How Well Does Your Venue Respond to a Bad Customer Experience?

By Samantha Litfin | Group Marketing Manager & Consultant

In this digital age we tweet and post, blog and text, email and banner our customers within an inch of their lives, and while all this technology is effective for encouraging new members or visitors, sometimes good old fashioned service can get lost in the flood. As a customer service business, venues should be using utilising this technology in conjunction with traditional tactics, to deliver ongoing and genuine customer service recovery strategies that keep customers coming back for more.

Customer service recovery revolves around a simple principle, that a customer who has a bad experience and receives a prompt, effective response to their issue, will become a more loyal customer than one who has had no bad experience at all.

Service recovery strategies can be put in place everywhere from the initial and ongoing communication with clients, through to the staff and Supervisors on the floor. Your customers could be receiving upwards of 5 communications per day from various venues, which can dim the effectiveness of your offer. This coupled with a poorly handled bad experience on their last visit, could make all the difference in their decision making process to return to your venue over another. With an effective service recovery strategy in place, your venue could instantly engender good emotional responses and become the only communication they take notice of.

No venue or staff member is ever going to get it 100% right 100% of the time, someone will have to wait too long, a promise will not be kept, a meal could be served cold, or an attendant could miss a raised hand. These things are inevitable, however, that doesn’t mean that the mistake has to cost the venue, or the patron. It is how your staff handle these situations and manage their mistakes that can make all the difference, and it is a skill that is easily learned!

Bad experiences are not events to be feared, in fact a bad experience provides your venue with the opportunity to demonstrate how valuable that customer is to you. While most venues have some sort of customer service procedure in place, perceived poor customer service, particularly in gaming rooms, is still common in the industry. It can stem from limited training, outdated service strategies, or a lack of personnel equipped to handle the situation.

How to implement a service recovery strategy

Sometimes it’s about what you didn’t do, rather than what you did. Our natural reactions as humans is to be defensive and protect our ego. If a customer presents us with a problem, our first reaction is to assume they’re confused or didn’t follow the process. It’s likely at this point we might argue the point of why this happened, followed by an attempt to pacify them with a free something or other, and then kicks in our propensity to avoid uncomfortable situations, so we just avoid them.

Almost every industry, no matter how well trained their employees are, or how technical their systems are, have times when something goes wrong. It is at these times when you can take a negative experience and turn it into a great experience by implementing a service recovery strategy:

  • Train your staff to understand what to do in difficult circumstances, how to read situations, assess body language and negotiate conflicts effectively.
  • Develop a system and empower your staff to deliver this on the front line.
  • Build a toolkit of value that can be offered to unhappy customers.
  • Measure and reward your team for positive service recovery outcomes.

Empowering your employees to respond effectively during a service breakdown allows disillusioned customers to be transformed into loyal ones and better yet, noisy promoters of your brand. Your customers are the revenue engine to your business and by embracing their problems (founded or not) your venue will continue to succeed and grow through their trust and loyalty.

If you are interested in developing your own service recovery strategy or upskilling your team to handle the tricky service situations in your venue, contact Danny Nixon-Smith on danny.ns@dws.net.au or (07) 3878 9355.

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