Customer service skills are essential for almost any hospitality job, whether you work in a hotel or resort, restaurant or bar, on a cruise ship or for an airline. While many successful professionals in the industry are naturally gifted in this area, even those who are not can become proficient experts over time. We have compiled a list of the most common skills one should be equipped with being in the customer service and hospitality industry:
1.0 Excellent Communication Skills
When you are communicating with a guest, keep it simple and to the point. There should be no doubt what is expected and what will be received so there can be no misunderstanding. Be specific and communicate clearly with your guests.
2. Patience is Virtue
Everyone says this – and with good reason. It is critically important to take the time to fully understand what the customer is telling you and how best to solve a problem. Make sure you understand what they truly want so you can give them the solution that best serves their needs.
3. Practice actively listening in every conversation
When you actively listen to your customers, they feel like they are being heard. This is an important component of customer service whether you are dealing with an irate hotel guest or a satisfied restaurant patron, and it is quite easy to practice. Start by mentally screening out any distractions, such as background noise or worrying about the line of customers forming behind this one. Keep an open mind as you face the customer or guest, maintain eye contact, and focus on what he or she is saying.
While you should never interrupt, you can take advantage of pauses to ask questions to clarify your customer’s feelings and expectations. Once you feel you understand the situation fully, paraphrase your customer’s concerns to confirm this and empathize with his or her experience. You can finish the conversation by summarizing the issues and solutions to ensure you’re both on the same page.
4. Be positive and persuasive
Positive language plays a big role in how your customers perceive your message. When you avoid negative phrases, even ‘bad’ news can come across as positive and constructive. For example, if you are dealing with a demanding customer, don’t make your conversation about what you can’t do but instead what you can do to satisfy them. Speaking persuasively can also enhance your customer service skills.
You can practice persuading your customers to your way of thinking by always using their name, leading with active words, and avoiding statements that start with your own personal thoughts or beliefs. Keeping the conversational focus on your customer will persuade them that they are respected and appreciated.
It’s not only important to hear and understand what your customer is saying, it is also vital to recognize how he/she is feeling. Put yourself in their place and think about how you would feel in that situation and how you would want to be treated.