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Learners Guide

Enhance customer service


experience
SITXCCS401

2014 Edition didasko.com


Disclaimer
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Version number 1.0

Copyright 2014
This product and the concepts, information and material contained in it are the copyright of
Didasko International ACN 146 241 223 (Didasko Learning Resources) and may not be used or
reproduced in whole or in part without the prior written consent of Didasko. All rights reserved.
Contents

TEXT

Overview ........................................................................................................ 3

Provide a quality service experience to customers ........................................ 3

Proactively respond to difficult service situations ......................................... 29

Resolve customer complaints ...................................................................... 39

Develop a customer relationship .................................................................. 55

Glossary .............................................................................................................. 63

Please note the following condition:


The Didasko learning resource provided here should be used as a training tool for students
and trainers. While the information contained within addresses the elements, performance
criteria, required skills and knowledge of individual competencies it remains the responsibility
of the training organisation to ensure it meets training framework requirements and to
provide additional documentation where necessary.

2014 Didasko International (Didasko Learning Resources). All Rights Reserved.


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SITXCCS401 Enhance customer service experience

Overview
What does it mean to enhance customer service?

When we enhance something, we intensify it further, improve its quality, and add value
to it.

When we enhance customer service, we turn an ordinary purchase experience into


something extraordinary. We magnify or amplify the customer experience in a way that
elevates it or lets it take flight. It becomes more memorable and even more valuable in the
customers eyes.

So how can you enhance the customer service experience?

Lets look at what you will learn on completion of this unit.

Section 1: Provide a quality service experience to customers

Section 2: Proactively respond to difficult service situations

Section 3: Resolve customer complaints

Section 4: Develop a customer relationship

1.0 Provide a quality service


experience to customers
Lets look at what you will learn on completion of this section.

Anticipate customer preferences, needs and expectations throughout the service


experience.
Determine and clarify customer preferences, needs and expectations.
Advise customers about appropriate products and services to meet their needs.
Offer extras and add-ons and provide tailored and additional services and products.
Promptly provide products and services which meet individual preferences.
Provide professional and personalised service to provide a quality service experience.
Check the actioning of special requests before customer delivery.
Share customer information with team members to ensure quality service.
Liaise with team members and suppliers to ensure efficient service delivery.

Why enhance customer service?


Its important to deliver additional levels of service above and beyond customers
immediate requests. Why? Keeping existing customers is more cost effective than
constantly finding new customers. Loyal customers are good for business!

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Click on the icon to learn how valuable a loyal customer can be.

Satisfied customers have a positive influence on your organisation and bring significant
benefits to your business.

Lets say the typical family spends $5,000 for a holiday package. Multiply that by 20 years
and their business is worth $100, 000.

But thats not all! What about the referrals? Say that the original family refers 20 other
families. If we retain each of the 20 families for 20 years, the total amount of their
business is worth $2,000,000!

And thats just one single happy family on one single holiday!

How can you meet and exceed customers needs well enough to be this successful?

Its simple.

Find out who your customers are.


Anticipate their needs.
Determine what they want.
Then, give them more than they expect!

Click to the next screen to get started.

Who are your customers?


You have 30 seconds to list them.

Click start to begin.

Who are your customers? List them.

How did you go?

When you think of customers, who do you think of first? Usually someone who purchases
your products or uses your services.

But did you know that others outside your business, including those who help you provide
products and services, are also your customers?

Click to the next screen to find out more.

Who are your external customers?


Every organisation has different types of external customers. These include existing
regular customers as well as completely new customers. Know who they are and look
after them so you retain their loyalty!

Click on the people to learn about different types of external customers.

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Individuals
Remember that individual customers both in person and online have certain requirements
based on their age, gender, culture, or special needs.

Groups
Your customers may actually be a group of people: a tour group, a family, a group of
friends, a team, a committee, workmates, etc. Remember to accommodate their group
needs while at the same time catering for them as individuals.

Suppliers and retailers


These are the companies that provide products or services to your organisation, business
to business, usually over a long period of time. These external customers might include
cleaners, produce suppliers, grounds keepers, linen suppliers, e-businesses, etc.

Agents
An agent is a person or company that has permission to act for another. In the hospitality,
tourism and events industry, this includes travel agents, real estate agents, talent agents,
etc.

Business people
A wide variety of corporate customers who work in business or commerce at an executive
level: CEOs, managers, senior sales representatives, etc.

Government agencies
Especially if you are holding an event, you may need to consult with government agencies
such as these.

Broadband, Communication and the Digital Economy Agencies


Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Agencies
Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Agencies
Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs Agencies
Foreign Affairs and Trade
Infrastructure and Transport Agencies
Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport Agencies
Resources, Energy and Tourism Agencies
Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities Agencies

New or regular visitors


These could include volunteers, contractors, sales reps, etc.

Media representatives
These include people representing radio, TV, newspapers, magazines, or any other
medium that reaches large numbers of people.

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Who are your internal customers?


Many people think that external customers are the only people they need to serve. But
they couldnt be more wrong!

You need to serve internal customers too. This includes any person inside your
establishment who benefits from your efforts. These people vary depending on your
particular organisational structure.

Click on the people to learn more about internal customers.

Colleagues
Were in the same profession, business or organisation as you. We can also be fellow
employees or co-workers who work alongside you in your organisation.

Supervisors/managers
We monitor your performance of assigned tasks. We can usually hire, promote, discipline,
reward and provide training for employees in their departments.

Team members
Were the other people on your team. We work as a group towards a common goal. You
might participate on a team or be in charge of one!

Staff from other departments


Were internal customers that dont work on your particular team. We work in another
section of the organisation. You many need to be of help to us.

Staff from other branches or locations


If you work for a large organisation with many branches, some of your internal customers
may not even work on site with you. However, you must still consider serving and
interacting with them as a priority.

Hot tip
Internal customers are just as important as external customers. Why?
They all work together to satisfy external customers needs.
Without them, an organisation couldnt possibly be successful.

What enhances the customer service experience?


Quality service is whatever the customer says it is! This often involves certain principles
and characteristics.

Click on the customers to learn what they think.

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Identify my needs and take action


I feel valued and important when staff identify and act on my needs, without me having to
ask. This sort of personalised treatment demonstrates excellent customer service!

Give me information and advice


I hate it when people show me every product and service available. What a waste of time!
Its better when staff are attentive to my personal circumstances and provide relevant,
accurate information and advice.

Surprise me!
When staff know youre celebrating a special occasion like a birthday, anniversary or
wedding, I love it when they surprise you with cards, complimentary drinks, meal
discounts, etc. Even better is when word spreads to other staff, so they can express their
well wishes.

Meet my special requests


When Im running a conference, team building exercise, meeting, or other event, I need
quick responses to my special requests. This type of specific attention makes a huge
positive impression on me and guarantees my repeat business.

Give me help when I need it


It might seem obvious to open a door, carry a bag or get a product down for a struggling
elderly person or someone in a wheel chair, but its astounding how many people dont! I
like it when staff anticipate my needs and I dont have to go searching around asking for
help.

Exceed my expectations
I have certain expectations about the quality of products and services: professionalism,
cleanliness, timeliness. Problems occur when staff dont meet these expectations: the
meal could be cold, staff are rude, hotel is dirty, etc., etc.

Deal with my problems


The establishments I return to are the ones that recognise problems and deal with them
promptly. I can easily overlook a cold meal or delay if staff see Im not happy, apologise
and provide a solution.

Hot tip
Dont make promises you cant keep! Never overestimate your ability to meet customers
needs.
To tell the customers that you cant meet their request will see them temporarily unhappy.
But how do you think theyll feel when you promise something and dont deliver?

There are certain preferences, needs and expectations that you can assume. Show your
initiative and dont wait to be asked to help customers. Anticipate what they want before,
during and after service delivery.

What does it mean to anticipate customers needs? Click to the next screen to find out.

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What do customers want?


How do you give your customers a quality service experience? Determine and anticipate
their preferences, needs and expectations throughout service delivery. Remember,
requirements vary from customer to customer and depend on the product or service you
provide.

Click on the smiley faces to learn some different customer service needs and
expectations.

Assistance
Courtesy
Comfort
Empathy and support
Emergency support
Friendliness
New experiences
Prompt service
Special requests
Value for money

Customers needs and expectations are unique and often relate to their specific
circumstances.

Special needs
Language needs
Dietary needs

If you keep these in mind, its easier to determine and anticipate what customers want.
Then, you can provide the most professional and personalised service possible.

Lets learn more about each of these needs over the next couple of screens.

Special needs
Create a quality service experience for customers by anticipating what they need. Give
them professional, personalised attention.

Click on the tabs to learn how to provide professional, personalised service.

Sight impaired

Always ask how you can best be of assistance.

In general, you can help by giving accurate verbal descriptions of things which are usually
written. Watch for body language which indicates that theyre ready to order, want to pay
their account, or need any other assistance.

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When guiding a sight impaired person, allow them to hold your arm and take them where
they want to go without pulling them along. Let them know when theres an obstacle or
steps to navigate.

Inform sight impaired customers when you do something. Likewise, let them know when
youre leaving them and when youve reappeared. If theres been a lapse in time, always
reintroduce yourself and your role.

Hearing impaired
There are varying degrees of hearing impairment, from partial to full loss of hearing. When
communicating with hearing impaired customers, speak clearly and slowly. Look directly
at them to help them lip-read. Use visual aids if necessary. Write down information and
point to menu items, brochures, maps, timetables, price lists, etc.

Hearing impaired people often speak in sign language through a translator. Always direct
your questions and responses to your customer rather than to their translator.

Mobility impaired
Again, there are varying degrees of mobility impairment from partial to full loss of mobility.
Offer assistance where necessary to help customers get themselves and their
possessions around safely and comfortably.

When responsible for a customer in a wheelchair, ensure that the brakes are on when
stopped and that your customer is positioned comfortably at all times.

Customers in wheelchairs require ramp access as well as wheelchair-compatible tables


and toilet facilities. Public transport providers, such as planes, cruise ships and coaches
and most accommodation venues, make special provision for people in wheelchairs.

Aged people
Some elderly customers may have a sight, hearing or mobility impairment. Make sure to
provide easy access, good lighting and extra assistance where appropriate.

Parents with young children


You can add value in virtually any aspect of tourism, hospitality and events by supporting
families.

Designate parking spaces for families with prams.


Ensure pram access and/or places to park prams.
Provide high chairs and booster seats.
Offer childrens menus.
Be quick to serve children their food.
Give amusement activities.
Encourage staff to interact with children.
Seat families where theyll be least disruptive to others, but still part of the environment.
Establish a family friendly room where parents can still see and hear an event without
their children disrupting it.
Offer cots or bassinettes for babies.
Provide access to child care, babysitting, kids clubs.
Give a cuddly toy upon arrival.

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Unaccompanied children
An unaccompanied child is one travelling without (or in a different class, cabin or
compartment to) their parents, guardians, or siblings (over 15 years of age). They may
miss caregivers, be afraid to ask for help, or become confused in unfamiliar environments.

Strictly follow your organisations policies and procedures regarding the care of
unaccompanied children. Their safety and lives are in your hands!
Do your best to ensure theyre entertained during travel.
Check on them regularly to ask if theyre warm enough, comfortable, hungry, thirsty,
need to go to the toilet, etc.
Accompany them to toilet facilities and ensure they attend to their hygiene.
Ensure you know when and how to safely administer any required medication.

People with special requests


Individual requests can include a birthday cake, a table near a window, a non-dairy meal,
or room service for a special occasion.

Business requests may include equipment such as projectors, Internet access,


audio/visual equipment, catering, conference facilities, etc.

Ensure that both are well catered for.

Gender-specific needs
Be aware that men and women require separate changing rooms, toilet facilities, etc. and
may have different interests and requirements when it comes to entertainment, food,
transport. Be sure to provide a balance of products and services for males and females.

Always be considerate of pregnant women.

Be respectful of their body space. (Do not touch their belly!)


Ensure frequent access to toilet facilities, food and water.
Provide immediate access to medical care if necessary.
Give pillows to help make them more comfortable.
Offer to help them carry heavy items.
Have places for them to sit or lie down and rest.
Offer aisle or roomy seating.
Remember that pregnant women are entitled by law to their choices regarding food,
alcohol and caffeine. Provide required service with no judgement.

Cultural needs
Be respectful of your customers culture, social customs and dress. People from other
cultures may have gestures, greetings or habits which are different to yours.

They may also wear special face, head and foot coverings or clothing suited to their
region, climate, socioeconomic status, religion, etc. Accommodate these and treat each
customer with the kindness they deserve.

Be aware that people from other cultures may also have specific language requirements.
Click to the next screen to learn more about how to help them.

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Language needs
English isnt everyones language of choice! Anticipate customers language needs. Think
carefully about your response: what you say and how you say it. Speaking loudly isnt
helpful and may embarrass customers. Get a translator where possible and if required.

Click on the light bulbs to shed some light on providing professional and
personalised service.

Speak slowly.
Speak clearly. Dont raise your voice or speak too fast.
Use simple words in the other persons language if you know it, including any
Australian Indigenous languages common to your region.
Give simple directions and instructions using simple words and short sentences.
Use body language, non-verbal actions and gestures. (Be careful with these so you
arent misunderstood!)
Use pictures and signs.
Check that you are understood by looking for non-verbal indicators (a nod or smile)
and clarify meanings if necessary.
Dont use slang.
Avoid sarcasm.
Dont use technical jargon.
Avoid humour. What you think is funny may not be funny to others.

Hot tip
Remember that hearing impaired customers also speak a different language! Learn sign
language to enhance communication with them.
Thank you for shedding some light on my service. You deserve a drink]

Dietary needs
Some customers are allergic or intolerant to certain foods. Others are vegetarian, vegan,
diabetic or just fussy eaters. Still others follow cultural or religious protocols. People with
special dietary needs will usually let you know. However, it never hurts to ask or research
the customs of any international tour groups so you can respond appropriately.

Click on the pictures to learn how to provide professional, personalised service for
those with special dietary needs.

Eggs, nuts, nut oils, seafood, soybeans, sesame seeds, fruit acids, lactose, gluten,
chemical preservatives, artificial food colourings, and flavour enhancers cause
allergic reactions in some people.

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Know which meals on your menu contain them and be ready to offer alternatives or
ingredient replacements.
Provide some food on the menu which is in its natural state, such as green salads
or fruit salads.
Label food on menus or in buffets to indicate if its halal, kosher, vegetarian or
vegan (glossary). Ensure that staff are aware of the ingredients in the food.
Place pork-based products on plates separately to non-pork-based products. Keep
this in mind when preparing platters of sandwiches and cold starters in particular.
Cook and place meat-based products separately to non-meat products.
Serve cheeses which are free of rennet or gelatine. Indicate if the cheese contains
these products.
Ensure that theres a wide selection of beverages so that customers have
alternatives to tea, coffee and alcohol.
Keep in mind that some religions and cultures have strict times when theyre
allowed to eat. Where possible, ensure that food is available throughout the day.
When catering for tour groups with special diets, check their requirements in
advance to provide adequate food for large numbers of people.

Hot tip
Treating visitors with respect, showing sensitivity to their needs and being eager to make
them feel welcome may encourage them, their friends and family to return.

How do you clarify customers needs?


As youve learned, there are certain preferences, needs and expectations that you can
assume. However, assumptions can be dangerous!

Its crucial to know if your customer is happy, how they want their steak cooked, what time
they need to arrive at their destination, or whether they prefer a relaxing or an active
holiday.

To provide high quality customer service and facilitate effective two-way communication,
you can use three different techniques.

Click on the pictures to learn what these are.

Observe customers
Ask the right questions
Listen actively.

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Note
These techniques show the customer you care about what they want and what they have
to say. It also helps you gather useful information to determine their needs, meet their
requirements and enhance their experience.
This may sound obvious, but its surprising how often staff disappoint customers by not
paying attention to them, asking for basic information or listening to basic requests.

Click to the next screen to get started.

Observe customers
Pay attention to your customers non-verbal signs, and respond appropriately to them.

Click on the pictures for some useful tips.

Eye contact
Actively scan the room when youre in a service position to see if there is anyone trying to
catch your eye to get your attention. Theyll be very grateful you noticed them and were
there to lend a hand.

Posture
If you see customers slouching, it could mean theyre feeling uncomfortable or less than
happy. Approach them in a friendly manner to check that theyre OK.

Facial expressions
If your customers facial expressions show theyre upset, but theyre not saying anything,
take the initiative to improve the situation.

Gestures
People whose first language isnt English may use gestures and body language to get
their message across: nodding, shaking their head, pointing to what they want, etc. Pay
attention.

Dissatisfaction
When theyre upset about something, internal and external customers change their normal
way of behaving. When this happens, take swift action to resolve or refer the issue, before
it escalates. Here are some obvious and subtle signs to look for.

Agitation or irritation in their facial expression: a long stare, angry look


Angry, aggressive, closed body language and gestures
Hostility, anger or resentment in their tone of voice
Raised voice
Choice of words
Avoiding interaction with others
Lack of cooperation or participation

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Working below capacity


Inability to speak calmly
Being unusually quiet, cool or calm

Ask the right questions


There are three types of questions you can use to gather information about your
customers needs. Each type has its advantages when used in the right way and at the
right time.

Click on the pictures to find out what theyre called.

Open questions
Closed questions
Reflective questions

Open questions
Open questions ask the customer to provide you with information. Use them in the early
stages of your conversation. They encourage the customer to be open with you about
their needs, thoughts and feelings.

Click on the question marks to see some examples of open questions.

? What type of holiday are you looking for?


? When would you prefer to travel?
? Why is a winter holiday important to you?

? Where would you like to base yourself?


? Which room do you prefer: standard, deluxe or an executive suite?

? Who will you be travelling with?


? How often do you intend to use the child care facilities?

In a nutshell
Open questions are often called Wh questions because those are the letters the
questions begin with. There are six of them: what, when, why, where, which and who. The
only exception is the seventh question which begins with How.

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Closed questions
Closed questions ask the customer to provide you with a yes or no answer or very
specific details. They arent helpful in promoting conversation and can make the customer
feel as if theyre being interrogated. Use them sparingly.

Click on the icon to see some examples of closed questions.

Have you stayed with us before?


Do you have a loyalty card?
Are you in a hurry?
Is the lake view important to you?
Will you be staying another night?
Whats your address please?

Reflective questions
Reflective questions usually follow open questions and show the customer that youve
been listening carefully. They usually involve two steps: paraphrasing what the customer
said and asking another question to clarify something.

Click on the icon for some examples of paraphrasing and clarifying.

Paraphrase what the customer said Ask another question


You said your children are coming with you. What are their ages? How can we help you
best provide for them?
I heard you say that you want to be sure our What aspects of safety are you concerned
venue is safe. about?
You mentioned youre concerned about Do you have any specific requirements
how you would get around the resort. regarding transport that would help make
your stay more pleasurable?

Hot tip
Paraphrasing what customers say is a great way to build rapport. Remember this for your
review in Section 4.

Listen actively
Now that you know how to ask questions, the next steps are to actively listen to the
answers, develop rapport, facilitate effective two-way communication, and demonstrate
the caring attitude your organisation expects of you.

Click on the tabs to learn how to listen actively and establish rapport.

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Be attentive
Give customers your full attention.
Show sincere interest in what they have to say.
Listen to their tone of voice. This gives you clues about their priorities and
uncertainties.
Look at their body language to understand what theyre thinking and feeling.
Remember to maintain eye contact and connection with them as they speak, and focus
on their main points.

Be a mirror
Create rapport by repeating or mirroring back the customers needs, main points,
priorities, thoughts, feelings, problems or questions. If you paraphrase skilfully, your
customer wont even notice youre doing it.

There are many ways to do this. Here are a couple of examples.

So if I understand you right, youd like me to


Is that right?

From what youre saying, I could help you by ...


Shall I go ahead?

This shows youve been paying attention and have understood. It also provides an
opportunity for the customer to clarify anything youve misunderstood.

Be respectful
Customers may have unusual requests or ask questions that have seemingly obvious
answers. Always treat every customer with respect. If you make them feel foolish, its
doubtful youll get their business in future.

If a customer asks you for assistance, respond so they know youre happy to help them
with even the smallest concern.

Be proactive
Actions speak louder than words. Once youve heard your customer out, take immediate
action to assist them, and get feedback on how they feel about the results.

Hot tip
These techniques are a great way to develop rapport. Remember them for your review in
Section 4.

What are your products and services?


Sometimes customers know exactly what they want and ask for it. But what if they arent
sure? You need to be able to advise them. Your organisations products and services can
both equally contribute to its appeal and profitability.

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Click on the tabs to learn more about products and services.

Service
Service is assistance you offer customers. You can offer service verbally, through body
language, or together with a product (such as delivering meals to a table). The standard of
service your establishment offers can put you one step ahead of your competition and
make the difference between success and failure.

Consider two restaurants that have exactly the same menu. Both use good quality
ingredients and have similar pricing structures. However, one has the edge over the other
because it offers room service, takes telephone bookings, and is open 24 hours a day.

Product
Product is a tangible item. It can be a consumable such as food or drink, or a non-
consumable like a room or entertainment. When customers make judgements about
products, they consider two factors: range and quality.

Having a wide range of products attracts customers. Why? Because it gives them more
opportunity to find a product that suits them personally. Quality, on the other hand, speaks
for itself. High quality products like well-chilled beer and fresh fish are good for repeat
business.

Why is product and service knowledge so important?


You cant advise customers without it!

You can best represent your establishment and satisfy your customers by having an
updated knowledge of your products, services, current promotions, etc.

Click on the tabs to learn other reasons.

Give information and advice


When you know your products and services, you can provide your customers with reliable
information. When customers follow your advice and have a positive experience, they
have even more confidence in you and the organisation as a whole. Theyre more likely to
return in the future and tell others about the benefits they received.

Deal with questions and complaints


Knowing your range of products and services helps you answer customers questions
quickly and accurately. Not only that, youre better equipped to deal with complaints. You
know the expected standard of service, can identify when it is slipping, and provide
solutions or compensation if things go wrong.

Suggest products and services


Up-to-date product and service knowledge enables you to promote specials or discounts.
Not only that, this kind of training can help you to be better prepared to suggest products
and services to customers.

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Increase sales
Knowing your establishments products and services can help you in subtle ways. For
example, you can encourage customers to spend their money by upgrading a standard
room to an executive suite or buying a bottle of wine instead of a glass. You can only
apply sales techniques like these if you have strong product and service knowledge. Youll
learn more about this soon.

Note
Everything mentioned here results in increased profits. When you give reliable information
and advice, answer questions and suggest products, your organisation's reputation is
enhanced and that means more repeat business.
But how can you develop product and service knowledge?

Click to the next screen to find out.

How do you develop product and service knowledge?


Research! It provides valuable information you can draw on when advising your
customers about appropriate products and services to meet their needs. It can be as
simple as reading industry-related books, magazines, newspapers and brochures, but if
you want to take your research further, there are plenty of options.

Click on the employees to see the different research examples.

Informal research
Observations: viewing and experiencing different restaurants, bars, hotels, events,
travel agencies or other customer service environments.
Discussions with colleagues.
Interviews: verbal questions to develop an understanding of what customers want or
need.
Trade shows and promotional events: places that show latest release products,
processes and equipment.
General media: newspapers, television, radio and film.
Reading organisation information.

Formal research
Library catalogues: databases help you find information on specific topics.
World Wide Web.
Periodicals, journals and magazines written for a specific market.
Audio-visual: films or DVDs relevant to your sector.
Questionnaires and surveys.
Professional associations: organisations that provide information on industry networks,
conferences, hospitality industry initiatives and changes to the law.

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Hot tip
How do you get customer satisfaction, sales and profits to skyrocket?
Know your products and services well.
Use selling techniques to promote them.

How can you provide tailored and additional services and


products?
Use your initiative! Delivering additional services is good for your customers and your
business. Suggestive selling is a sales technique used widely in the hospitality industry. It
involves offering customers options that suit their needs, resulting in increased revenue,
happier customers (and, sometimes, bonuses for you!).

Click on the pictures to see techniques in offering the best service or product for
your customer.

Down-selling
Start at the highest priced item and work down to the lower priced items until you find a
price range that the customer is happy with.

Up-selling
Up-selling encourages the customer to upgrade an original choice.

Offer them alternatives to increase spending.

Start at the lowest price and work up to the most expensive.

Extras and add-ons


Would you like fries with that?

Staff at McDonalds use this selling technique regardless of what customers order to
suggest options the customer hasnt considered.

Add-ons are extras you can sell to complement the main product the customer has
selected (side salads, fries, garlic bread, etc.).

How can you offer more?


No matter what tourism, travel hospitality or event business youre in, you can always offer
customers products and services that might suit them (even if they havent asked for them
directly).

Click on the piggy banks to find out what your options are.

Additional destinations
Additional tours or cruises

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Cocktails and liqueurs to enhance the dining experience


Coordination services at events and conferences
Entrance to events, festivals and entertainment scheduled during customer stay at
destination
Entrance to major attractions at the destination
Extra food items such as entrees, desserts and cheese plates
Flight fuel emissions offset fee (flying carbon neutral)
Local guiding services
Optional meals and dining experiences
Optional tours
Prepayment of baggage charges
Prepayment of in-flight meals
Pre-travel seat selection
Private car transfers in lieu of regular transportation options
Special offers or packages
Specialised styling for events
Storage for luggage after check-out
Travel insurance
Upgraded accommodation and flights
Wine or boutique beers to match meals ordered

Hot tip
Get to know your organisations products and services. Make sure you can answer these
questions.
What are the general features of products and services?
Are there any special features?
What are the benefits?
Are there any disadvantages to be aware of?
How much does each product or service cost?
How are bookings made and how do you check availability?
How are orders processed?
Does your establishment offer special packages or discounts?
Are there any special offers available?

The three Ps
Now that you know what your customers want and youve offered them what you can, its
time to provide!

Use the three Ps to help you provide a quality service experience to customers.

Click on the characters to see what the three Ps are.

Prompt service
Personalised service
Professional service

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Prompt service
Meet all reasonable customer preferences, needs and requests as promptly as possible
and within designated response times. If you have a lot of customer demands at once,
prioritise! Always follow a logical sequence. But how can you decide which people to deal
with first? Use the two types of service to help you.

Click on the customers to learn more about the two types of service.

Urgent
Urgent service is required immediately (or disastrous consequences will follow!). You
should give priority to people requiring urgent service, such as a customer who requires
medical attention or is in danger.

Here are some more examples of people who may need urgent care.

People who are late or on a strict time schedule


Someone who is in obvious emotional distress
Business people running conferences
People who are in immediate danger from an emergency

Non-urgent
If your customers are healthy, not under time pressure, calm and not in danger, then
handle more pressing concerns first.

Be sure to call for assistance from other staff if you are overwhelmed. You dont want to
keep customers with non-urgent concerns waiting for too long. After all, their needs are
urgent to them (and even the most tolerant persons patience will run out eventually!).

Personalised service
We all feel special when someone remembers us. Know your regular customers
preferences and accommodate them without having to be reminded. Always check the
actioning of regular customer requests before product or service delivery.

Click on the pictures to see examples of requests to action.

Preferred seat
Do they prefer aisle or window?

Do they have a preferred seat for regular events they attend at your venue?

Remember what it is and offer it.

Preferred table
Offer them their preferred table when they enter your restaurant.

Preferred room/view
Automatically give them their preferred room type or view when they book into your hotel.

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Meal requests
When they order something, remember how they like it cooked and their favourite
accompaniments.

Favourite creature comforts


When they book a room, make it up with two single beds, one with two extra pillows, just
the way they like it.

Drink requests
A customer orders a latte. She doesnt need to ask for it in a china cup instead of the
standard latte glass because staff already know its her preference.

A great start to the day


You know to deliver your regular customer a newspaper, order them a continental
breakfast, and book their window table for 7 am.

In a nutshell
Continual improvement demands that organisations keep in touch with and show interest
in their customers ever-changing needs and expectations. That way, they can explain and
match products and services perfectly to them.
Youll learn more about how to provide personalised service to repeat customers in
Section 4.

Professional service
Why provide enhanced customer service? Why give your customers superior,
professional service? Going the extra mile and sticking to (even exceeding!) the standards
expected of service industry personnel benefits you in many ways.

Click on the tabs to find out how professional service benefits employees.

Increased inner satisfaction


When I think of service, I usually think of helping another person. When I serve someone,
I meet their needs so they feel happier than they did before, and I feel a sense of inner
satisfaction too.

Increased job satisfaction


When I go above and beyond the call of duty for my customers, they will refer us to their
family and friends. Knowing that, I feel really satisfied with the job Ive done and motivated
to come to work every day. Thats not my only motivation, though.

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Increased motivation
Last year my success rate in customer service was 95%, so I got a bonus. If I can do
better next year, Ill get a pay rise and maybe a promotion. That, plus the happiness of my
customers, motivates me to do even better.

Increased loyalty
Our customers are really loyal, and I feel loyal to them too. The Mendoza family has been
coming here for years. Its been lovely watching their kids grow up and learn to ski.

Increased team spirit


Theres a common spirit that seems to permeate the whole organisation. Were
enthusiastic and really devoted to each other and our customers. I suppose that comes
from the top. Were good to each other and to our customers.

How can enhanced service benefit your organisation?


Providing professional service benefits your business too. Heres what it leads to.

Increase in customer satisfaction


Increase in customer spending
Increase in profitability
Improved reputation
Repeat business

What are the types of standards?


Standards, as defined by law, relate to an industry benchmark or define an organisations
minimum acceptable level of performance, such as designated response times.

Click on the tabs to learn about different types of standards.

ISO standards
The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) aims to ensure that theres
continual improvement in operational consistency and performance in both production and
service delivery processes.

The group is comprised of business professionals who determine quality standards criteria
between nations. The standards can relate to quality management, environmental
management, food safety, risk management, etc. These standards concentrate on
creating, documenting and implementing procedures to meet continuous improvement
aims.

Product standards
Most product standards are defined by law. Organisations can make sure these standards
are met by taking the following actions.

Systematically build quality into products and services.


Monitor for quality.
Design quality systems and processes.

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Use qualitative and quantitative tools to pinpoint and resolve problems.


Streamline systems.

Service standards
Some service standards are defined by law, such as service guarantees and the
customers right to a refund or compensation under certain circumstances.

However, service standards can also reflect an organisations commitment to customer


service and the standard customers can expect. These standards may involve the
following.

The customer environment


Customer service personnel
Documents
Promotional materials

Performance/training standards
Customer-driven organisations set performance standards and then provide training to
close up gaps in performance in various areas such as:

customer service
complaint handling
technical skills.

Its through meeting performance standards that organisations can check if their training
programs are working.

What does the service industry expect from you?


The tourism, travel, hospitality and events sectors require you to have a commitment to
continuous improvement. You also need certain attributes to enable you to work
professionally with customers.

Click on the letters to find out what they are.

High motivation
Cooperative behaviour
Positive attitude

Well look at each of these elements in more detail over the next few screens.

High motivation
Your motivation is why you serve your customers to the best of your ability: your purpose.
In a customer-driven organisation, your motivation stems from a number of factors.

Click on the checkboxes to find out what these are.

Your desire to align yourself with the organisations vision and mission.
Your aspiration to be of benefit to others.

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Your sense of inner satisfaction when you help customers.


Your feeling of job satisfaction that keeps you coming back to work.
Your feeling of loyalty towards your organisation and customers.
Your sense of team spirit.
Your financial compensation.

Hot tip
Financial compensation is last on the list for a reason. You may be financially
compensated for good customer service, but if this is your primary motivation, your
customers will sense it. You may lose their loyalty if they feel you have your own interests
at heart rather than theirs.

Positive attitude
Your attitude is how you serve your customers. Having the right attitude is essential to
establish rapport with the customer and to encourage them to purchase products and
services.

Click on the tabs for some examples of having the right attitude.

Be professional
Regardless of how you might be feeling, how difficult the customer may seem, or how
impossible their request, always be professional. Never raise your voice, argue, blame the
customer or complain.

Be helpful
Customers look to you for your professional advice and recommendations. Be positive
and helpful by offering products and services that best meet their needs.

It will undoubtedly affect the customers service experience and have a significant impact
on whether or not they return to your establishment.

Be courteous
Respect the fact that all customers are different. Be courteous when customers request
your help and when you are offering products and services. Here are some examples of
how you can display courtesy to your customers.

Smile at customers and be prepared to initiate contact with them.


Give the customer your undivided attention.
Use the customers name if you know it.
Excuse yourself if you need to leave the customer for a time. If customers need to wait
for you, explain to them why and apologise.
Genuinely thank the customer when you have finished your interaction.
If a customer complains, use this as an opportunity to demonstrate your
professionalism by being courteous and sympathetic to their needs.

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Hot tip
These techniques are a great way to develop rapport. Remember them for your review in
Section 4.

In a nutshell
You can make a great first impression on your customers and increase customer loyalty
by having correct motivation, behaviour and a positive attitude. Keep these factors of
quality customer service in mind throughout this section as you discover more about your
individual role in customer service.

Cooperative behaviour with external customers


Your behaviours are what you do to serve your customers: the actions you take every day
on their behalf. You should always be cooperative and professional in your dealings with
customers.

Click on the service bells for some examples.

Checking availability
Completing financial transactions
Answering questions
Answering the phone
Looking after children in a kids club
Teaching people to ski, play golf, swim
Coordinating events
Organising transportation
Taking bookings
Giving advice
Handling complaints
Guiding tours
Serving food/drinks
Driving a tour bus
Booking flights
Selling tickets

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Note
Every contact between you and your customers is an opportunity to create or change a
customers impression of you and your organisation. Your behaviour and how you conduct
yourself in these moments of truth is of vital importance.

Cooperative behaviour with internal customers


Aside from doing the tasks assigned to you, use your teamwork skills to liaise and
communicate with your team. Otherwise, providing quality products and services is just
not possible!

Click on the icon to learn more.

Sharing information
Liaise with team members on an on-going basis. Share customer information with them
to ensure efficient service delivery.
Customers preferences, needs and expectations
Customers special needs
Customers special requests
Frequent customer requests
Any information that affects the establishment (day-to-day duties, etc.)
Positive or negative customer feedback (Youll learn more about providing internal
feedback in Sections 2 and 3.)

Why liaise and communicate with your team and manager?


Ensures the team gives quality service.
Ensures the team provides efficient service delivery.
Enhances your relationship with team members.
Helps you promptly identify and rectify product and service deficiencies.
Allows you the opportunity to share information, knowledge and skills.
Gives management a chance to evaluate the product or service and change it
according to customers preferences.
Helps management adjust existing practices to improve customer satisfaction in the
future.

Who else might you communicate and liaise with?


Depending on which area of the tourism, travel, hospitality and events sector you work in,
you need to liaise with various suppliers (and other people in the supply chain) to ensure
continuity of supply and efficient service delivery.

Youll learn more about liaising with suppliers in Section 2.

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Click on the checkboxes to learn who you want to have good working relationships
with.

Accommodation providers
Attractions
Vehicle rental operators
Entertainment venues
Event organisations
Guides
Restaurants
Tour and cruise operators
Tour wholesalers
Transport operators
Senior management and purchasing staff
Representatives from other departments or sites
Administrative staff such as financial control staff
Inwards goods staff
Warehouse representatives
Individual supplier representatives
Representatives from freight or delivery companies

End of section
You have reached the end of Section 1.

Click to the next section to continue.

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2.0 Proactively respond to


difficult service situations
Lets look at what you will learn on completion of this section.

Identify problems with products and services and take immediate action to address
them before provision to the customer.
Anticipate delays in product and service provision and regularly update customer on
expected outcomes.
Advise customers of alternative products and services.
Proactively compensate for the service difficulty according to individual empowerment
and organisational policy.
Provide ongoing internal feedback on service issues and suggest improvements to
avoid customer disappointment.

What could go wrong?


There are certain problems that occur again and again in the tourism, travel, hospitality
and events sector. It helps to know what they are so you can take responsibility and act
quickly to address them (or prevent them in the first place).

Click on the icon to learn about typical issues.

Difficult or demanding customers


Incorrect pricing or quotes
Provision of incorrect product or service
Problems or faults with the service or product
Customers with unmet expectations of products and services
Other team members or suppliers not providing special requests
Other team members or suppliers not meeting special needs
Misunderstandings or communication barriers
Escalated complaints or disputes

How can you address these problems?


Take immediate action to address customer problems or complaints in a way that
minimises the effect on customer satisfaction.

Click on the tabs to learn how to prevent or deal with each problem.

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Difficult customers
Some customers are more than happy with a standard level of service, coupled with good
food and drink. Others require special attention.

Impatient customers who expect to not have to wait for anything.


Difficult or demanding customers who are never happy (no matter how hard you try!).
Rude customers who dont show common courtesy and respect.
Angry customers who treat you like a doormat.

Treat all customers in a pleasant and respectful manner while delivering high standard of
service. Remain professional while establishing the nature of the complaint. Youll learn
more about how to deal with escalated complaints or disputes in Section 3.

Incorrect pricing
Ever got to the checkout or received an invoice and been shocked by the total? Then you
know how customers feel when items are deceptively priced.

Always make sure products and services are accurately priced on price tags, in
brochures, in advertisements, on websites, etc. If a mistake happens, apologise and
follow your organisations policy to fix it.

Incorrect product or service


Calm and reassure customers who are disappointed with their product or service. You can
do this in a number of ways.

Use open hand gestures. Face the customer. Give them your full attention.
Dont argue. Avoid embarrassing, belittling or blaming the customer.
Apologise to calm the situation and ease their frustration. If the customer is at fault,
apologise for inconveniencing them.
Show concern: I understand why youre annoyed. Im sure Id feel the same way.
Dont fold your arms, roll your eyes, turn your back or put your hands on your hips.
Use open hand gestures. Face the customer. Give them your full attention.
Focus on what can be done to resolve their problem.

Product problems
Faulty products displease customers and result in complaints. Prevent this by seeking
new suppliers, improving quality control procedures, disposing of old/damaged stock.

Customers are usually entitled to a refund or exchange if they request it within a


reasonable time frame and provide proof of purchase (glossary).

A receipt
A bank statement
A credit card bill
An invoice
Shops packaging
Witness account of purchase

However, consumer rights regarding refunds and exchanges can be complex. If youre
unsure, seek assistance from the appropriate person.

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Falling short
Service problems resulting in unmet customer expectations are often due to systemic
issues. Make sure you know what customers want and meet their needs as you learned in
Section 1.

Staff may lack skills and knowledge or be complacent about work practices. Resolve this
through regular communication, training, coaching and, where necessary, counselling.

Deficiencies caused by facilities and systems may need to be resolved by higher


management. As a supervisor, youre expected to suggest possible solutions.

Communication barriers
As you learned in Section 1, observe customers, ask the right questions, and listen
actively to facilitate two-way communication and make sure you understand your
customers in the first place.

If a misunderstanding does occur, apologise and resolve the misunderstanding to the


customers satisfaction wherever possible.

How can you anticipate delays in product provision?


Monitor delivery progress! If your establishment is large and gets stock from a central
warehouse, monitor internal communications for news on delivery problems. If your
organisation is small and has a wide variety of suppliers and stock to track, closely
monitor lead times, order cycles and delivery arrangements.

Click on the icon to learn what other stock monitoring systems to have in place.

To monitor delivery progress, you need to have sufficient warning about problems with
product supply or late arrival of orders. This allows you to make alternative arrangements
to obtain the stock or update customers on a possible delay. At the very least, your
system should alert you if a stock order is overdue.

There are a number of systems you can use. They can include a manual diary system to
remind you to check that deliveries have arrived when expected, or a computer-reporting
system that shows delivery due dates.

If your establishment has several different suppliers, make sure that the supply
agreements require them to inform you in the event of supply issues. Closely monitor
orders from new suppliers until youre confident that theyll do this. This allows you the
opportunity to find alternative suppliers if required.

Hot tip
Remember, the further the supplier is from your establishment the longer the lead time is
likely to be (and the greater the potential for delivery problems!).
Keep a special eye on progress of deliveries from interstate or overseas suppliers.

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How can you prevent product and service delays?


When the same delays happen over and over again, the issue is probably procedural.
First, identify the true source of the problem. This could be your staff, your establishment
(the receiver), a warehouse (the supplier) or someone in between (such as a delivery
company).

Click on the tabs to find out how to resolve procedural problems.

Resolving procedural problems in your establishment


Call a meeting and involve your staff.
Clearly state the exact problem.
Brainstorm solutions together.
Choose the best solution. This could be changing a procedure, training people to better
follow an existing one, or any number of other actions.

Then choose one of three ways to implement your solution.


1. Delegate the responsibility of dealing with it to your team. Ensure they follow
company procedures and keep you informed of their progress.
2. Implement the solution yourself if thats more appropriate and within the scope of
your responsibility.
3. Refer it to the appropriate senior level person for action.

Resolving procedural problems with other establishments


Contact them and discuss the issue to find a resolution, as you learned earlier. Simple!

How can you address service delays?


Most customers can forgive you for delays, especially if you take responsibility and keep
them regularly updated on expected outcomes.

Click on the smiley faces to learn some tips on responding to service delays.

Recognise body language and facial expressions, which show that customers are
tired of waiting. (Or better yet, recognise signs before customers get upset!)
Apologise for the delay.
Give them an explanation for the wait.
Tell them how youre resolving the issue.
Let them know how much longer it will be. If you arent sure, keep them informed
about whats happening.
Provide them with the product or service.
Apologise again.

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What if you just cant deliver?


No matter how hard you try to prevent them, delays with products and services are
inevitable. The reality is that sometimes you wont be able to provide what the customer
wants when they want it.

You need to use your initiative and your imagination to offer advice on comparable
alternative products or services.

Click on the situations to see possible alternatives to offer the customer.

Problem Solution
There may be no more aisle seats on the Suggest an emergency exit seat.
flight.
The event they want to go to may be sold out. Suggest tickets for a similar event.
The honeymoon suite is booked for the Suggest a room with a view, spa bath
weekend of their wedding. and complimentary gifts.
The restaurant has run out of ingredients for Suggest other vegetarian meals or ways
the vegetarian meal they ordered. to adapt other meals to suit them.
The gluten-free cake is all gone. Suggest alternative gluten-free desserts.
Theres not enough wind for their hot air Suggest windsurfing instead!
balloon ride.

How can you compensate customers?


If you cant prevent or resolve the product or service difficulty, take initiative to proactively
compensate the customer according to your individual empowerment and organisational
policy. Consider negotiating with suppliers on the customers behalf to gain reduced rates
or extra services.

Click on the checkboxes to learn what other compensation you can provide.

Special attention during the service period


Some or all services free of charge
Some or all services at reduced rate
Discount vouchers to attend at a future time
Inexpensive add-on products
Small gifts
Special customer service delivery on next attendance

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How do you compensate customers without blowing the


budget?
When offering any kind of compensation, consider the financial constraints of the
organisation and the profitability of the sale.

Click on the icon to follow the path to profit.

The path to profit

This equation neatly sums up the path to profit.

Income from product or service expenses to produce it = profit or loss

Click and drag the bag of money across the path to see this equation in action.

Money comes in from paying customers.


Money goes out to pay your expenses (running costs).
If your income is higher than your expenses, youre on the path to profit.
If your income is lower than your expenses, youre operating at a loss and on the
road to ruin.

Your job is to calculate the expenses incurred in product or service delivery and
compensate customers accordingly.

To do this, you need some idea of the costs involved in running a business.

Click to the next screen to learn about major business expenses.

What are your major expenses?


Money goes out the door on many expenses in the travel, tourism, hospitality and events
sectors. Your expenses depend on the type of business youre in. Your management
considers them when calculating profitable selling prices of your products and services.

You need to remember them when offering customers compensation!

Click on the pieces of the chart to see an example of restaurant expenses.

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8%
Net profit

2% 25%
Maintenance (cleaning, Food costs
repairs, upgrades etc.)

21%
Taxes (GST, payroll,
income, etc.)

7%
Business costs (loans,
interest, permits, etc.)
26%
Labour costs

11%
Utilities (electricity,
gas, telephone, council
and water rates etc.)

Why provide internal feedback?


Compensating customers when difficulties arise is a good first step. However,
organisations need to know about individual and recurring complaints to avoid future
occurrence. They also need workers feedback on service practices, policies and
procedures as well as their suggestions for improvement.

Click on the feedback buttons to see why.

To help the organisation meet designated goals


To ensure you maintain high standards
To save energy, time and money
To improve efficiency
To increase profits
To reduce errors
To improve service delivery

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Hot tip
Scared to tell your manager about difficulties with service or customer complaints? Dont
be.
Good employees highlight problems so they can be fixed. A good manager wont want to
place blame on you or your colleagues. Theyre interested in continuous improvements.
Theyll just want your suggestions on measures to put in place to avoid future service
difficulties and customer disappointment.
Youll learn more about how to suggest improvements in Section 3.

What feedback do you communicate?


Theres no simple answer. Use your best judgement to decide what feedback to pass on
to your colleagues, team, supervisors or managers. It helps to share any relevant
information that might do the following.

Click on the icon to see the benefits of feedback.

Minimises customer complaints


Improves products and services
Encourages colleagues by acknowledging satisfactory performance
Improves unsatisfactory performance
Helps your customer service team meet their goals
Improves efficiency
Reduces workplace hazards

How do you provide feedback diplomatically?


No one likes to be the one to deliver bad news, but often you have to avoid the problem
happening again in the future. Plan what youre going to say and how. Then, make sure it
goes down easily by providing it in a feedback sandwich!

Click on the tabs to find out more.

Compliment
Identify something positive about what the person did.

I really appreciate how you worked so hard to finish those dessert displays. Theyre
beautiful.

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Give feedback
Let the positive statement sink in for a moment so the person is receptive.

Then, give constructive feedback in a firm, friendly way, using we rather than I and you
if possible. This way the person receiving the feedback feels supported, not attacked.
Also, let the person know what happened or could happen as a consequence of their
action/inaction.

Look at the difference.

We need to work on how to do displays and serve customers at the same time. Some of
them werent happy with the waits at lunch today.

Ive had six complaints about the lunch queues today. Youre spending too much time on
displays and not serving customers fast enough.

Give a suggestion for improvement


Offer your assistance to put the person on the right track.

One thing you can do is keep an eye on the register while youre organising food
displays. That way, a queue doesnt build up without you noticing.

Encourage
Youve been doing a great job so far, and people are really noticing your creativity. If you
can keep queues small and meet designated response times, too, we might consider
moving you from the caf to the restaurant so you can work on the larger food displays.

Note
These are examples of giving feedback to an individual person. However, you can use the
same strategy in a meeting. State something positive about the person, team, etc., first.
Then, give constructive feedback using we followed by your suggestions for
improvements.

End of section
You have reached the end of Section 2.

Click to the next section to continue.

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3.0 Resolve customer


complaints
Lets look at what you will learn on completion of this section.

Use techniques to turn complaints into opportunities to demonstrate high quality


customer service.
Handle the situation sensitively, courteously and discreetly.
Use communication techniques to assist with the management of the complaint.
Use questioning techniques to establish and agree on the nature, possible cause and
details of the complaint.
Assess the impact on the customer.
Take responsibility for finding a solution to the complaint.
Determine options to resolve the complaint and promptly analyse and decide on the
best solution, taking into account any organisational constraints.
Take swift action to resolve the complaint and prevent escalation, in consultation with
customer and to customer satisfaction.
Provide internal feedback on complaints in order to avoid future occurrence.
Reflect on and evaluate complaints and solutions to enhance response to future
issues.

What are the benefits of complaints?


Complaints are a form of feedback. Feedback from staff and customers is essential to
enhancing service delivery.

Click on the icon to learn more.

Customers who dont complain usually just take their business elsewhere. The damage
worsens when they tell their friends and family about their negative experience. The
organisation then misses out on their business as well.

Complaints are your opportunity to improve service. You can take action to address the
causes of customer dissatisfaction.

These are just some of the benefits of dealing with complaints.

You show the customer you care.


You can improve your service.
You can restore reputation.
Youre able to prevent the same problems from recurring.

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Note
Consumer research indicates that most businesses hear complaints from as little as 10%
of dissatisfied customers.
This means that for every ten complaints an organisation receives, there are another 90
which go unreported.
For every customer that complains about something, there are likely to be ten others that
feel the same way, but just havent said anything!

Why deal with complaints in a positive manner?


If you treat each complaint as an opportunity to improve, you can turn a potentially
negative experience into a positive one. Respond to customer complaints sensitively,
courteously, discreetly and cooperatively.

Click on the tabs to find out how.

Maintaining customer satisfaction


Maintaining customer satisfaction is at the heart of everything you do in the tourism,
hospitality and events sectors.

As youve learned, customer problems are detrimental to business success. Dealing with
these complaints in a positive way to the customers satisfaction is an essential part of
your organisations commitment to quality service.

Enhance reputation and goodwill


Demonstrate that you welcome the opportunity the customer is giving you to make things
right. This way you can enhance the establishments reputation for service and maintain
the goodwill (glossary) and loyalty of the customer.

Build lasting relationships


Your challenge is to build lasting relationships with customers, including those who are
difficult or demanding.

Customer-driven organisations are committed to providing high quality service. They fight
hard to retain the loyalty of unsatisfied customers by being positive and receptive towards
complaints. Theyre prepared to do whatever it takes to retain a complaining customers
business because they understand the value of long-term relationships.

Keep customers loyal


Research also indicates that more than 90% of complaining customers will continue to do
business with the establishment if their complaint is satisfactorily and promptly resolved.
So encourage feedback from customers and ensure positive resolution of their
complaints.

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How can you deal with complaints in a positive manner?


Be sensitive, courteous and discreet for your customers sake and your own.

Customers dont want to be made the centre of attention in a restaurant, reception area,
tour group, bus or anywhere else. Similarly, you dont want to alert other customers to a
complaint someone is making.

If a customer complains, dont share it with others at nearby tables, in the same queue, on
the same tour, etc.

Click on the characters to learn some other tips.

Keep your voice quiet.


Step aside to deal with the matter discreetly.
Allow other staff to help other customers if possible.

How can you communicate with complaining customers?


To assist with the management of the complaint, communicate positively, using the same
communication techniques you normally would to provide optimum customer service.

Click on the checkboxes to learn principles of positive communication.

Use the right language


Use the right tone
Use the right pitch and volume
Be clear
Use the right body language
Use the right gestures

Hot tip
Communication takes place when a message is sent by one person and received by
another. This can happen verbally or non-verbally.
Effective communication is the exchange of information, thoughts, opinions, ideas and
feelings between two or more people. It only takes place when the message is received
and understood exactly the way the sender intended.

Use the right language


In the service industry, you work with many different social and cultural groups. When
dealing with complaints (or any other service issue) use appropriate language. Pay
attention to your level of formality and informality with internal and external customers.

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Click on the tips to learn more.

Tip 1
Avoid language or terms others might find offensive.

Many people object to being referred to as love or dear.


Never use slang referring to a persons ethnic origin or colour. This language is
offensive and condescending.
Never use slang that might be seen as demeaning referring to a persons age or
disability.

Tip 2
Avoid making judgments or assumptions about others based on their appearance, age,
gender or race. Here are some examples.

Dont assume a customer who appears to be from another country doesnt speak
English well.
Dont assume a female customer lacks technical knowledge.
Dont assume that only an older person or a male can be a manager.

Tip 3
Use inclusive language.

This means referring to the possibility that a male or female can carry out a certain role,
particularly if the person is unknown to you.

It also means using gender-neutral language.

Sales assistant or salesperson (not salesman)


Delivery driver (not deliveryman)
Room attendant or cleaner (not cleaning lady)
Workforce (not manpower)
Hand-made or manufactured (not man-made)

Use the right tone


Customers often respond more to how you say something than to what you say.

Handle complaints and other service issues using a friendly, professional, helpful tone.
Avoid letting negative emotions such as boredom, annoyance, anger or exhaustion come
through. Empathise with the customers situation while upholding organisational policy

Rachel works in a ski resort travel agency. A cranky customer is complaining about lack of
snow and wants to change their flight dates so they can leave earlier.

Click on the tuning forks to hear how she hits the right note compared to a trainee.

Youd like to change your flight dates? No problem. Ill just bring up your details. OK. On
the ticket you purchased, this kind of change will incur a fee. Is that OK with you?

Hmmyoud like to change your flight dates? OKNo problem. Ill just bring up your
details. UmOK. Umthe ticket you purchased this kind of change will incuruha fee.
Is that OK with you?

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Use the right pitch and volume


Pitch is the high or low variation in your voice. When dealing with complaints or providing
any other kind of service, correct pitch instils trust. Incorrect pitch destroys it instantly.
Volume is how loudly or softly you speak.

A tourist is complaining that the tour bus to the Aboriginal sites is late. They want to know
when it will arrive.

Click on Rachel and the trainee to hear the difference in their responses.

Well, the bus normally leaves at 9am, but there may be road closures due to last nights
snow storm. I might just double-check with Dan, the assistant tour operator, to see if hes
heard anything. Just a moment, please.

Do customers really notice the pitch and volume of your voice?


Absolutely! Customers expect you to provide information clearly, confidently and
concisely.

A quiet, high-pitched, squeaky voice sounds less competent. When your voice goes up at
the end of your sentences, you sound unsure of yourself. You can instil confidence in your
abilities by using medium level volume and a lower pitch at the end of statements.

Hot tip
Environments in hospitality, tourism and events are often noisy, so dont mumble. Project
your voice so customers can hear you, but remember not to yell (no matter how angry you
might be with complaining customers!).

Be clear and concise


When responding to complaints, use language thats clear and conveys exactly what you
mean. Avoid slang or jargon that may confuse customers.

Rachel has discovered the reason the bus is late and needs to tell the complaining
customer whats happening.

Click on the speech bubbles to see different ways of communicating the same
message.

OK. I spoke with Dan who spent ages trying to work out whats happening with the roads.
Apparently, ploughing took forever because they had trouble with the salt spreaders.
Finally, they opened it but had to close it again because of an accident. The ambos got
bogged. Anyway, the tour of the Aboriginal sites has been slightly delayed.

OK. Sorry, but youre right. The tour bus has been slightly delayed due to a road closure.
The bus is now leaving at 10.30am. I can print you a new itinerary if you like, and theres a
caf just there where you can have a warm drink while you wait.

Number two is the clearer message. Its simple, concise, not repetitive, doesnt use slang
or jargon, and actually answers the customers question!

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Use the right body language


Did you know that up to 70% of our communication is non-verbal? Its the number one
way to develop (or ruin!) rapport. Always use appropriate body language when dealing
with complaints.

Click on the pictures for some useful tips.

Posture
Maintain a good standing and sitting posture at all times, especially when speaking to,
interacting with, or in plain view of customers. A straight back demonstrates confidence
and capability. Slouching doesnt!

Facial expressions
A smile shows your customers that youre open, friendly and approachable. If you want to
have successful customer interactions, avoid sighing, scowling, rolling your eyes, yawning
or any other facial expressions which demonstrate negative attitude or lack of concern for
your customers.

Eye contact
Use eye contact when you speak or listen to customers. It shows that youre giving them
your undivided attention and makes them feel special.

Use of space
How close do you stand to the person youre communicating with? Your answer
depends on your personal preferences and cultural conditioning. Some people and
cultures feel comfortable standing very close together. Others need a bigger gap!
Be conscious of this difference, especially when dealing with complaints. You dont
want to seem too overbearing by standing too closely, or too uncaring by standing too
far away.
If you notice a customer backing away from you during a conflict, it may be because
they feel youre invading their space or vice versa! Practise building rapport by letting
the customer determine the gap and adapting yourself to their use of space.

Hot tip
These techniques are a great way to develop rapport. Remember them for your review in
Section 4.

Use the right gestures


Gestures vary from place to place, and different cultures interpret them differently. When
dealing with people from other countries or whose first language isnt English, use
gestures appropriately so you dont lose rapport.

This is especially important when dealing with complaints. You dont want to add insult to
injury!

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Click on the pictures to find out more.

Pointing an index finger


People in some countries point an index finger to attract someones attention or show
directions. However, in some Asian countries this is considered impolite.

Thumbs up
Thumbs up can be a positive way to indicate a job well done. However, in many countries
its the same as the middle finger, so keep your thumbs down, please!

OK
In some countries touching the index finger and thumb together means OK or even
great.

However, in some European countries, it means zero and has a negative connotation. For
the Japanese it means please give me change. To make things even more confusing,
this gesture can be quite an offensive insult in some cultures.

Again, use caution with this one.

Patting or touching someones head


In Australia, people touch or stroke each other (especially children) on the head as a sign
of affection. However, for Indians and Malays this is not acceptable. They believe this part
of the body to be sacred.

Come here
In some countries, placing your hand palm up and curling your fingers towards you is a
way to get people to come your way. However, in other countries this gesture is only used
for animals. People are called with the palm facing down.

Be aware of this when guiding tours, leading people to tables, getting groups to board a
bus, or any other situation where youre calling international customers towards you.

Crossed arms
Crossed arms indicate that a person is closed and not willing to listen. Keep your arms
open and uncrossed to demonstrate your willingness and availability to customers.

Fanning your face


In Australia, fanning your hand sideways in front of your face means youre hot, but in
Japan it means no.

In a nutshell
Most of the time, people arent even aware of their body language and gestures. When it
comes to serving complaining customers, thats a big mistake! To achieve high quality
customer service, pay careful attention to the silent messages you and your customers
convey to each other.

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Hot tip
You can develop rapport through appropriate use of gestures. Remember this for your
review in Section 4.

How can you establish the nature of the complaint?


Its natural for customers to feel angry or frustrated when things dont turn out as they
expect. Use conflict resolution techniques to calm and reassure them. Then, maintain a
positive and cooperative manner while you establish the facts and work towards an
agreeable solution.

Click on the icon to learn how.

Actively listen
Customers express anger and frustration in a variety of ways. Some will shout, pound the
counter and generally make a scene. Others may be rude, sarcastic, arrogant or
demanding. Still others may hide their feelings and appear to be quite controlled and
calm.

The best way to diffuse the customers anger is simply to listen. Allow them to get their
feelings off their chest so you can begin to establish the facts. This first step helps you
deal with both the facts and the emotions surrounding the complaint.

Dont argue
Avoid the temptation to argue. This will inflame any emotion the customer is feeling. You
might win the argument but lose the customers business as a result.

Empathise
Show the customer you understand their feelings and are concerned about what has
happened. Communicate this using a phrase like I understand why you are annoyed. Im
sure I would feel the same way if this happened to me.

Say things that encourage the customer to speak, such as, I see.

Use appropriate body language


Use open and non-threatening body language. A defensive stance (folding your arms,
rolling your eyes, turning your back or putting your hands on your hips) is sure to enrage
the customer. Rather than calming and reassuring them, youre more likely to end up in a
heated argument.

Use open hand gestures. Face the customer when theyre speaking to you and give them
your full attention.

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Ask questions
Questioning establishes the nature, possible cause and details of the complaint. The more
information you gather, the better youll understand the complaint and the easier it will be
to resolve it.

As you want to get your customer talking, reflective questions work well when dealing with
complaints. They help you probe for specific details and clarify any ambiguities.

You mentioned that the waiter was rude to you. What did he say to offend you?
You said that your pasta was the worst youve ever had. What exactly was wrong with
it?
I understand that you were disappointed with the tour. What were you hoping to
experience? How could we have made it better for you?

Distinguish between the facts and the customers feelings. Angry customers sometimes
exaggerate whats happened.

Acknowledge the complaint


Regardless of whether or not you think the customer has a valid complaint, acknowledge
what theyre saying and feeling, and avoid trivialising whats important to them.

Say things that encourage the customer to talk about their concerns, such as I see, I
understand how you must feel, or, Thats terrible.

Verify your understanding


Verify your understanding by repeating or summarising what the customer has said, So
you said you booked a table for ten adults and a baby, but the table provided only sits six
adults and no infants, so you are naturally concerned about everyone having a seat.

By rephrasing or summarising what the customer has told you, youre reassuring them
that their complaint has been heard and understood.

Apologise
Apologising to a customer can help calm the situation and ease their frustration. The fact
a customer has complained means that they think the organisation is at fault. You can be
sure they are expecting an apology.

Once you have established the facts, you may find that the problem has been caused by
something the customer has done. The customer may have failed to fully explain their
needs, misunderstood information provided by the establishment, given the organisation
incorrect information, or failed to read instructions.

If the customer is at fault, apologise for the fact the customer has been inconvenienced.
Avoid embarrassing, belittling or blaming the customer. Focus on what can be done to
resolve their problem.

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Take responsibility!
When a customer complains, it means that you havent met their expectations about a
product or some aspect of service. Take responsibility for finding a solution.

Follow your specific organisations complaint-handling policies and procedures to ensure


that you not only resolve complaints professionally, but are seen to resolve them
professionally (and in accordance with the law!).

Check your organisations guidelines so you know exactly what to do when confronted
with an angry customer.

This ensures that customers receive consistent care and that you, other staff and the
establishment are personally and legally protected.

How can you resolve complaints?


Once you have listened to the customer, calmed and reassured them, you need to take
swift action to prevent escalation. Determine options to resolve the complaint and
promptly analyse and decide on the best solution. Be sure to consult your organisational
procedures and policies.

Click on the steps to read one organisations procedure.

Step 1
Identify and confirm the problem
Identifying the problem isnt enough for you to resolve the issue. You need to establish
and confirm all the facts to determine whats happened to cause the complaint. This may
mean speaking to other staff, referring to records, or asking the customer for more
information.

Step 2
Consult the customer to seek solutions
Sometimes the customer will explain what they want or even demand it! Other times the
customer will complain but not propose a solution. The customer will continue to be
dissatisfied unless a fair solution is found. Remember that what one customer considers
fair may be completely different for the next.

Theres more than one way to resolve a problem. The trick is finding the solution that best
satisfies the customer.

Step 3
Refer to the complaints procedure
Remember, the action you take must comply with the establishments complaint-handling
policy and procedure. Most establishments have a system for recording and reporting
complaints, and employees have varying levels of authority depending on their position.

Be aware of your limitations. Never make promises you cannot keep or offer the customer
something that is outside your level of authority.

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This may mean referring the customer to your manager, establishment owner or more
senior personnel.

Step 4
Explain what action you propose to take
Involving the customer at every stage of the resolution process is essential. Dont tell the
customer what you think they want to hear. Tell them honestly what action you intend to
take to rectify the situation.

Step 5
Seek customer approval and satisfaction
The customer wont always be happy with your chosen course of action. They might have
different expectations about what should happen to compensate them.

Remember your primary goal is to resolve the problem to the customers satisfaction. This
may mean further negotiations and compromise with the customer, until both parties have
reached a mutual decision about the best action to take in the circumstances.

Seeking customer approval is as simple as asking them if theyre happy with the course of
action youve described.

Step 6
Take agreed action
Next, its time to take action and implement the steps you agreed to take. The customer
has already lodged one complaint. This is your chance to make things right and restore
your reputation and relationship with the customer.

Obviously the action you take depends on the nature of the complaint and what you have
agreed to do for the customer.

Keep the customer informed throughout the process. They shouldnt have to chase you or
other staff to find out what action has been taken. If you encounter problems or delays, let
the customer know. Theyll be more understanding if you maintain honest and open
communication with them.

Step 7
Follow up with the customer
Once the agreed action has been taken, follow up with the customer to make sure theyre
happy with the end result. This might mean writing them a letter or email, sending them a
survey or contacting them on the telephone.

The purpose of following up with the customer is to find out if you've resolved the situation
to their satisfaction. Have you restored your relationship and their trust in the
establishments ability to provide excellent customer service?

Step 8
Record or report the incident
Depending on the nature of the complaint, you might need to document the incident. A
customer complaining that their food took too long would not warrant documentation.
However, an incident that may have caused injury to a person should always be
documented.

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For example, if a customer injured themselves on a tour, they could decide to follow
through with litigation against the establishment. By documenting this information, the
facts are written down. This may prove useful in case of a legal claim.

What else should you keep in mind?


It would be lovely if you could make every customer happy using the steps youve learned.
However, the reality is that you cant always give every customer everything they ask for.
As youre resolving complaints, weigh up the impact on the customer vs the impact on the
organisation and act accordingly.

Click on the tabs to learn more about assessing complaint resolutions.

What are your organisational constraints?


Be sure to take the following organisational constraints into account when resolving
customer complaints. Resolve issues in a way that keeps negative impact on the
organisation to a minimum.

Costs and budgets: Your solution must be financially viable. Consider compensating
customers in small ways (a complimentary drink, a small discount, a parking voucher,
etc.).
Feasibility of providing the solution: Make sure the solution is possible to implement.
Own empowerment to resolve the complaint: The solution you come up with must be
within the scope of your job role and level of responsibility.
Policy and procedures: Make sure you follow your specific organisations regulations.
Profitability of the sale: As you learned in Section 2, you wouldnt offer a customer a
complete refund on a five-day travel package just because they demanded it and were
unhappy with the food on day five. Offering a small voucher to use towards other tours
would be more appropriate.
Ultimate responsibility of the organisation: Ensure you follow consumer protection laws
and be responsible when offering refunds, exchanges, etc.

How can you assess the impact on your customer?


Any negative impact on your customers can create a negative ripple effect for your
business. However, if you resolve the situation so theres a positive impact (or at the very
least no impact), you win and so does your customer.

Here are some questions to keep in mind.

Are they going to be severely disappointed and tell all their friends about your poor
service?
Are they going to be inconvenienced?
Are they going to be financially out of pocket?
Will their opinion of your organisation be lower than before?
Does your solution hurt them more than help them?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, use your initiative, think outside the box, and
see if you can come up with better solutions which have a more positive impact on your
customer.

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How can you reduce the negative impact on the customer?


This goes back to consulting the customer to seek solutions.

Remember that customers will be dissatisfied unless a fair solution is found. This sense of
whats fair varies from customer to customer.

The more closely the customer agrees with the solution the more positively it will impact
them.

Why report complaints?


In Section 2, you learned some good reasons to provide internal feedback about difficult
service situations and customer complaints.

Can you remember what they are?

You have 30 seconds to list as many as you can.

Click start to begin.

Why should you provide internal feedback? List as many reasons as you can.

How did you go? Compare your answers to these.

To help the organisation meet designated goals


To ensure you maintain high standards
To save energy, time and money
To improve efficiency
To increase profits
To reduce errors
To improve service delivery

How do you identify opportunities for improvement?


Reflect on complaints, evaluate them, determine their underlying causes and come up
with solutions.

Customer service improvements dont happen by chance. They come from innovative
ideas and suggestions from workers just like you. To provide better customer service,
liaise with your team to challenge assumptions (glossary)in certain areas of your
workplace.

Click on the tabs to learn typical opportunities for improvement.

Work procedures
You dont need to do things as theyve always been done. Find a way to do your tasks
better, faster, easier or cheaper. Then, share your strategies so your team can improve.

Remember to review and make updates to procedures in line with industry and community
changes too!

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Products and services


How could you improve products and services? Ask your customers! Discover what they
want and what they have difficulty finding. Then, provide it.

This makes your business more competitive.

Systems
Your business undoubtedly uses electronic or manual systems for some of the following
on a regular basis.

Tracking stock movement


Completing financial transactions
Transferring phone calls
Taking and relaying messages
Training staff
Creating rosters
Placing orders
Tracking and accepting deliveries
Managing accounts
Making bookings
Handling complaints
Guiding tours
Serving food/drinks

Are your systems the best and most efficient available? If not, improve them!

Materials and tools


What materials and tools do you use in your organisation?

Are they the only ones available? Or do other businesses in your industry have ones that
in the long run may be more profitable and efficient to use ?

What are you doing manually that you could be doing electronically?

Working conditions
Its easy to think of ways to make your working conditions better!

Change the physical working environment: crowded areas, poor lighting, unsatisfactory
security equipment, no break room for staff, etc.
Consider hours and flexibility of employment: issues related to shift work, breaks, leave
entitlements, flexible hours, work from home arrangements, etc.
Deal with sexual harassment, discrimination or workplace bullying.
Identify WHS concerns: improper manual handling procedures, mechanical, physical,
chemical and biological hazards, improper hygiene/infection/pest control, lack of
appropriate PPE, work-related fatigue, psychological stress, etc.

Note
Always liaise with your team when suggesting improvements. Keep the long-term goals of
both the business and the team in mind. Also, make sure you communicate clearly and
effectively.

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How do you suggest improvements?


Discussing service difficulties is not necessarily always easy. Be diplomatic when
providing feedback on and suggesting improvements to service practices, policies and
procedures.

Click on the tabs to find out how.

Negotiate
Do you always have exactly the same opinions and ideas as your team mates? Do you
agree all the time? Of course not!

When you dont agree on how to solve a problem, its time to negotiate. This means
openly discussing issues, ideas, and different ways of doing things, etc. to reach a
solution for your customer. If you cant work it out, refer to your manager.

Compromise
Compromising is meeting in the middle to reach a mutual decision. How can you do this?

Voice your opinions in a non-threatening way.


Consider your colleagues ideas with an open mind.
Respect your colleagues opinions.
Be willing to change your behaviours and meet in the middle for the benefit of your
customer service team and the customers.

Contribute
The whole is greater than the sum of its parts! If everyone contributes to solving problems,
the customer service team can do more together than the individuals separately.

Share your ideas for improvement.


Contribute to discussions in meetings.
Be determined to begin and follow through on what you say.
Take active steps to discuss problems with colleagues to help your customers.
Participate actively in problem-solving discussions.

Show empathy
Have you ever heard someone say, Put yourself in my shoes!? Empathy is exactly that:
the ability to truly understand how someone else feels.

Empathy is essential in any business. Listening actively and understanding why a


colleague is upset, what pressures your manager is under, or how angry a customer is
about a problem all enable you to be of more support to them.

End of section
You have reached the end of Section 3.

Click to the next section to continue.

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4.0 Develop a customer


relationship
Lets look at what you will learn on completion of this section.

Promote repeat business by the offer of promotional services, according to individual


empowerment and organisational policy.
Develop a rapport with and provide personalised service to repeat customers.
Maintain customer profiles to enhance service delivery.
Provide tailored products and services based on customer profile.

What do you promote?


Whether you work in a night club or on a tour bus, in a hotel or a travel agency, you need
to promote your products and services according to your individual empowerment and
organisational policy.

Click on the tabs to see how your knowledge can give you the competitive edge.

Tours and transport


Fairy penguins in Victoria?

Uluru in the Northern Territory?

Sightseeing in Sydney?

Travel agents and tour operators need staff to promote services, sights or amenities
specific to their location and mode of transport (bus, train or plane).

Conferences and conventions


These centres rely on large groups of people using their facilities. Staff can sell this
space by promoting the advantages of the services on offer. It could be a team-building
conference for a large corporation or a vintage car convention for car lovers!

Function facilities
Types of functions are many and varied.

Wedding receptions
21st birthdays
Corporate award nights
Wine tastings
Balls
Bucks and hens nights

Provide customers with a range of services specific to their function (whether its a Jewish
wedding or Kenworth truck dealer of the year!).

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Entertainment
Nightclubs, live bands, dancing, theatre, shows, gambling, etc. all rely and survive on
public patronage.

To succeed, staff working in these sectors must be able to capture the interest of the
public.

Shopping services
Anyone working in the retail market is a salesperson. Whether youre selling clothes,
Aboriginal artefacts or Chinese artwork, product knowledge is essential. Know your
products, offer advice and direct the public to your range.

Accommodation
Five star hotels, bed and breakfasts, backpacker hostels, motels, ski lodges, resorts, etc.
all compete to attract a certain segment of the population. Their success is determined by
how well they sell and promote their services and products.

Food and beverage


Cafs, restaurants, bistros, wine bars and takeaways all require product and service
promotion.

How can you promote repeat business?


Did you know it costs 500% more to win a new customer than to keep an existing one?
Promote repeat business by offering promotional services according to your individual
empowerment and organisational policy.

Click on the pictures to see the kinds of promotional services you can offer.

Birthday gifts
Everybody loves a present!

A discounted tour, meal, drink, room, ticket, etc.


A free tour, meal, drink, room, ticket, etc.
A buy-one get-one-free offer
A gift left in a customers hotel room
A card upon arrival
Staff singing to them

Use your imagination to delight customers on their special day.

Newsletters
Provide monthly newsletters updating customers on new products/services or changes to
existing ones.

Use this opportunity to promote special deals and offers.

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Email notifications
Send daily, weekly, monthly notifications of the following.

Sales
New product ranges
New services
Specials
Reminders of forthcoming special occasions (Mothers day, Valentines day, etc.)

Vouchers
Give discount vouchers to loyal customers.

Sell gift vouchers so they can share you with others!

Customer loyalty programs


These are so varied they deserve their own screen! Click to the next screen to learn about
types of customer loyalty programs.

Implement customer loyalty programs


Reward customers for their loyalty and business! Identify what appeals to your customers
and would encourage them to return. Rewards may involve discounts on certain
items/packages, extra credit rating/credit terms, and free entry to functions/events at your
establishment.

Click on the trophies to see how customers can be winners through different loyalty
programs.

Loyalty cards with built-in rewards, points, advantages, discounts, etc.


Tiered loyalty cards with more rewards for more loyalty (bronze, silver, gold cards).
Special offers and discounts for bronze, silver, gold, platinum club members, VIP
club members, etc.
Package discounts and special schemes for frequent buyers, flyers, visitors,
customers, etc.
Benefits and discounts for liking and friending your organisation.
Contests, games, entries into draws for purchases.
Stamp cards: Buy six drinks. Get the 7th free.

Promote products
Product promotions are another way you can encourage customers to support your
organisation. There are a number of different ways you can promote products.

Click on the pictures to check out a few examples.

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Samples
Daily specials of new meals
Give free tastes of new desserts, starters, foods and drinks
Sound bites of bands or singers

Advertising
Product information leaflets
Radio
Television
Newspaper
Website
Social media

Discounts
Everyone loves a bargain!

Offering discounts and special deals draws attention and encourages purchase.

Displays
Use special display stands to promote your holiday, event, rooms, food, tours, etc.

Use window displays to promote a particular product or service.

Invitation-only event
Invite VIP customers and guests to attend events to sample different products, look at the
upcoming release of new products, experience a new service.

All these strategies are worth implementing to secure repeat business. However, as you
learned in the previous three sections of this unit, one of the most important ways to
ensure repeat business is to develop close relationships with your customers.

Can you remember how?

Click to the next screen to find out.

How do you develop rapport?


Rapport is a bond based on trust and understanding. Developing rapport with your
customers enhances the credibility of the establishment and its staff. Establishing rapport
also promotes goodwill during service delivery.

If you have good rapport with customers, theyre more likely to listen to your
recommendations, make a purchase and return in the future.

Throughout this unit youve learned many different rapport-building strategies.

You have 30 seconds to write different ways you can develop rapport through
communication and action.

Click start to begin.

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How can you establish rapport through communication and action?

How did you go? Compare your answers to these.

Be attentive
Be a mirror
Paraphrase their needs
Be respectful
Be proactive
Be professional
Be helpful
Be courteous
Use correct body language
Have good posture
Use positive facial expressions
Dont sigh, scowl, roll eyes, yawn, etc.
Make eye contact
Use space wisely
Use appropriate gestures

How can you remember what everyone wants?


Maintain customer profiles to enhance service delivery. Use your database to check
customer requests, preferences, etc. so you can provide them with tailored products or
services.

Click on the checkboxes to learn what different customer data profiles contain.

Names and contact details


Birthdays and anniversaries and other special occasions celebrated with you before
Special requests made: newspaper delivery, view, extra pillows or a particular
alcohol in the mini bar
Special needs
Preferred products, services, room or table
How the customer likes certain foods cooked or prepared
Details of products and services received in the past
Comments and feedback provided
Details of past complaints and how they were dealt with
Previous discounts or special offers

What systems can you use?


Different organisations have different kinds of customer profiles and various ways of
tracking customers.

Click on the tabs to find out what they are.

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SITXCCS401 Enhance customer service experience

Manual system
Establishments that use a manual system rely on their staff to recognise customers and
remember their preferences or repeated requests.

This type of system demands that staff pay attention to detail and have an interest in
wanting to know and please regular customers. Its most effective in small establishments
that have low staff turnover and minimal roster changes.

If you work in an establishment that uses a manual operating system and have difficulty
remembering details, try leaving yourself reminder notes at your work station.

Computerised system
More and more establishments are enjoying the benefits of computerised systems.
Customer information can be recorded and updated for future reference.

When a customer places an order, makes a reservation or books an event, you can look
up their history and have instantaneous information about them.

Linked computer system


Many hotels and event centres use a linked computer system that allows each department
access to the same information.

In a hotel, daily arrival reports including details about customer requests, and
preferences are distributed to each department. This allows staff the opportunity to
personalise the service offered before the customer even checks in.

Do you have the skills you need?


Be sure to check with your organisation to learn what sources of information they use to
generate customer profiles. Familiarise yourself with the technological skills necessary to
access customer records including: contact details, past bookings, current bookings,
request records and conversations as well as accounts payable and receivable.

Click on the icon to learn more.

Read manufacturer's instructions and product manuals.


Before using any electronic devices new to you, make sure you have the training to
do so.
Ask your colleagues or supervisor for guidance, support, feedback and advice.
Attend workshops or training sessions.
Ask a more experienced person to demonstrate.
Practise!

End of section
You have reached the end of Section 4.

Click to the next screen to read the unit summary.

2014 Edition
60
SITXCCS401 Enhance customer service experience

Summary
You now have the skills and knowledge necessary to provide professional and
personalised customer service experiences.

You can meet customer preferences, develop customer relationships, respond to difficult
service situations, and take responsibility for resolving complaints.

Most of all, you now have the ability to truly transform an everyday customer experience
into a truly memorable one that helps them, you and your business take flight.

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GLOSSARY

Glossary
Word Meaning
Assumptions Things that we believe, take for granted, or assume are correct (even
though they may not be!)
Goodwill The favourable relationship a business develops with its customers.
Halal The Arabic word for permitted. In terms of food, it means food that is
permissible according to Islamic law.
Kosher Food which conforms to Jewish dietary laws.
Proof of purchase Something that verifies that a customer actually bought a product from
the retailer.
Vegan A strict vegetarian who eats only plant foods and consumes no animal
products such as eggs, cheese, milk, honey, etc.
Vegetarian A person who does not eat meat, poultry or fish.

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(Didasko Learning Resources)