In my book, customer service is probably the most important job anyone can have. I maintain that a restaurant with just ok food but great service is always preferable than one that has great food but mediocre service. This goes for anything. A spa, a hotel, a retail shop, you name it. Most people will remember an experience where they were treated with respect and their needs catered to even if there were other aspects of the experience that were less than perfect. My basic rules for customer service are simple.
A) Always put a smile on your face. I don’t care if you had a bad day, a fight with your spouse, bounced a check, have a stomach ache, whatever you may be feeling. A smile is worth a thousand words. And I guarantee it’ll make you feel better. If your job entails answering the phone, this is even more important. Believe it or not, that smile reads through the phone receiver.
B) The customer is always right, even if they aren’t. We all know that sometimes dealing with the public can be a challenge. We are all human and everyone has a bad day. BUT, it is easier to win them over with honey than with vinegar so stop, listen and always do anything you can to help or rectify a situation. It isn’t worth the headache or negative PR you may get just to prove that the customer was indeed wrong.
C) My automatic answer to all requests is Yes. Even if I am not sure how I can accommodate something, I will assume there is a way, say yes and then figure out how to accommodate the request later. It isn’t a customers problem if you haven’t thought of everything, because there is no way you ever can. BUT, showing them your enthusiasm for coming up with a solution will mean more to them than the end result.
D) Finally, keep in mind, a happy customer may tell 10 people about their experience. An unhappy one will tell 100. Isn’t it worth it to take care of someone the first time around and capture the 10 than to lose the 100 you never met??
Speaking of happy customers. Here are some recent guests of ours at the inn.