This chapter has explored the importance of customer service and its relationship with hospitality and tourism, particularly in the industry in BC. Using the SERVQUAL technique to describe characteristics of exceptional customer service and its benefits explain how the quality of customer service differentiates a business. Communication strategies in any situation has been reviewed with the service recovery, and proactively through Total Quality (TQ), the Moment of Truth process as well as how to retain and attract new customers through the analysis of customer lifetime value (CLV) and Net Promoter scores (from the SuperHost “Foundations of Service Quality”).
BC tourism and hospitality employers named customer service as the most beneficial training topic in a number of surveys. These skills are integral to customer satisfaction, employee engagement, organizational performance, and a destination’s competitive position (Freeman, 2011; Tourism Vancouver Island, 2010).
Employers can either commit to creating a learning organization or undermine their business depending on their investment (or lack thereof) in training. Essentially, employers get out of training what they put into it, often by attracting and retaining better, more motivated employees. Ultimately, this investment results in a better customer experience with improved levels of customer loyalty and organizational profitability. Prudent employees seek employers who value investment in training.
We know there are a variety of ways to ensure quality of service and recover when things go wrong. A key factor of success is understanding that customers want to be listened to — they would like an apology, a solution, at times compensation, and often follow-up and reassurance. And when a complaint is expertly handled, the customer can be converted from a potential social media detractor to a loyal advocate for the business.
Technology is working at a furious pace, and BC’s tourism and hospitality industry has worked to keep up with the latest opportunities. As a leader in customer service and a well-established international destination, now more than ever, BC’s tourism industry will pivot to ensure its continued success.