Customer service training for the hospitality industry has never been more important

According to UK hospitality statistics for 2017, the hospitality industry accounts for 3.2m jobs through direct employment and is the 3rd biggest employer in the UK. This is bigger than automotive, pharmaceuticals and aerospace combined, and twice as big as financial services. Significantly, the industry generated over £72bn of gross value directly to the UK economy, and a further £86bn indirectly. As a result, it wouldn’t be unfair to say that hospitality is thriving.

However, a thriving industry generates fierce competition and in order to compete, customer service should be high on the agenda. To highlight its importance, in today’s digital world, people can ask almost everyone they know for recommendations in seconds, and on the flip side, a reputation can be destroyed in just moments too - we have social media to thank for amplifying the impact of word of mouth marketing.

“Increasing customer retention rates by 5% could increase profits from 25% to 95%.” - Harvard Business Review

 Interestingly, a statement from Harvard Business review tells us that customers who had the best past experiences with a business spend 140% more when compared to those who had the poorest past experience. This statistic, when looked at under the lens of the hospitality trade, tells us that when a customer receives great customer service, it instils a level of trust between the customer and the business. This level of trust often means they are less hesitant about choosing higher priced items, and are more likely to visit again. Unsurprisingly, this can work towards achieving the common business objectives: to increase customer retention rate and revenue.

But how should business owners ensure that they are delivering exceptional customer service at their restaurant, bar, or coffee shop? It all starts with an exceptional training programme.

With properly trained staff customer service becomes a competitive advantage

“56% of global consumers say they have higher expectations for customer service now than they had just one year ago” - Microsoft (2017)

According to UKCSI, when considering price and customer service, 60% of UK consumers prefer a balance: poor customer service in exchange for a lower priced product is not acceptable. As a result, regardless of a venue’s price point, it is vital that customer service training is part of staff inductions, and that it is refreshed periodically.

Choosing the right training course

Selecting the right training course provider is the first step towards enjoying the benefits of a workforce with exceptional customer service skills. A tailored approach is recommended - after all, all businesses have their own unique challenges. At Accelerator Solutions, we believe in designing bespoke training with a focus on delivering conclusive behavioural change.

It’s also important to consider the appropriate amount of training time - is a half day workshop enough to cover the areas for development, or is a more intensive two-day course required?  The importance of upselling should be considered too.

During customer service training the importance of upselling should not be overlooked

In hospitality, upselling is key behaviour demonstrated by individuals with strong customer service skills. Ultimately, it could have a huge part in enabling a company to reach its key objectives and business goals. Overall, upselling in a bar or restaurant accomplishes 3 positive reactions:

  1. The relationship between the business representative and the customer is strengthened; the customer perceives the employee as knowledgeable and therefore trusts the representative to assist in their buying journey.

  2. The value of the item that the customer receives is then increased. When upsold to, the customer often receives a better item, more suited to their needs and wants.

  3. Customer value increases. Quite simply, when successful upselling is implemented it results in a greater turnover.

In summary, the importance of customer service training for the hospitality sector should not be underestimated. When acquiring a training provider, a business should ensure that their exact needs can be met, and that the content focuses on driving behavioural change.

Accelerator Solutions is able to provide a wide range of training and development courses and programmes. We fit all of our training around your specific requirements to produce the results your business needs.



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