Belgravia Leisure venues are committed to providing exceptional customer service. We’re reminded of this every day with the ‘C’ in our CLEAR values referring to being ‘customer focused’ and ‘E’ referring to ‘Excellence in our service delivery’.
Our team members are on the frontline communicating with customers on a daily basis, and it’s not always easy to provide a perfect experience every time. Our venue teams have interacted with their fair share of customers who, despite their best efforts, have remained unhappy with the level of service provided.
In this article, we speak with Alex Simmons, State Guest Experience Manager at Belgravia Leisure, about why customer feedback is so important, and how we can best utilise positive and negative feedback to improve our customer service at venues.
- Why do you think customer feedback is important?
It’s imperative that we know what our customers are thinking and feeling. It’s the best way to make business improvements and foster positive relationships with the community.
Customer Feedback is the gateway into the customer’s perception. By viewing our businesses through the feedback we receive we can make real change! Handling negative feedback early and effectively can turn a potentially challenging situation into an opportunity. On the other hand, positive feedback tells us what to do more of! It is also a catalyst for celebration and reward for our teams!
Feedback can also be a valuable marketing tool. Use positive feedback to promote what our members and guests are saying. Share testimonials, comments, scores and ratings. This type of local content is raw, real and effective!
- What are some ways that a venue can improve on their guest experience?
Guest Experience starts with the Centre Manager. The best way to improve the guest experience in a centre is for the manager to lead from the front. This is best achieved through presence. Talk about guest experience personally whilst “Managing by Walking Around” (MBWA). This shows our teams that we take it seriously. A manager should have conversations with staff about guest experience, share examples, hold training sessions, provide real time feedback and praise excellent guest experience when noticed.
Like anything, to get really good at it you have to put in the training.
The sites with the best guest experience by no coincidence usually have the best financial results. They use the resources and specialists available, record team training, make it consistent and a non-negotiable.
Belgravia Leisure has lots of awesome resources from the guest charter, inductions, workshops, presentations, recorded live streams and cheat sheets to name a few. We are also super excited to soon launch our new suite of Guest Experience Training Resources that will take what we do to a whole other level!!!
Customer Experience must also be tangible. Use the tools available. Share the Net Promoter Scores and provide commentary, use the Mystery Shopper Results as training tools and share the success when it comes! Turn this data into actionable outcomes.
- Apart from customer surveys, what are some other ways that our venues can get feedback from customers?
Venues can hold member forums. This is a great way to not only get feedback in a positive setting but also build meaningful relationships with our communities. Feedback doesn’t always have to be negative. This will more likely come out in member forums.
Initiate feedback whilst MBWA. The best managers spend time amongst their members and guests. Ask how we are going, what they enjoy and what we can do better. This will elicit really valuable feedback as its not initiated by a negative experience or emotion but through care and interest.
- How can we ensure that our customers feel like their feedback has been heard and will be acted on (within reason)?
It depends on the forum and channel it is communicated through but generally the first thing I always do is take the emotion out of it. Don’t get defensive but listen. After all, to hear a person, one must first listen. If you receive a particular piece of feedback that is hard to hear, take some time before responding or acting. Always thank a person for their feedback!
Don’t feel compelled to find the solution or outcome on the spot but make sure to always follow up. It’s important to empathise and relay what they have said and what they are seeking to make sure you are on the same page. Once you have all the information and background you will be in a much better to position to act. Once you have acted, communicate back to them.
I find with feedback its often better to meet in person. Or take a phone call in a quiet place without distraction or background noise. A person will always feel more listened to in person or on a phone call than over email.
- Is there anything you would like to add about delivering an exceptional guest experience?
Make it part of everything you do in your venues. Make it part of your language, your meeting agendas, your reward and recognition systems and most of all put in the training. Use the resources available and for our leaders – Learn it, Lead it, Live it!