A bad customer experience is hardly ever forgotten
The news of the terrible service quarantined hotel guests have experienced during their stay at renowned hotels in Brisbane and other Australian cities are no less than shocking. Having to spend two weeks in an enclosed hotel room is surely not an ideal situation to be in. Now, if we add the poor service that some hotels have provided, it is fair to label the experience as disastrous.
This opens the conversation for all hospitality and food industry professionals to reflect on our priorities. It is true that we are all going through tough times, many continue to lose their jobs and many more businesses are expected to close their doors. But despite the rough patch, this virus shouldn’t change our focus and industry values.
Let us all remember why we are in business: to make our customers happy, to delight them with amazing customer experiences and to create beautiful memories for them to keep and SHARE with their loved ones.
Deliberately delivering a service that is less than excellent (not saying “outstanding” as excellence should be the staple of Australian hospitality) is not acceptable, not even during COVID times. We have seen many businesses having to reduce their operational costs, but when it comes to guest’s experience, cutting corners is not the answer.
Even though guests or customers aren’t paying the full price for a meal, or you are not able to host as many customers at your restaurant as before, reducing the quality of your food or service in the aim to make a greater profit to recover from all those dollars lost during the lockdown, will greatly damage your business reputation.
Think long term
What could happen if you go over and beyond your customer’s expectations (even if it means sacrificing a portion of your profits)?
If you are part of the hotel quarantine program take into consideration that the two weeks guests are having to stay in lockdown at YOUR hotel are already going to be memorable, an anecdote to be shared for many years into the future. BUT, you have the power to make those two weeks, if not ideal, at least pleasant, comfortable and enjoyable.
You are presented with a great opportunity to really show why your hotel is the best and why every tourist and customer should choose your hotel to book their next holidays or event.
On the other hand, if you deliver a bad service, well… we all know what will happen. Appearing on the front page of many newspapers for making your guests angry or not following good hygiene standards, is the last thing your business needs.
Now that we are all trying to recover from the financial loses of the pandemic it is important to understand that customers, even though they can be quite understanding about space limitations, having to book in advance, menus leaning down and all the operational aspects of the business, they will be more demanding than ever when it comes to service and quality. The service you deliver will make or break your business’ reputation.
So, what can we all do better?
First of all, review your hygiene standards and strategy. If you are having problems with your hygiene stations or not being able to fully cover all aspects of the hygiene industry standards, do not leave that unattended. Make the necessary changes or upgrades to make your customers feel safe at your venue.
If your food menu has leaned down, that is ok! But focus on quality instead, you can serve the simplest meal but if it is prepared with good quality ingredients, and you are able to cover your customer’s dietary requirements, they will surely be happy! Also, you don’t want h-A-ngry customers so make sure you have enough staff to deliver the meals on time (this applies to hotels and restaurants too).
Remember that food presentation is still important. If you are opting for disposable plates, cutlery or food containers, why not using environmentally friendly and high-quality ones? People eat with their eyes and first impressions do count, show them what you are all about with great food presentation!
On the other hand, for reusable items, make sure they are made of highly hygienic and lightweight materials such as melamine, so they are easy to carry and clean.
And most important, remember that the customer is king. Deliver great service, be there for them, show care and share a big smile… we all need one these days! Attitude is everything, have the right one and your effort will pay off.