Customer service is a team effort; it is vital in an organisation that they have a level of customer service. Many leisure and recreation providers teach customer service skills to their employees.
These are the essential components of customer service:
The term customer service refers to the elements of customer interface and includes all direct and indirect contact with customer service along with products, services, systems and strategies that support the customer service process.
The key point of contact of customers to a company is through staff, this means that staff should be polite and patient towards customers; their attitude should reflect the company’s customer service standards. To achieve this staff must be able to put them selves in the customer’s position and see the customers complaint through, some examples of this are:
* How would you feel if you were standing in a queue for a long time?
* How would you feel if your place was double booked?
* How would you feel if staff was ignoring you?
Customers Service is a crucial part of businesses as without this people will not have faith in business and would be completely self-sufficient.
There are many benefits of great levels of customer service as customers like companies that have better levels of customer service.
All companies need customers; some companies are more dependent on customers than others. In the rural town I live in there only a few soul trader shops and amongst them there are all of the main superstores that people may find in cities. The level of customer service found in this town should be greater in the small shops and be normal in the large superstores. This is due to the monopoly of the market, as the superstores have already made a reputation and are not dependent on the odd customer, on the other side the soul trader is extremely dependent on the odd customer, as they need this to stay afloat.
I have chosen two organisations that are in the leisure and recreational industry, one of the organisations is part of a large chain store and the other one is a single shop.
The first organisation is AMF Bowling; this bowling centre is part of a large chain of clubs. This store is situated in Margate.
The second organisation is Bugsy’s Bowling Club, this is a single club. This club is situated in Cliftonville.
There are many benefits to customer service; here are seven key benefits that are inter-linked:
* Increased sales
Increased sales mean increased turnover and lead to better profits.
* More customers
More customers can lead to greater sales figures but also assists in the measuring of the popularity of non-profit and government organisations.
* Better reputation
Having a good reputation means that customers can easily recommend you to their friends and family. This can help in securing repeat business and gaining an edge over the competition.
* Edge over competition
Having an advantage over the competition is very good because this will definitely mean that people will have to buy from a particular company for a particular product.
* Happy and efficient workforce
Having a happy workforce will definitely mean that you a company will have good customer service, as the workforce will not be bitter about the working conditions and this will lead to efficiency. Here is a diagram to elaborate this theory:
* Good customer satisfaction
Customer satisfaction is crucial for all businesses to establish and maintain a good reputation. To satisfy customers, companies need to identify customer needs and expectations and act accordingly towards them if applicable.
* Regular customers
Regular customers, repeat customers and loyal customers are usually a result of good customer service and a health reputation.
Below I will show the benefits and drawbacks of good and bad customer service.
This happens if there are more customers
There will be more customers if the customer service is good
AMF’s public image is fairly good because it is known nationally, they can be slightly rude and ignorant.
Bugsy’s is not known widely as it is a localised club. Customer service is good but can definitely be improved.
AMF do not need to worry about competition much as they are a large organisation.
Any new Clubs that open in the locality will put a dent in the overall profits of Bugsy’s.
Bugsy’s offer snooker facilities and bring food out to us when we went.
There must be ways in which these organisations measure the levels of customer service, we were not asked any comments or given any literature when we arrived or when we were leaving
The staff could actually reply to food order requests.
The staff should also tend to customers waiting to be served rather than gossiping.
Bugsy’s could offer discounts for school children.
In the leisure and recreation industry we are at the heart of customer service delivery. The way in which we present the staff and ourselves will directly influence the customer service and the public image of your organisation.
* First Impression
The first impression is the initial point of contact to the customer; this gives them a rough outline of how your organisation will be. This will set the tone in which you and your customer will do their dealings in.
Appearance covers everything from a person’s shoe to the hair. This gives an insight into what a person’s job is, (i.e. a mechanic will be wearing an overall, hair can be long and messy, with dirty oily hands and a chef will be wearing an apron, hair in a net or hat, clean germ free hands).
* Personal Hygiene
Most people maintain a level of personal hygiene. In the leisure and recreation industry anyone dealing with customers must have excellent personal hygiene. Customers will definitely not be pleased if a waiter serves their food with dirty hands, if this were to happen the image of the company would be at steak.
The first impression you give also depends on the type of person that you are, your personality will influence the customer’s view of your organisation and a good personality means a good public image.
The attitude in which you greet your customers will be a major factor for the company’s image. If a member of staff was to be arrogant whilst talking to the customer or ignorant whilst speaking to them the customer can be offended and choose to take their custom elsewhere.
On the other hand if staff are polite and attentive this is a major plus point for the company’s overall image.
The attitude towards customers can obviously vary depending on the type of customer you are dealing with, such, as with children there is little need for the formalities of sir and madam. The acronym of ATTIUDE can be remembered if in doubt:
In this task I will be assessing the general atmosphere in shops that I visited.
I will be commenting on the first impression that I felt when I walked in the shop, the appearance of the staff, the hygiene and the attitude we were addressed with.
The place was very neat, the building was Air-conditioned.
The staff was busy amongst themselves and weren’t fussed on the customers.
The place was neat; the ventilation was not as good as it could have been. The staff members were attentive, but could be
The staff appearance was good they were all in uniform; this consists of black shoes, Ironed Trousers, Ironed Shirt, and Tie.
We did not notice any of the staff in an un-hygienic manner
The staff at the main counter was nice and had a good and efficient personality, the other people we met were all interested in getting the work done, without politeness.
The staff at the main counter was nice and had a good and efficient personality, the language they used could be considered offensive at times.
The general attitude was careless
Take away – Phone Conversation
Customer – Gurprit Shop – Faraz
S Good evening Ali Raj restaurant how may I help you
C I would like to place an order please
S Would you like an order for collection or delivery?
C Do you charge for deliveries
S No sir, you actually get a 10% discount for collection
C Ok can I have a delivery please?
S Where would you like it delivered sir
C Can it be delivered?
S What would you like please
C Can I have 3 Naan
2 Prawn Korai
1 Ch Madras
2 Chicken Birianis
S Is that all sir, would you like anything else
C No, can you let me know how much the bill is
S Ok will be ï¿½ . Sir
C Do you accept cheques?
S We only accept cash sir
S Thank you
The whole conversation took around 7 minutes. While I was doing this role play, I realised that I missed out many factors that if I added would make this role play better, I missed the chance for suggestive selling and repeating the order, this could have given the customer ideas on what they have to buy or anything they have missed. I also forgot to take the address till the end of the conversation, this is usually taken at the beginning of the conversation.
Personally when we were performing this exercise, we were both a little hesitant, at one point I was slow at telling Gurprit the price and I did not ask her address till the end of the conversation. She was very slow in giving me her address, and she was hesitant in giving the order. This exercise was repeated twice.
Role Play 2
Hotel Lobby – Face to Face
Receptionist – Faraz Mrs G – Rosie
R This is a Fire Alarm we must evacuate the building now!!!
G I’m not going out in this weather
R I understand its cold outside Mrs G but we must leave now
G Are you blind! Can’t you see what I’m wearing?
R Here you go Mrs G here is a coat for you to wear I can provide a car for you to sit in outside but we must leave now!!!
She leaves and is not happy
This incident is an emergency situation. Whilst the conversation was going on the receptionist did not have the authoritative edge he should have had. The receptionist should know that the lady being stubborn would have to leave whether she wanted too or not. Either she could leave easily with the receptionist or be forced out by the fire crew.
Personally I was not able to give the orders in a stern manner, I was not assertive enough. I was extremely nervous, my body language also show signs of nervousness, my tone of voice was faint and high pitched. Rosie was not talking much she would either say she wasn’t going or she suddenly said she would go. This exercise was repeated three times.
As I have said I was not stern enough I should have known in my mind that Rosie would have had to leave, either by me saying so or the fire crew. If I had thought this through I would have been much more authoritative. The reason for my nervousness’ was purely due to the fact I do not like being confronted, but in this case the confrontation would have been disregarded, as the customer cannot refuse, this would have sorted out my high pitched and faint voice. Next time this happens I will be ready and not be so hesitant in being demanding.
Role Play 3
At a Bar – Face to Face
Bar Man – Faraz Customer = 1 – Gurprit 2 – Rosie
B How can I help you ladies?
C1 Can we get a couple of drinks please?
B What would you like madam
C1 Can I have a coke please?
B Would you like a diet of regular coke?
C1 Can I have a diet coke please
B Would you like ice in that
C1 Yes please
B And what would you like madam
C2 Can I have the same please?
B Ok that will be 2 diet cokes with ice yeah
C1+2 Yes please
B That will be ï¿½4
B (gives drinks) thank you
The customer asked me for a coke, I than had to ask her what kind of coke and whether they wanted ice, if the customer would have asked me for a diet coke or regular coke I would have asked only if they wanted ice or not.
In this exercise I felt there was un-ease, as we did not set the tables out in the manner of a bar. If we had done this we would have been able to run smoothly.
These exercises went very well as the customer and bar man were able to communicate well with each other and the order was taken with minimal hassle. This exercise was repeated twice.
If I were to improve this scenario, I should have shown more enthusiasm towards the scene, this would have definitely made thing better for the customers to talk to me as a real bar man.
In customer service we will find different types of customers to deal with, occasionally we will have to deal with complaints. There are four types of complainants:
* Passive complainer
* Aggressive complainer
* Constructive complainer
* Professional Complainer
The passive complainer is the most common type of complainer; they will usually not lodge the complaint by fear of causing a nuisance or embarrassment. They will simply leave dissatisfied.
So for example:
‘Have you eaten all that already?’
‘No they gave it to me like that’
‘Go and ask them to fill it up, I’m sure they will’
‘No leave it, look they look as if they are really busy’
The aggressive complainers as stated aggressive, usually angry and may have a raised voice or shouting. There can be reasons for this anger or situations that could have lead to this.
The simplest and best way to deal with this type of customer is to allow them to let off some steam and they should settle down. Also, if you suggest discussing their matter away from the other customers this can also bring matters into control, due to their not being an audience.
In cases where a customer becomes physically aggressive it is not wise to deal with it independently it is best to call for some back up from the management.
The constructive complainer is the complainant who wants action to be taken for the future rather than immediately for themselves, they will offer advice and generally be constructive.
These types of customers are highly appreciated and occasionally rewarded with free items or discounts. This is because they neither cause a scene nor confront the staff in any way they make a passing suggestion.
The professional complainer is the type of customer who looks for faults rather than finding them. Unfortunately not all complaints are genuine and a small number of customers will make it their profession to find faults in other people’s products.
However, jumping to a conclusion is also wrong, as the complaint could be genuine. But if it were found to be false it would be better to discuss it in a separate room away from the other customers.
Mr Jay Kinds
9 Mill mead Rd
5th June 2003
Dear Mr Jay Kinds
Thank you for the letter you have sent me, I would like to use this opportunity to inform you that your complaint is being dealt with and is extremely important to us. You informed us that the public toilets that we have provided were filthy and below hygienic expectations.
I have been investigating this matter in depth, and we have been monitoring this situation since your letter. The staff are now being asked to check the toilet facilities even more frequently and to clean them regardless every 2 hours.
Enclosed you will find ï¿½20.00 worth of vouchers, these can be utilised in the store for all products except alcohol and tobacco. I hope you will enjoy your custom from now on.
Description of Problem
Customer’s needs / expectations
How Problems could be handled effectively
A customer with a hearing difficulty wants information on activities that will be suitable for them and where they can mingle with other people as well.
The class to be suitable for someone with hearing difficulties.
There should be enough people there to mingle with.
The customer is feeling ill, they require some medication. The customer is claiming the food at the hotel has made them ill.
The customer wants medicine. They would like some medical assistance.
The customer can be told that the hotel cannot give any type of medication. They customer should go to a doctor, the night porter should arrange for a doctor to be called.
A customer with little command of the English language requires a seat at a concert that is fully booked.
They expect to pay a fee.
The customer expects a ticket
The customer can be explained patiently that the concert is sold out.
A customer has had to cancel due to a medical emergency.
The customer expects a refund.
The customer can be given a refund as this is a medical emergency or the booking can be made for a later date. As this is an emergency this falls out of a ‘cancellation’ category.
To the pool attendant
I visited your swimming pool on the 13th of June 2003 and I felt that there are several areas where attention is required before problem result in injuries.
When I arrived at the swimming pool I was aloud into the changing rooms, the changing rooms were filthy and the drains were overflowing and making the floor slippery. After getting changed I went into the swimming pool and found that the “No Running” signs that were up around the pool were broken and un-noticeable due to dirt on the signs. The pool had far too many people in it than it should have had.
I believe that all of these problems can easily resolved if a little time was spared in checking the facilities provided on a regular basis and that there should be a limit to the admittance of customers to the swimming pool area so that overcrowding can be avoided.
I hope that the areas I have highlighted in this letter can be dealt with as soon as possible.
Assessment sheet to Asses the competence of customer service, 0 is very poor and 6 is excellent. 3 is acceptable.