Carol Verret Consulting
Why Customer Service
Seminars Don't Work
Carol Verret / October 2000
|In my last article, Creating a Culture
of Customer Service, I explored the fact that poor and or inconsistent
levels of customer service are the most pressing issues facing the hospitality
industry and we are as an industry at a bit of a loss in addressing them.
I suspect that these issues will become even more pressing when the summer’s
customer service scores from the franchises are complete. A sense
of urgency will probably arise when corporate and property level managers,
whose bonuses are in part based upon them, realize the extent to which
their year-end compensation is effected. This is not to say that
they don’t already have a sincere interest in the satisfaction of their
guests but the concern is certainly intensified when it hits them in their
Beginning with Service America in 1990, Karl Albrecht and Ron Zemke postulated that for every customer who has an unresolved complaint or problem, 26 other people will hear about it first, second or third hand. That is unless they conduct customer service seminars as I do and talk to many people at a time, then hundreds of people will hear the story. Service America was closely followed by In Search of Excellence, Thriving on Chaos and other books on the subject by Tom Peters. Tom Peters said then and still is saying that if you are not serving the customer, you had better be serving someone who is.
The latest in customer service advice is provided by a thin book called “Fish” by Stephen Lundin. It is entertaining and refreshing and can be purchased with a video and facilitator’s guide for conducting customer service seminars to reinvigorate the customer service at your organization. The package even comes with a cute stuffed fish.
In between, there have been waves of popular and entertaining books on the subject, most can be purchased with video tapes and the authors are busy giving seminars on the subject.
Why then in the last sixteen years, with so much written and so many seminars on the subject, has industry in general and the hospitality industry in particular been unable to provide a consistently high level of customer service?
We can point to the low unemployment rate and the concomitant problems of recruiting and retaining employees. We can site the increased sophistication and expectations of the travelling public. The fact of the matter is that customer service seminars alone do not work – their benefit is transient and declines rapidly over a short period of time. What then are potential solutions?
How then do we transmit lasting training and customer service values to the customer service providers, those that are on the front lines and interfacing with our guests day in and day out? In my last article, I offered recommendations that generated a great deal of interest but not much specificity. In this article I would like to get very specific about the elements of a continuous customer service training and support system.
The Customer Service Training System
Without the comprehensive support and reinforcement system, customer service seminars don’t work in the long term. The comprehensive system works in so far as there is commitment on the part of senior management to providing superior levels of customer service as the best sales tool to retain clients. Customer service seminars that stand-alone are expensive in that they do not provide an investment for the long term without the above elements to perpetuate the intent.
As an industry, we provide support systems for managers, sales and front desk in the areas of revenue generation; a retained customer is a long-term revenue generator. How much are a repeat guest and the invaluable word of mouth recommendations that they provide worth?
Carol Verret and Associates Consulting and Training offers training and consulting services to the hospitality industry in the areas of sales and customer service. Carol’s latest training product is a comprehensive customer service system, ResultsWOW?. For a complete description of her services, log onto her web site at carolverret.com. For a complete description of their services, log onto the web site at http://www.carolverret.com/.
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|Also See:||Creating a Culture of Customer Service / Carol Verret Consulting and Training / Sept 2000|
|FAT, DUMB AND HAPPY – The Seasonal Boom and Bust Cycle / Carol Verret / August 2000|
|Surf's Up - Ride the Wave or Miss the Boat -The Effective Use of Technology in Hotel Sales / Carol Verret / July 2000|
|Measuring Effectiveness of Hotel Sales Departments / Carol Verret / June 2000|
|Hotel Sales Training - The Need for Immediate Results / Carol Verret/ May 2000|