How Secret Customer Programs Facilitate Hospitality Training
Good customer service is the key to running a successful hospitality business. Whether you own and run a bread & breakfast, a restaurant, a hotel or any other hospitality business, there is no route to success other than providing quality customer service to your patrons. And for doing so you need a dedicated team of experienced employees who, by virtue of their exceptional hospitality training, can provide customer service of such unmatched quality that the phrase -–– once a customer, always a customer – becomes true for each one of your customers.
How can you assemble an exceptional customer service team?
It doesn’t take much to wish for such a great team, but putting together one such team is not a child’s play. But then employees with exceptional customer service and excellent hospitality training aren’t mythical creatures like centaurs and mermaids (though some still believe that good customer service personnel are a myth) and so it’s entirely POSSIBLE to assemble a team that will keep customers coming back again and again (and the accompanying cash rolling in). It would be rather difficult for you to find an entire battalion of highly experienced and highly trained customer service personnel in today’s extremely competitive labour market. And so your best strategy should be to hire a few highly experienced employees for key positions, and make do with younger and relatively less experienced and less trained individuals for entry level and other less crucial positions. Then you can enhance the customer service levels of your employees through extensive and continued hospitality training.
To be able to effectively apply the above strategy, you need to continually evaluate and measure the customer service provided by your employees. You need to determine the various flaws and shortcomings in the manner in which they interact with the patrons. Moreover, you also need to keep track of the trends in their customer service levels. You need to know all this in order to implement various hospitality training programs in a more effective and cost-efficient manner. You need regular feedback from your patrons to be able to collect adequate data for making the abovementioned measurements, evaluations and determinations.
Why are patrons generally not a good source of customer feedback?
Your “actual” patrons are not always a very good source of such sort of information. There are several reasons for that. The most important being that most of your patrons would rather persevere when faced with bad customer service than get into some kind of confrontation with your staff. Most of them will try to look and act satisfied with the customer service your staff provides them, in an effort to avoid an unpleasant situation. They will smile sweetly every now and then and even tip your staff members, all the while fuming inside and plotting their escape from your hospitality establishment. But bear in mind that your patrons might hesitate about filing a complaint with the management of your hospitality establishment, but they will not hesitate in recalling to all their friends, colleagues and acquaintances “the horrors they faced at the hands of your staff”. Some might even go so far as to warn anyone who will listen about your hospitality establishment’s bad customer service “in the best interest of the public”.
Your best option in such circumstances is a good secret customer program. A secret customer program can help you in the measurement and evaluation of your employee’s customer service skills. This will enable you to implement appropriate hospitality training programs. Furthermore, a secret customer program also helps you in identification of the flaws in your employees’ manner of dealing with and serving patrons. This will allow you to identify areas of customer service that need improvement on a priority basis.
How will a secret customer program aid you in implementing a hospitality training program?
A good customer service program will aid you in implementing hospitality training programs by helping you keep track of the customer service levels of your hospitality establishment. You will know about any downward trend in your hospitality establishment’s customer service levels before it’s too late and you end up with a mob of some seriously frustrated patrons and no reputation. Most of the time, downward trends, and sudden downward trends in particular, start when your hospitality establishment suddenly loses some highly experienced and trained employee working at a key position and is replaced by an inexperienced one. In such cases, it is utterly necessary that such a trend be identified and remedied in the initial stages. In most such cases extensive hospitality training on urgent basis can easily solve the problem.
Thus, it is necessary that you not only use a good secret customer program for determining the hospitality training needs of your employees providing customer service, but it is also advisable that you regularly make use of a good secret customer program to continually monitor the levels of your hospitality establishment’s customer service.