Raise your game

We recently met a tourist in Los Cristianos who had been looking forward to her holiday for months. But she was not enjoying the hotel she was staying at, nor the shops and restaurants in the local area.

She was here with her husband and children, and wanted to be able to relax and enjoy herself. But it was difficult for her as she felt everywhere she went she was meeting people who had a lot to learn about customer service.

The staff in the hotel didn’t seem friendly, the service in the restaurant in the morning was slow and unfriendly, and the food quality was low, albeit “acceptable”.

This, by the way, is not intended to be a horror story, but a tale of “can’t really be bothered” to provide a proper service.

The lady said “It’s not that it’s so bad, it’s that I’ve had so much better in other resorts for the same or less money.”

And there you have it.

This lady told us that she will go back to Turkey rather than coming back to Tenerife next time. Just because the service is lack lustre. Just because people don’t serve with a smile on their face. Just because people aren’t service minded here. Just because the food quality is better in other resorts.

It all adds up.

There are lots of up-and-coming resorts springing up everywhere, and they know they have to raise their game to be able to attract new visitors and make them want to come back.

And they have succeeded with this lady and her family.

This lady has been to Tenerife a number of times before, but loved her time in Turkey even more. And when they came back to Tenerife this time, it just confirmed in her mind that Turkey was the better choice.

For her, it is an option that is cheaper or costs the same, with better service, with more smiley people, with better facilities and a resort who really wants their business.

So what can you do to raise your game?

We all need to pull together to make sure that tourists want to come here, time and time again. And now that times are harder, it is even more important to make a real effort whether or not you are in a tourist sector or you service the local population.

But where do you start?

Well, first of all you need to start looking at your own business with critical eyes. This means you must ignore your own feelings about your business, and start understanding how your customers feel about it instead.

We all like to think we do a brilliant job. We all like to think that we’re the best in the industry. We all like to think that our customers are like us, and they want what we want to offer.

But the truth is harder to take.

The truth is that your customers knows best, not you. The truth is that only your customers can tell you whether you are doing a good job or not.

Therefore you need to ask your customers rather than relying on your own opinions or beliefs.

And you need to take the hard truth at face value. One of our clients (before we came along to help) used to throw away all negative comment cards, always excusing them with “we didn’t have what they wanted on the menu so that’s why they left the negative comment” or “They were all drunk” or something similar.

The truth was, the customers were telling the owner what he didn’t want to hear: that his service was poor and he didn’t deliver what they wanted.

What questions do you ask? How many questions do you ask?

We do offer a workshop to help business owners find the right questions, and often the right answers on how to improve the business and start making more money. This week we’re offering a FREE workshop to a lucky winner; just go to www.emtenerife.com to register for a FREE draw!

What would be most useful for you to know? To me, repeat business is one of the most important things. You should always advertise to get more customers, but remember that repeat customers are free!

So why not ask the simple question: “What would make you come back another time?” or even “Would you come back another time?” If the answer to that last question is “No!” then you know you have a problem!

The trick with comment cards is to make them quick and easy to fill in, but get useful information out of the answers. You could for instance have a question such as: “How much did you like your food today?” and offer three checkboxes: “very much”, “it was okay”, “not at all”. You obviously want everyone to tick the “very much” box; if they don’t then you need to look at your food quality.

If you are a retail business, listen to your customers! Are they asking for something you don’t supply? Then maybe it’s time to stock it! How do they feel about your business? Do they like your collection? Could they find what they were looking for? Why not do a little survey when they leave the shop?

And if you’re in a service business then asking your customers for their opinion is a great way to build customer loyalty and get some fresh ideas in the business.

For instance, when I get my hair cut I do NOT want to speak about my family or holiday or what I did last weekend or anything. I want to use that time to think about things that are important to me. Yet not a single hairdresser has ever asked me what I prefer. Nor has anybody ever asked my opinion.

So if a hairdresser gave me a comment card I would say on it: “Please ask me if I want to chat or sit in silence when you start doing my hair.”

By the way, I now go to a decent barber in Los Cristianos who hums quietly to himself and does not ask me a single question apart from: “How would you like your hair today?”

I voted with my feet. So will your customers. Pay attention to them, and raise your game.

If you want more profits and customers, clients or patients, visit www.emtenerife.com. Why? Because we can help you grow your business quickly and affordably!

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