But that’s no reason to despair: it’s a reason to up-the-ante. What remains a crucial tool in the pub landlord’s armoury, is the ability to provide a distinct service and a greater – more personable – standard of customer service.
Great pub customer service can be the difference between surviving and faltering, or prospering and failing.
It’s the crucial element which makes the difference between cultivating return customers – or being left with one-stop wonders.
The easiest, and possibly the most-affordable, way of building customer loyalty, is by satisfying the customer’s needs.
However, there is a step beyond, and that is the kind of customer service which gives you an edge over your competitors and brings in new customers.
5 tips for ensuring excellent pub customer service:
1. Measure yourself against rivals… And better them!
Think about the competitors’ customer service and compare it with the customer service that you provide.
For instance, what can you provide or offer your customers that would be better than your competition? Think of your customers as individuals. Once you think that way, you will realise that your business is your customer.
2. Forget pride… And keep your custom!
Give your customers the benefit of doubt. Proving to the customers why they’re wrong and you are right is not worth losing a customer over.
You’ll never win arguments with customers and you should never put your customers in such a position. Even if they are wrong!
3. Keep learning… And stay ahead of the competition!
Stay proactive and keep gathering various customer service ideas. Always listen to the customers and find out what kind of things they want. You may do this formally, or informally, by simply asking the customers for their own customer service ideas whenever they are in your pub.
4. Take special requests… And give them special treatment!
If your customers make requests for something special, you should try to do everything possible to say yes.
The fact that the customer cared enough to ask is all you need to know about how important it is. It might be an exception from the customer service policy, however (if it is not illegal) you should try and do it.
Keep in mind that you’re just making one exception for one customer, you are not making a whole new policy
5. Lead your staff… And inspire them to the highest customer service!
The best way to lead, is by setting an example. How do you want your front-of-house team to act around customers? You want them to be easy-going, friendly, non-judgemental, and attentive.
So, you have to be the same way. A great pub landlord or landlady doesn’t swan around telling people to “do as I say, not as I do.” They set the example by word AND by action.
There are a couple of useful resources you ought to check out:
Further reasons why your pub’s customer service really matters
Public houses cannot survive long term bad press. Customers are much more likely to share bad experiences with other people or friends than good experiences.
Satisfied customers who’ve had their issues solved and needs catered for, tell between four-to-six people about their good experience. Meanwhile, dissatisfied customers can tell between nine to 15 people about their bad experiences, according to research.
Providing top notch customer service is one of a few ways pubs can compete with the larger competitors. “Buyer’s experience” is the area where pub owners have an advantage over their larger counterparts. This is mainly because they can actually get in touch with the customers and make personal connections.
Neither you, nor your staff are stifled by a large corporate structure.
Ensure that you and your staff make the most of that freedom!