Over the festive period, I was lucky enough to visit some great pubs, for work and pleasure. However, there is no such thing as completely taking off the professional hat – even on a mates’ night out.
So, I am sorry to report that I also visited some not so great pubs.
And every time there was a common thread – the staff. The great pubs were packed, with not a spare seat in the house, while the pub next door was half empty.
This is not a new phenomenon, but one that I wanted to focus on with the increasing demands of today’s consumer.
They want better service, whether that be public transport, grocery shopping or a trip out to eat and drink. They are demanding more for their money, and with increasing competition, those that don’t listen will fail to grow their business.
What consumers are doing is telling people, through the various social media streams, what they think of their experiences, and those pubs that give great service benefit from this independent endorsement.
We have a saying at Punch that outstanding customer service comes from ‘heartfelt hospitality’. A pub where I recently experienced the very best heartfelt hospitality was the Victoria Inn, Salcombe, Devon, a St Austell tenanted pub.
This is a pub we would all like as our local; it was buzzing every day we were in the town and what stood out were the staff. Nothing too much trouble, no complaints, just the sound of people having fun.
Publicans Tim and Liz have done a fantastic job with their team and it’s no surprise they have won several awards.
I am sure many of you reading this also give heartfelt hospitality to your customers, but how do you make sure the first-class service you give is better than last year, so you continue to surpass the consumer’s demand for great service?
What do you think you need to do so that you deliver customer service that blows your customers away and they talk about it to their friends?
How can you empower your staff to give heartfelt hospitality to everyone that visits your pub?
■ Think about the small changes you can make so that every customer experiences such hospitality in your pub – it could be as simple as a smile and making eye contact
■ Most pubcos offer customer service training (often for free) for your staff – take advantage of this
■ Talk to your staff about new plans and make sure they understand the part they play
■ Think about how you are going to measure customer service and celebrate successes
■ Make a plan and action it!