Customer service... you got this, right?
It may seem obvious, but being good at customer service doesn't come easy for all. It is an art form. Sadly, it can only be taught in part; mostly, you have to embody certain characteristics. That 'Hospitality Smile' ain't fooling anyone. You have to actually like people, care about them and their lives.
Empathy. Yeah, you need that too.
Do you tend to remember the good or the bad service more? One can elevate your dining out experience to new levels, the other can destroy a business's reputation, alongside ruining an evening out you were so looking forward to.
I have lost count of the times I have heard from colleagues how much they hate people...? Um, ok? You understand what this job is right? Ah, ok, no, I guess you failed to grasp what the word 'hospitality' means. That's ok, let me break it down for you.
The Dictionary definition:
'the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.'
Maybe this isn't the place for you.
Yes, we all have stress-filled days, and yes, some customers are rude and obnoxious, but your number one job when working in our industry is to provide a positive experience for others. That means being kind, open, caring and interested.
The bits you teach are things like service styles, attention to detail, product knowledge, table and bar management, workflow etc.
Sadly, you cannot teach empathy, kindness, friendliness, a love of meeting new people, a desire to go above and beyond to make someone else's day better.
When hiring staff, at whatever stage, it is important to remember the things you can and cannot teach. Choosing the right personality is far more important than hiring based on skills or experience alone. As leaders, it is our duty to teach those hard skills to bring out the best in our employees. Choosing what style of service fits your organisation and making it repeatable and consistent. Teach your staff all areas of your business so they can confidently provide the right information to customers, regardless of their position. Provide regular trainings and encourage and support learning.
Reputation takes years to build, and can be ruined in an instant. Your staff reflect your business and your leadership style. Make sure it's a good one.