Lessons in Customer Care we can learn from Hospitality IndustryRashi Bhargava
Lately I had been working round the clock firing on all cylinders. Juggling between taking Care of my Dad who came out Covid positive, training for my very first 5k, making 300 plus bookmarks to commemorate my mom’s 75th Birth anniversary in addition to my usual work as a solopreneur my plate was full and life was hurling down at high speed.
I took a weeklong break from work and checked myself into a luxury hotel to unwind and focus on my writing. My baby is turning 10 in a few months. There was so much to write about my 10-year journey raising my baby. My Brand Manager, the devil Ms. Jigyasa had given me some strict deadlines 😉 Checking into a hotel looked like a good idea to relax and focus on my marathon writing homework.
After all Self-care is a priority and no longer a luxury. Covid has highlighted how important self-care is. (In a separate blog post will share my secret of how one can enjoy free luxury holidays using credit card points wisely and scouting for deals)
While lapping and soaking all the attention showered by the staff of this luxury chain, my sense organs were sniffing/scouting for some interesting story/stuff to write and weave it with life lessons. That is what I have been doing for the last few months. And voila I could sniff it…. There is a lot to learn from the hospitality industry.
“Business, like life, is all about how you make people feel. It’s that simple, and it’s that hard.”
If there is an industry that knows how to provide truly exceptional customer service, it is the hospitality industry. We Personal finance experts could learn a lot from this industry. The customer service lessons of the hospitality industry are universal and apply in my industry too. It is easier and cheaper to retain an existing client than acquire a new client.
As advisers/distributors we are in the business of managing people’s emotions and being part of their wealth creation journey. We cannot expect someone to fork over a portion of their net worth in exchange for our services, no matter how impeccable the service is, if they simply do not like us.
The deep-rooted understanding hospitality workers employ when it comes to providing great customer service is something I take back from my stay. This is one thing every business should focus on…how to provide clients with great customer service.
So, what is the secret? Constant communication. Results are to be seen. Really. It’s that simple and it’s that difficult. Yes, difficult. For most of us, maintaining customer service can be a daunting task because it takes effort, which means moving out of our comfort zones. Also, we need to focus on sales and Business Development. Our energies are channelized towards taking daily steps to increase our bottom line. Customer Service is not given its due importance.
So, what are the lessons for us?
1.Patience- Have you ever noticed how patient the hospitality workers are. How many times have we made the waiter wait, first claiming to be ready with the order but then again pouring it into menu and deliberating what’s best to order.
Patience is at its best when a large group walks in 15 minutes before closing buffet time and makes a lot of ruckus giving all sorts of reasoning and excuses. The staff is courteous and makes an exception and keeps the restaurant open for extra time.
This was a big lesson to me as I lose my cool with my senior clients when I must wait for their answers, or they have challenges around technology. I don’t have much in the way of patience. However, like many things in the hospitality business, you either learn to be patient, or you get out. (Food for thought 😊)
2.First Impressions are always the best-The check in process in majority of the luxury chains is seamless. The staff hate customers waiting. They will go to any length to make the process smooth. They will always be first ones to offer free upgrades and freebies. Check-in process is the first opportunity, an establishment gets to impress and create a lasting great impression.
This made me do an audit check on the on boarding process for my clients and how seamless and smooth I can make it for them.
3.Each client is different and different generations communicate differently. We need to communicate with each client as they prefer. This is how you make yourself convenient and responsive to their needs.
4.Get results: It is the primary reason your clients are with you. If there are no results, there will be no clients to provide customer service to.
5.Do not use email as a primary way of providing customer service. Email is good but Face-to-face interaction, phone conversations are what help solidify, deepen and grow client relationships.
Every day during my stay the Manager on Duty and the chef would walk in towards my table to have a friendly chat and enquire about any special request I would have. This made me feel special.
The server/waiter made it a point to note my likes and dislikes. They also made it a point to take instant feedback. This helped them learn if I was happy or if there was an issue that they need to address immediately to improve my experience.
6.Be the expert: Nothing more frustrating to a client than having them feel as though they are having to tell their hired expert how to do their job. While it is a working partnership, never forget that they are looking for your advice and ideas and that, ultimately, our job to ease their pain and make their wealth creation journey as smooth as possible.
7.Empathy is a big one. You learn tons of empathy in hospitality. Working in hospitality teaches you skills you could not learn anywhere else. It teaches you about prioritization, swift problem-solving, about communication, about humility, and about how people act when they are famished—like hungry monsters—and how to keep a smile on your face despite that.
Hospitality workers interact with customers they may never have met otherwise, listening to stories they would never have heard. It is building empathy for people who seem rough on the surface.
Rather than writing off the salt and pepper me who always wants her soup piping hot or chilled white wine, it was good to see how the staff approached me and asked about my writing progress and how my day was. They may not have known that today they were the only people I spoke to. And it was a good change to finally speak to a human.
Every business needs to keep customers happy and it is so important to keep customers engaged for the business to grow and prosper. Great service makes customers feel that you care about developing a long-term relationship that means more than just making a sale.