It’s 3am and the bar is four people deep. Drunks both happy and sad are screaming at you for service while you try to remember the constantly changing order you are taking from a tipsy and sometimes aggressive patron who can’t remember whether his mate wanted a double or a single. A fight starts kicking off at the other end of the bar, so you scream for the security team while not missing a beat and pouring three different spirits into four different glasses each with a separate but equally fussy garnish to manage.
Nothing will prepare you for a customer success role like working in hospitality.
I worked in various hospitality roles from my late teens up until my first office based role at the age of 27. When positive customer service is so baked into the success or failure of your business, you have no choice but to learn how to build strong relationships quickly, how to triage jobs in real time, and how to keep a smile on your face through the strangest and most emotionally demanding experiences of your life.
“Keep those customers happy or they won’t come back and you won’t have a job for them to come back to”
In plenty of articles I read about the ‘FinTech trends of 2023’, thought leaders indicated that the role of customer success within a business was moving away from a trendy buzz word and truly becoming a mission for businesses who keep the customer at the core of everything they do. Well for me, it’s always been a mission. The mission. Keep those customers happy or they won’t come back and you won’t have a job for them to come back to.
“Happy repeat customers can quickly turn into new business and result in a whole bunch of new customers to make happy!”
Whether your business considers themselves customer success led or not, if you are a customer success representative it’s important to take pride in the things you do and celebrate the small victories that show you are making your difference. One particular point of pride for me was when one of our Tier 1 banking clients gave a great quote in a recent press release for a new product feature. The quote wasn’t about customer success directly, but it showed that they were having a really positive experience on the platform. It led to a big influx of inbound calls from businesses who were interested about the platform, and really shows how customer success can be a self-fulfilling cycle – happy repeat customers can quickly turn into new business and result in a whole bunch of new customers to make happy!
So here are my three fundamentals to customer service that apply whether working for a dingy pub on a high street or a billion-dollar company.
- Stay proactive – the job doesn’t stop because there is no one waiting for service. Do your customers need anything they either aren’t telling you or you don’t know about? The only way to find out is by reaching out yourself.
- It’s about the customer, not you – your metrics are for your management, and you shouldn’t be making decisions based on upselling KPIs or growth for the sake of growth. All this results in is a bunch of unhappy customers who have purchased things from you they don’t need. Instead, be led by a genuine wish to solve their specific problems and you’ll end up with customers who are loyal and will sell for you via referrals!
- Lean on analytics – this might seem more suited for B2B, but the best hospitality jobs I have had have all used the metrics that made sense to them. How long did that table take you to clean? What was your upselling percentage for this month? What is the feedback you’ve had recently? While one metric will never give you a complete picture of your performance, use several data points together to build a holistic picture of where you need support and where you are thriving.
Take pride in what you do and know that for your customers, the smile on your face is the emblem of all the work you and your team put in every day.
And lastly – enjoy it! The efforts of sales, marketing, operations, and technology come to nothing without someone to make sure the clients are being looked after properly. Take pride in what you do and know that for your customers, the smile on your face is the emblem of all the work you and your team put in every day.