Retaining customers – and gaining new ones

Ask a number of people what is meant by Customer Service and you will get the same number of different answers!

When you first started the business (or started to work in the business) you had in mind that the venue would attract a certain type of customer – the target market.  Over the years that market may have changed, but even so you can still pretty much define YOUR AVERAGE CUSTOMER.  This is the first step to fantastic customer service – defining your customer.

The second step is to ask yourself “What does this person NEED and WANT when they come into the venue”?  You will probably know such things as food preferences, whether they are part of a high risk group as regards food safety, and any special comfort requirements they may have (air con, music, lighting, noise level).

So how do you RETAIN these customers?  What stops them from going somewhere else next time?  How do you attract more of the same type of customers?

The answer is exceptional customer service.  You have to SHOW them that you care.  HOW?

  • GREET customers you recognise when they walk in – even if you only have time for a wave or a nod
  • SMILE – always and forever
  • LISTEN to any problem they may have, and move heaven & earth to solve it
  • SAY YES FIRST – and work out how to do what they need afterwards
  • BE FRIENDLY – but do not comment on any conversation you may overhear (to them, or to anyone else)
  • HAVE A QUICK CHAT with customers when you see those you know – but NEVER talk about your personal life and/or any problems you may be experiencing at home or at work
  • RESPECT AND HELP all other staff in the venue. You are all on the same team, and you are all working towards a common goal, which is to promote and enhance customer service.
  • SAY GOODBYE – THANKS FOR COMING when they are leaving. Again, a wave or a nod if you are busy will suffice

If you or you staff struggle with retaining and gaining customers, the AIBI ‘FANTASTIC CUSTOMER SERVICE’ Course may be of interest to you.  Contact Anne to see how to arrange an in-venue refresher for your floor staff or management team.