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It’s just the process, idiot!

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So often in today’s automated, multimedia, digital world, the customer becomes a second thought. How many times have you visited a website looking for an answer you’ve been directed to the “FAQs” only to find the question you want answered isn’t listed? I had this experience the other day, so I went to the “Live Chat” on their website, but it was obvious that I was talking to an AI-generated “ChatBot”, which didn’t understand my question, let alone answer it!

This experience made me think that maybe it’s time to find somewhere else to purchase the product as I’m obviously a lower priority than their business processes…

I find it somewhat disturbing that many hospitality establishments are falling into the same trap; forgetting that we are a customer centric business where personal contact and service is worth gold in a competitive environment, and people are loyal to the venue that made them feel welcome and appreciated.

The trick is to use modern technology to assist our personal contact, not replace it. Too often technology is seen as something to help us avoid the difficult stuff. But this is where businesses have an opportunity to shine with a point of difference using personal contact to resolve a difficult or confusing situation for a customer.
You only need to read Google Reviews to understand the depth of frustration in the marketplace.

What a unique opportunity this creates for hospitality businesses that want to genuinely connect people with their customers.

I was talking recently with the Manager of one of our largest Clubs in Queensland about this issue, and he made the comment that he personally responds to all customer feedback the Club receives. This Club Manager sets aside an hour every morning to ring, text or email customers personally, and the response he gets is amazing! His customers are surprised but very appreciative. Additionally, he learns a lot about his staff and issues that are happening in the Club.

What a fantastic way to really understand what’s happening in your business and build loyal customers.

We also see another example of product over benefit when businesses get excited and promote new products or services without giving serious consideration to the customer benefits, which are important if you want to motivate people to act. Cosmetic companies are experts at telling their market how their products will make people look sexy, rather than just tell you about the details of the product.

We need to increase our focus in hospitality on what benefits customers will experience from our products and services and what are the hospitality pleasure buttons.

Process over service has been one of my pet hates for over fifty years in the hospitality industry. I regularly see that the process is King, the customer is secondary, and common sense and personal initiative is not allowed…we are training zombies!

It looks like we are facing a significant downturn in the Australian economy in the next couple of years with aggressive competition from a new casino – people are dismissing the impact of this at their peril.
This all means we need to be on the front foot when looking after customers and make service King over process.

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