Principles of customer service and methods

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A customer is an individual with specific needs when buying products and services and expects a very high level of service in meeting those needs. Customer service involves providing Products and services that meet the needs of the customer and satisfy their demands. This is particularly applies to travel and tourism (a people industry) where the success of any business depends and providing customers with a high level of customer service.

Customer service is all about finding out what the customer wants and making sure it is delivered; making sure there is every chance the customer will recommend the organisation; getting the details right every time; exceeding customer expectations; putting the customer first and at the centre of everything. In recent years customers have come to expect more from the products and services they are buying. What once may have been an added extra is now often a necessity. This is especially so when the travel and tourism industry. For example en suite facilities and Hotel bathrooms, new rides at theme parks, a drinking service on long coach journeys are now expected services and not extras.

The basic principles of customer service in any organisation are: First Impressions Company Image Speed and accuracy of service Products and services offered Customer services policies Teamwork Effective communication Meeting customers’ needs Mission statements On our class visit to Magherabuoy Hotel we were able to observe and to ask questions on these principles. First Impressions First impressions are a very important in the role of customer service to any organisation, when looking at the Best Western Magherabuoy Hotel brochure I noticed that the layout is of a high standard to match with the three star rating.

My first immediate reaction on our entrance to the hotel where we sat in the foyer, was of a grand decor with leather sofas and chandeliers, however the receptionist ignored us and looked very bored. Company Image The company image was highly respectable through the design and layout of the Hotel and the uniforms and presentation of the staff. The logo of best western Magherabuoy house is bright and sophisticated; it is very recognisable and is a credit to the company. The gardens were kept trim and tidy; the bedrooms were neat and clean, over all the whole Hotel was top-quality.

Premises On arrival we sat in the foyer and we are cheered for quite some time before being seen how ever this was a comfortable experience due to the leather sofas, so would seem that the speed of service was a bit low for us. Accuracy however was perfect. Products and Services T Clarke made a presentation for us on their customer service skills and attributes. I asked him what kind of products or services are you currently offering to customers and is there anything else you’re planning to introduce for the future. He spoke clearly and replied that they are thinking of adding a spa, at the moment they are focusing on the wedding market and are thinking of new ways to encourage families.

Effective Communication The Best Western Magherabuoy staff does have effective communication skills, you know this because Trevor Clarke himself was the example given to us and he spoke clearly to us, not trembling with nerves or speaking too fast. He gave us the information that we needed and more. For Magherabuoy house the customer is the most important person in the business, therefore worth meeting customer needs is a priority, it is important to them that the customer is never dissatisfied.

Teamwork Teamwork is important throughout all the staff, especially the ones dealing with customer service. There are 80 members of staff in the whole hotel and for them; there are 10 managers, one for every 10 staff sections. This is a very good thing, they do not only have enough managers for their staff but the managers would meet up together on a regular basis to make sure that the staff are doing their job the way they should. and not only that but to make sure all staff even from different sections are working at the same level and that they are all providing the same level of customer service.

Customer Service Polices The Best Western group have costumer policies in place which means that their hotels and the staff in customer service roles will be monitored every three months, first of all the employees go under a training course which involves achieving a certificate in Welcome Host so that they can be more experienced in the job field. Meeting Customer needs Meeting customer needs is something that the Magherabuoy strongly believe in and states that they want to exceed their needs at all times.

When they serve up a Sunday carvery in a specific room which looks out onto the garden with the play park for children, this is so that the parents can enjoy their dinner and at the same time know that their kids are safe and not causing any bother. This is evidence of meeting the customer needs of families. Mission Statement The mission statement of best western international is to enhance brand equity and increase member value.

This shows some different things; first of all it shows that best western want to keep things simple and basic, this is a careful move as they do want to say their aim is higher than their action. It would be hypocritical of them to state a list of positive things which they aspire to do if they were not trying to do any of them. It is also quite clever because the best western group does cover a large group of people and to hope they were all acting the same way is a risk.

The next organisation I will talk about is Virgin and more specifically Virgin-Atlantic. My research for this part of the task has come from their website, and so I will be investigating the basic principals of customer service from this. From looking at their website my first immediate impression is that it is definitely the right one! Logo When you see anything with the trademark name Virgin on a plane or in a store, on CD covers or anywhere else; you know who it comes from and what brand it is straight away from the bright red labels.

The virgin websites are all like this, which is good it emphasises just how recognisable their logo is. Premises I cannot visit any of their premises for this investigation but from being in Virgin media stores before I remember that it was well laid out, easy to find the products you were looking for, and like other music stores had low level aisles so it made the place look bigger and more spacious. Meeting customer needs Virgin aims to meet customers’ needs; and with Virgin Atlantic, they have a department dedicated to helping their passengers with special travel needs, providing a broad range of services to make their journey as comfortable as possible. The Special Assistance department creates a specific plan for each passenger to ensure that their special travel needs are fulfilled. These needs vary from special meals to providing mobility aids at the airport.

Customer service policies When it comes to customer service, Virgin has links on the website to many helpful pages including a list of FAQs which explains just about everything you could possibly want to know as a customer. It explains complaints procedures and is keeping the public up to date with the recent dilemma with terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport. “Customer service and commitment to our passengers has been the driving force behind our brand. We strive to get it right, first time, every time. Occasionally things do not go as planned. We believe that you have the right to know what level of service you can expect from us all the time – even in those rare moments when we fall short of the very high standards we have set ourselves.”

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