Everybody values good customer service. Who in their life hasn’t had an awesome experience due to good customer service or a terrible experience due to horrible customer service?
Customer service was something that I enjoyed but never realized what was “behind” all this business strategy, until I was “on the other side of the fence”.
The hospitality industry, is a very complex yet very well oiled industry, particularly here in Mexico. With 7.6 million international tourists arriving to Mexico in 2015, it becomes clear that this is one of the most important industries for the country. But what is what makes Mexico a better destination than others like the Caribbean or Asia? In my opinion, it has A LOT to do with the quality of customer service we offer. As everybody knows, Mexicans are usually happy, nice and polite people; we enjoy showing our lands and traditions to anyone that shows a bit of interest, and that is one of the main reasons our customer service is so second to none. Here are the 3 key takeaways I learned about customer service in the hospitality business.
Customer Focused Strategy
I had the great opportunity of being a part of the staff of a small exclusive yoga retreat hotel in Cabo San Lucas. Since the hotel was focused on yoga retreats, I initially assumed a very “equal service” standard (meaning all customers would be pleased with the same type of attention). The reality was that every person is so different that you have to modify your “strategy” not once or twice but several times a day; not all people like jolly service providers but for sure no one likes frown faces or bad attitudes, so it is very important to balance everything so business becomes successful and guests feel invited to come back. Tailor your service, to your customers’ needs!
One of the biggest challenges is always to please everyone. I had to face situations where people that enjoyed whale watching trips, or ATV (all terrain vehicles) tours, had issues with the other part of the group because they simply wanted to stay and lounge around the pool. Sometimes “group leaders” would also disappear leaving us with the problem to solve.
This task became quite interesting. On one hand I had to explain to everyone that their plans (whatever they had) were great, but that we needed to negotiate in order of having everyone at peace (after all, yogis want to be at peace at all times). Literally we had to “lobby” with each one of the guests, and see how much they were willing to give up. Through effective group negotiation techniques, I was able to come up with a schedule that satisfied the groups most of the time.
With this experience I found something very particular: Every time you talk one on one to someone things get easier; human beings are social individuals, and when they are within a group they will always try to be accepted by the rest of the group, but when you talk to them face to face and without people around them, they become more flexible and understanding.
This is where I discovered the importance of personal attention; people tend to feel secure and cared for when you talk to them individually, when they are sure you understand them. Once I figured that out, providing customer service became easier. Even though as a society we often look towards the same goals, individuals often still have special and unique needs.
We can learn a lot about customer service from the hospitality business. Good customer service is one of the most important values that a company or business should have. Every business has an area that deals with customer service, but not all businesses excel in it. This is what makes the difference between a regular business and an exceptional one. At the end, the hospitality business made me understand that, and if we want to become one of the best customer service providers worldwide, we need to understand that even when humans have similar goals, humans still have individual needs. When people get the best customer service, it will help the business as a whole!