According to the first part of the research report by Customer Service Benchmarking Ltd, only 13 per cent of the 3,000 hospitality businesses surveyed in the UK in the last six months had customer service levels high enough to warrant recommendations.
David McHattie, chief executive of Customer Service Benchmarking, said with the arrival of the Olympics in London this summer, the industry had a major opportunity to prove itself this year and beyond so shouldn’t underestimate the power of recommendations.
“We know that focussing on existing guests and the things that matter makes a demonstrable difference to guests’ willingness to recommend.
“The hospitality industry is in the business of experiences and personality is key - the most cost effective marketing is to convert your guests into a sales team who will share recommendations on social media."
The survey, carried out every six months, found that the average benchmark for customer service, which businesses can use to compare themselves to the market, is currently set at 75 per cent.
The benchmark is based on the average scores given to businesses in areas such staff warmth, personality, skills, training, knowledge, value for money as well as willingness to recommend. Scores this time ranged from 18 to 100 and on average were lower than they were six months ago.
McHattie said: “While this ‘average’ may appear good, it is below the target (90 per cent) required to gain guest recommendation and advocacy.
“In a competitive market 75 per cent is simply average and in the face of operators delivering 90 per cent plus it means the majority are being squeezed by these better purveyors of hospitality and ambivalent guests seeking more bang for their buck resulting in declining volumes and frequency of visits.”
Inspectors make visits to a range of hospitality businesses, from B&Bs to 5-star hotels, community pubs to gastropubs and casual-dining to fine-dining restaurants to carry out assessments on customer service for the benchmarking survey with a new benchmark set every six months.
First launched by The National Skills Academy Hospitality. before being purchased by the then chief executive, David McHattie, Customer Service Benchmarking provides clients with mystery guests, insight and intelligent consultancy to support them to develop better customer service.