A career in the hospitality industry is rewarding, not to mention varied. But when it comes to a hospitality career, there are numerous skills you’ll need, with perhaps the most important being customer service skills.
Whether you aspire to work in resort management, join one of the top hotel brands or embark on a career in hotel management, enhancing your customer service skills can help you secure a hospitality career. But what are good customer service skills? And how can you develop them?
In this guide, we share everything you need to know.
Understanding customer service skills
Whether answering inquiries over the telephone or greeting guests in person, customer service skills are defined as those employed when communicating with consumers or clients.
Encompassing a variety of core capabilities essential for anyone working in customer-facing roles, customer service skills include communication, active listening and interpersonal skills that all contribute to increased customer satisfaction and positive customer relationships.
Excellence in customer skills is also linked to increased customer loyalty, higher revenue and referrals. When customers are satisfied with how an organization or brand treats them, they’re more likely to leave positive reviews and return, which can support customer acquisition and retention.
Key customer service skills
When thinking about good customer service skills, it’s important to note there are many essential skills for customer service. Below, we share a few key techniques and capabilities the hospitality sector values.
Whether you’re conversing in person or via email, your ability to demonstrate communication skills such as active listening and empathy can have a significant influence on how customers feel, not to mention their experience with you.
When working in hospitality, it’s important to remember people are different. So the communication style you use with one customer might not be appropriate to use with another. By demonstrating excellent listening skills and evaluating circumstances and body language where possible, you’ll be able to personalize the responses you provide to meet a customer’s needs.
How can effective communication contribute to good customer service?
Effective communication is a type of soft skill that contributes to good customer service in many ways. For example, when a customer is unhappy, listening attentively and showing you empathize with them can help them feel heard. Listening also enables you to provide solutions that can increase satisfaction.
When working in a customer-facing role, there will be times when a customer approaches you with a problem or challenge. Here, skills such as critical thinking, decision-making, and creativity are all important.
Combined with having a positive attitude, these skills will support you in offering a solution to your customer as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Why is problem-solving an essential customer service skill?
Problem-solving is an essential customer service skill because your ability to provide a solution and resolve issues customer experiences can enhance or hinder their enjoyment of your establishment.
For example, if a customer approaches you with a complaint about another guest or a problem they’ve experienced with their room, they’ll turn to you for a solution.
The quicker you’re able to offer a solution, the more likely they are to be satisfied with the service you provide.
Product knowledge and expertise
Another key customer service skill is product knowledge and expertise. When you work for a hotel, restaurant or resort, product knowledge and expertise enable you to answer customer queries and provide up-to-date information when requested, which can contribute to customer satisfaction.
In the hospitality industry, trends that impact the products and services available are continuously changing. So enhancing your product knowledge and expertise with regular training and development will contribute to your professionalism and customer service skills.
How can product knowledge and expertise enhance customer service?
Product knowledge and expertise enhance customer service in many ways. Firstly, when you’re able to provide accurate information on the products and services your organization offers, customers will have greater trust in you.
Product knowledge and expertise also influence how confident a customer feels in their decision-making journey, how likely they are to recommend your hotel, for example, and how well you’re able to communicate with them.
Patience and resilience
In customer-facing roles, there are times when you’ll need to demonstrate patience and resilience. In fact, these customer service soft skills are essential.
For example, if you’re faced with a challenging situation involving a customer who appears to be unhappy, approaching the situation with patience can support you in resolving the situation.
Likewise, there may be times when you’re faced with a stressful situation. By developing your resilience, you’ll find it easier to learn and understand how to manage similar situations in the future.
What are the benefits of patience and resilience in a customer service role?
There are several benefits of patience and resilience in customer service. Demonstrating patience can improve relationships with customer groups and support other skills, such as effective communication, active listening and empathy.
When it comes to resilience, benefits include being able to overcome setbacks quickly to support others.
Time management and efficiency
Another factor to consider when pondering what are good customer service skills is time management. Time management essentially means you’re able to allocate your time well and complete tasks within a certain period.
This particular skill also demonstrates you’re highly organized and able to prioritize particular tasks and needs.
In the hospitality industry, time management and efficiency skills will support you in communicating with customers, answering inquiries and managing issues such as complaints as swiftly as possible, even in busy and high-stress periods.
Developing and improving customer service skills
If you’ve recently graduated high school, you may wonder how you can develop and improve your customer service skills. Fortunately, you’ll have many opportunities to do so throughout your career with training, education and professional development.
Training and professional development
Many organizations provide training and professional development. By completing courses and training days and attending seminars and workshops, you’ll have the opportunity to review your current customer service skills and improve them.
Throughout your career, professional development may provide chances to work with a mentor, leader or manager who can offer feedback and guidance on what you’re doing well and areas in which your skills could be enriched.
If you’re yet to embark on your hospitality career, completing a hotel management degree, a degree in hospitality management or a diploma in hospitality management will also help you develop customer service skills.
Boost your customer service skills with our hospitality management degree enriched with practical hospitality internships.
Continue your training and professional development with our fast-track postgraduate diploma that combines practical and academic learning.
Customer feedback and surveys
While training and professional development are beneficial, listening to customer feedback, whether obtained through surveys or reviews, can also offer insight into your customer service skills.
Reviewing feedback can support you in ascertaining what customers believe you are already doing well and where there is room for improvement. With this knowledge, you can establish how to enhance customer service and any changes that need to be implemented to improve a customer’s experience.
Role of company culture
It’s important to note developing and improving customer service skills should be part of a company-wide approach. When a company values and prioritizes a customer-centric culture, each team member will work in harmony to provide excellent customer service.
When leaders and managers prioritize customer service skills, demonstrate the benefits of them and reward employees who do the same, the whole organization can feel motivated, which can have a positive impact on customer experience.
Examples of good customer service skills in action
Are you still wondering what are good customer service skills? If so, here are a few real-life examples.
- Virgin Atlantic. Like many other airlines, Virgin Atlantic prides itself on its customer service. In situations where customers may experience delays, for example, their customer service team communicates to provide regular updates and solutions to ensure customers are able to continue their journey as swiftly as possible.
- Marriott. According to Travel Weekly, Marriott is among the top organizations in the hospitality sector when it comes to customer service. Not only does Marriott’s customer care team operate around the clock, they also provide several ways for guests to get in touch with them regarding any issues, reservations or queries they may have.
What are some examples of good customer service skills?
Wondering what some examples of good customer service skills are? Here’s a list of them:
- Communication and listening
- Emotional intelligence
- Product knowledge
- Time management
- Conflict resolution
- Interpersonal skills
- Event management
- Attention to detail
- Industry insight
As well as the above, language skills could benefit your career. If you’re able to communicate with a customer in their language, you’ll better be able to support them.
Key career paths that focus on good customer service skills
Customer service skills are essential in a number of career paths. In the hospitality industry, these include:
- Guest relations manager
- Front office manager
- Accommodation manager
- Food and beverage manager
- Banquet manager
- Concierge manager
- Event planning manager
- Hotel revenue manager
- Operations manager
- Housekeeping manager
- Restaurant manager
- Spa manager
- Tour manager
From improving customer retention to increasing revenue, good customer service skills play a vital role in the success of any hospitality business.
If you’re passionate about a career in the hospitality industry, ensuring you have the skills needed for customer service through professional training, hospitality internships and a hospitality degree will support you in securing a life-long career.
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