Why customer service in hospitality industry is everything

Gone are the days when customers were happy just receiving "please" and "thank you" or getting service with a smile. Although those go into the recipe for proper etiquette, it's just not enough.

Gone are the days when customers were happy just receiving “please” and “thank you” or getting service with a smile. Although those go into the recipe for proper etiquette, it’s just not enough. Satisfied customers are looking for a memorable experience and dynamic service where it counts. 

Wikipedia defines Customer care service as the ‘‘provision of service to customers before, during and after a purchase”. By extension Customer service is a series of activities designed to enhance the level of customer satisfaction – that is, the feeling that a product or service has met the customer expectation. “The customer is always right” is a famous business adage.

The underlying truth behind this statement is recognising that customers are the life blood for any business. Understanding the importance of good customer service is, therefore, essential for a healthy business in creating new customers, keeping loyal customers, and developing referrals for future customers.

The importance may vary by product or service, industry and customer. The perception of success of such interactions will be dependent on employees who can adjust themselves to the personality of the guest.

In other ways, it is known that the customer is the most important person in a business premise, he is always right and that is the reason why the business opens.

Excellent customer service is vitally important in all businesses. It’s the first point of contact between, for example, the client and business representative or staff. It is the first opportunity an establishment gets to amaze and create a lasting impression. For the customer to return, a need to deliver what was promised is paramount, and perfect if you can exceed expectation where possible.

Every business needs to keep customers and clients happy, but in the hospitality industry it’s so vitally important to keep guests engaged in order for the business to grow and prosper. Good customer service is one of the keys to success in any business, but is particularly important in the hotel industry, where guests are looking to staff to help them make their stay as relaxing and comfortable as possible.

The issue is strongly related to how service quality is managed and which holds a significant importance to customers’ satisfaction and their perceived performance of hotels. In order for them to grow and survive, they must find new ways of handling their clients.

Great service make customers feel that you care about developing a long-term relationship that means more than just making a sale. Focusing on delivering customer service benefits hotel business more than a mere advertising. Improving “first contact” resolution is one of the primary drivers of customer satisfaction. Good listening skills and questioning techniques can shorten the interaction time with customers.

For hoteliers, learning how to constantly innovate to meet high expectations and provide good service is one thing they must not forget. The customer should be the centre of the universe and services should be designed around them.

Celebrating positive initiatives taken by any staff in this regard, communicating and sharing information on a consistent basis, empowering personnel, fostering wellness and paying attention to intuition are just a few of the small but critical items necessary for hotel staff  to produce the kind of guest and customer service ethic that will impress customers.

No matter what role we hold in a business, we all know if we respond to customers’ requests quickly and efficiently, chances are that they will stay with us and buy more from us.

Around the world, companies recognise the benefits of good service for retaining and winning customers. Customers who experience good service stay loyal to the business, more so than those who have bad experiences, thus developing the best, most well-equipped front-line workforce is critical to customer-service success.

Rwanda, for instance, is a service-based economy putting emphasis on providing high-end products and services at all levels. Consequently, Customer service remains important in all business domains, something that is most certainly going to preoccupy hotels during this month of December, a time when there will be influx of people coming to enjoy their holidays. This will not only make our esteemed guests or tourists stay longer, but also create a lasting quench to always make it to Rwanda as the best vacation destination.

In fact, it is important to point out that great Customer Care Service directly adds up to economic growth. It is a hidden complement that works wonders in hospitality and other affiliate industries.

A survey carried out in 2010 showed that Rwandans with higher education and non-Rwandans reported better customer service. In the public, Immigration and Emigration Directorate ranked top while district offices were last in performance. I bet the situation hasn’t changed much. For businesses, hotels received the highest rankings and banks the lowest.

There are murmurs of discontent among a wide section of clientele who visit banks and line up for sometimes hours without being attended to and end up leaving in frustration. It is high time our banks styled up!

The writer is a consultant and visiting lecturer at the RDF Senior Command and Staff College, Nyakinama.