Customer service is more than just keeping customers happy. It’s about revenue, for the reason that a lost customer means lost revenue and an unhappy customer can damage your reputation. Good customer service means putting the needs of the customer first. Good customer service requires you, as a member of staff, to put yourself in the position of your customers. You should be aware of how you would like to be treated if you were a customer and deal with your customers accordingly. Most leisure and tourism organisations will have a customer service policy which describes their strategy for looking after customers. The policy emphasises how highly the organisation values their customers.
Meeting customer needs Meeting customer will have personal needs, wants and requests which are exclusive and individual needs. Customers will therefore look to leisure and tourism organisation to meet their individual needs. The primary need of the customer is to purchase the product or service which an organisation offers. Customers will also have secondary needs which will help influence the customers to make a decision as to whether to buy the product or not.
The popular London Zoo offers visitors a fabulous wildlife experience, and also plays a key role in conservation of animals and public education. It’s run by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), an international scientific, conservation and educational charity founded in 1826. The skills challenge With the opening of their new Gorilla Kingdom attraction, the Zoo was anticipating a busy year in 2007. The thousands of extra visitors would put staff under the spotlight. Excellent customer service is vital to the Zoo’s success. Human Resources Manager Karen Turnbull wanted to raise the general standard of skills and qualifications among staff, ensuring that every visitor got a consistently high standard of service.
“Staff working in customer-facing roles such as catering or retail are the public face of the Zoo,” she says. “It’s really important that they have the best possible training. It’s also important to us that staff have the opportunity to develop themselves in their roles.” How Train to Gain helped Train to Gain carried out a free skills assessment, looking at staff skills and the Zoo’s goals for the coming year. Together, Karen and her skills broker drew up a training plan to help Zoo staff meet the new challenges.
8 staff members signed up to do NVQs in customer service, improving their communication, time management and personal organisation skills. 6 more chose to study other subjects – team leading, business administration and retail. Karen was delighted with the help Train to Gain offered her. The advice was not just focused on identified business needs, it was also learner focused. “Everyone on the programme can benefit, whatever their starting level of skills or knowledge,” Karen says. “The programme is also very flexible, so the learner can progress at a speed that suits them.”
Different types of customers The leisure and tourism industry includes a very wide range of facilities, attractions and services. A lot of appeal to different types of customers as others may be aimed at specific customers. Whichever sector you decide to work in, you will probably find yourself dealing with a wide range of customers with different backgrounds, ages, nationalities, interest and specific needs.Leisure and tourism staff will often deal with a group of mixed ages, such as an adult with young children or a senior citizen with grandchildren. You should be able to identify the specific needs of each and satisfy them all.
People from different cultures When we talk about culture we mean the tradition, tastes, opinions and behaviours that influence us. Foreigners might see British culture as including going to watch football match or a drink at the local pub on Sundays and families sitting down to a traditional roast meal on Sunday. Many of us do not fit into cultural images because we are all individuals. We are now far more aware of other cultures and tend to copy the parts of those cultures that we like.
Non- English speakers Many thousands of people visit Britain each year with little or no knowledge of the English language but they hope people providing them with customer service will able to understand their needs. You may find yourself in a situation where you have to deal with non-English speaking customers. You cannot be expected to be able to speak all foreign languages, but even if you know just a little of customer’s language its shows excellent customer’s service to use it.