th May by Alderman Jim Dillon, Chairman of Lisburn City Council’s Economic Development Committee.
Also in attendance were Sammy Gamble, Department for Employment and Learning; Duncan McCausland and Seaneen McGrady from the Northern Ireland Tourist Board. The World Host Trainer is Lynda Willis from Customer Sense Training and Consultancy.
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.
- Master The Skills Of Creating A Positive First Impression on a Trade Stand8th November 2018 - 4:59 pm
- Carnlough volunteers become WorldHost Ambassadors9th October 2018 - 2:22 pm
- Lisburn Council’s Sports Services Unit Achieves Customer Service Excellence Award14th August 2018 - 4:17 pm
- You’re Hired – Interview Skills Training – 6 November 2018, Belfast8th August 2018 - 2:39 pm
Rock Lane, Aghalee,
Lurgan, Co Armagh,
Phone: +44 (0)28 9265 1525
Mobile: +44 (0)7773 423675
Email Customer Sense