Restaurant, hotel and pub operators are being encouraged to monitor their staff’s delivery of customer service after a survey found that almost half have no system in place to do so.
Despite 28 per cent of diners stating that good customer service received in a restaurant, hotel or pub was the main reason for recommending it to others, only 54 per cent of restaurant operators responding to a survey by The Mystery Dining Company (TMDC) said they had ways of evaluating their own service levels.
“Staff behaviour benchmarks are important as they can have a significant impact on word-of-mouth recommendations, which in turn has obvious implications for trade levels,” said TMDC director Steve Pike.
The quarterly benchmark survey looked at customer service standards at 725 restaurants, hotels and pubs between October and December last year. TMDC will publish the results of its next survey in May after speaking to 1,000 outlets.
Value for money
In research undertaken by TMDC with the National Skills Academy for Hospitality, the main reason for a customer returning to an outlet was actually value for money (31 per cent) while the pace of service and interest in the customer both received the third highest score of 9 per cent.
David McHattie, chief executive of the National Skills Academy for Hospitality urged operators to focus on improving customer service and value for money to help them stay in business this year.
He said: “The 2009 recession-borne staycation has provided a valuable opportunity for hotels, restaurants and pubs to demonstrate they can deliver excellent customer service. But there can be no resting on laurels, especially as disposable income in 2010 may well need to be re-named ‘discerningly spent income’.
“Businesses that will prosper in 2010 will be those which excel in customer service and deliver perceived value, exceeding the expectations of even the most discerning guests.”