Hospitality: The Guest Pays the Bills
The landowner who offers his property for use by those who pay a fee is in the “hospitality” business. It is important that the customer receive the attention and service that will keep him or her coming back as well as telling others about the business. Customer service problems can be generally prevented or solved by attention to 4 areas: 1. 2. 3. 4. Providing a strong sense of vision and direction to guide one’s employees, Providing good leadership through example, Reducing employee turnover so as to retain experienced, quality help and Turning problems into opportunities.
The majority of services you provide in heritage/Agritourism will put you in the hospitality business. The hospitality business today suffers from a lack of “Pleasing The Customer”. There is precious little sincere attention paid to the customer and herein lies the opportunity. Good customer service is the cheapest and the most effective type of marketing you can do. People today are conditioned to expect poor service and the operator who exceeds those expectations is the one who will build his guest base. Conversely, mediocre service will cripple even the best of ideas. In this fact sheet let’s explore some of the reasons why service is so poor and offer some suggestions on how to institutionalize the philosophy of Pleasing the Customer.
The Service Problem
Visualize the last time you were at the grocery store, a restaurant, a gas station, a motel or an airline desk. Chances are that your experiences were about the same: impersonal, lacking a sense of urgency, no genuine desire to make this a pleasant experience. Did you feel special? Did you make a mental note to come back? Would you recommend this establishment to others? Worse yet, would you ‘warn’ others? Poor service is a problem that plagues the hospitality industry, and if you are considering uses for your property that require guest interaction (and practically all of them would) you should take note. All of the good ideas in the world aren’t worth a dime if they aren’t executed properly. You have to make this a priority to be a success.
Source: Hospitality - Your Keys to Success. Lanny Hass, Rob Hawk. NC Cooperative Extension.
At the risk of oversimplification, the key to success in the hospitality business is people. • • • People visit (and buy from) people they like. You personally can’t be everywhere all the time, so you have to depend on others to help. Your employees are people too, and they need to feel good to treat people well.
Take a look at this problem and see if you can quantify it. In a recent Nation’s Restaurant News Gallup Poll, consumers indicated that they would be more likely to return to a restaurant because of friendly service than for discounts, coupons, lower menu prices, quality food or fast service. When do you leave a larger than 10% tip? The rule of thumb in business is that for a good experience, a guest will tell 7 people; and for a very poor experience, they will tell 19 people. The math and the logic are very obvious. This word of mouth is the cheapest and the most powerful marketing tool that we have. When this is so painfully clear, why does this problem exist today? There are 3 independent reasons: • • • A lack of direction. There is a dearth of “leading by example”. There is a shortage of quality people.
Solving the Service Problem
Let’s explore each of these in some detail. First, let’s look at this lack of direction. No matter how much employees complain, they really crave direction and discipline. As you look at the service industry today, leaders have to communicate a philosophy of extraordinary customer service throughout the organization and reinforce the type of behavior they want. Secondly, there is a notable absence of leading by example. There are far too many service managers...