Businesses in the hospitality industry have scored an average of seven out of 10 for customer service in a mystery shopper survey by the National Skills Academy for Hospitality.
The research was carried out ahead of the anticipated boom in domestic travel this summer and entailed mystery shoppers visiting 350 outlets in the hospitality sector across the UK, assessing factors such as value for money, staff friendliness, staff product knowledge and evident training.
Findings were encouraging overall, with businesses scoring an average of 72 per cent across England’s nine regions, four businesses scoring 100 per cent and 49 businesses (14 per cent of those surveyed) scoring a minimum of 90 per cent.
The East Midlands was the highest scoring region, revealing an average score of 78 per cent, while restaurants offering table service with a host proved the highest scorers on customer service, scoring 80 per cent overall.
However, the results showed that there was a need for the industry to improve its `softer skills’, such as putting the customer at ease, being genuinely interested in their experience and caring for customers during their visit.
David McHattie, chief executive of the academy said: “Customer service at its best in Britain is on par, if not better than, anywhere else in the world. The results of the mystery shopper survey prove this.
"One in seven outlets scored over 90 per cent for customer satisfaction, which is brilliant and a benchmark that we believe all hospitality employers should aspire to in the run up to the 2012 Olympics when Britain serves the world. What should not be forgotten here is the importance of that smile as the first impression. It costs nothing, but means everything to the customer.”
More of the survey`s findings are expected to be unveiled later today at the British Hospitality Association`s annual luncheon.
The results come a month after the launch of the Academy`s Smiles of Britain campaign to promote customer service in the UK. The companies who topped their region in the survey will be visited by the academy as part of a regional tour to celebrate excellence in the industry.
Hospitality industry urged to smile for campaign