Customer service has always been important, but todays customers have so much more freedom of choice than in previous decades. Customer service can be defined as the way in which an organisation handles the interactions between itself and its customers.
This assignmeent is focus to discuss the reason of customers’ service policies, evaluate different communication methods and source of information on customers’ requirements and satisfactions levels. In this assessment I will try to carry out the research on requirements and satisfactions levels that Ibis Hotels customers have.
A customer service policy is a written code of conduct for employees to utilise for serving customers. It could include how to respond to questions or deal with disgruntled customers who want refunds. A policy can be short or it can be detailed with more than a page. The policy may state what is expected when a certain situation occurs or appropriate steps to take action. Typically, managers determine the policy and include it within the employee handbook.
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A customer service procedure is a way of doing a routine practice. In customer service there is certain protocol that must be taken in order to remain competitive. Finding a better or faster way of doing something can be considered a customer service procedure. Managers are given the responsibility of completing job performance evaluations to see where weak links can be rectified. This leads to increased efficiency and better customer service.
The customer should be made comfortable, and they should be treated as if he/she is the most important guest in the hotel. A friendly and courteous approach will make the customer feel welcomed. As much at all times remaining polite is very important in the hospitality industry.
The existence of the hotel depends on the staff and the management and their approach to the needs and wants of the guest. As such, taking note and making sure that the guest is satisfied at all cost, will in return bring success and revenue to the hotel.
Customer focus: quality, commitment, responsive, approachable.
Quality is a measurement of our performance as experienced by our customers.
Consult with customers regarding key service using policies and service plans.
Use the feedback to improve services and to influence policy making
Our customer focus in Ibis Hotels is built around the following objectives:
We strive to understand client requirements
We always treat our clients and prospective customers courteously and we always respect their privacy, confidentiality and security requirement.
We use clearly established communication channels to ensure our customer are provided with a prompt response to all enquiries and support requests.
We monitor our customers’ views constantly strive to identify any concerns they may have and implement prompt remedial action, where appropriate.
Product and service knowledge in Ibis Hotels
Knowledge is power and for hospitality businesses, product knowledge can mean more sales. To be effective in sales, all staff needs to be knowledgeable about everything available in their facility.
Pertinent information would include the following: general property description, guestrooms, recreational facilities, outside services, transportation.
Discuss the purpose of evaluating a customer service policy, indicating how this can assist future staff training and development.
The purposes of evaluating customer service are: feedback accuracy, methods of data collection, relevance.
There’s no industry that demands customer service more than the hospitality industry- hotels, restaurants.
Producing quality customer service requires: care, communication, effort, feedback, knowledge, leadership, organisations, planning, skill, and lots of practice.
Maintaining customer service policies are priority to Ibis Hotels. Do not treat one guest different to the other. In case, there are issues have clear rules, where the guest is not sent from pillar to post to sort out issue. Intervene, take the matter upon yourself and resolve so that the customer is aware that no matter what, the hotel will find a solution.
Customer feedback is vital to making a business work to Ibis Hotels. Customer feedback can be an excellent way to keep your business going in a positive direction. Today, many providers are recognising the value of collecting feedback from social media and other online sites, as well as comments in their surveys.
Relevance, it is relevant to evaluate the customer services policies of any organisation to maintain the quality of their offer at time.
Methods of data collection Ibis Hotels gather to: report from staff, post-contact surveys, social media, and feedback. Online, phone and mail surveys are most frequently used for collecting customer feedback. Comment card and feedback forms are used in the Ibis Hotels to gather feedback from customer. Usually customers leave feedback online after a live experience. Observations are another good way to assess the quality of service.
Improving your customer service starts with staff. Improving customer service caters the clientele.
Staff training and development have an important key improving customer service.
Leadership training for the staff will pay off in many ways. Effective communication, development of a team culture, and conflict resolution are just a few of the many aspects of leadership training that can make a big difference in the business.
Key to customer service is getting all members of your organisation to embrace it through training and development, at individual and team level. Creating a culture of customers’ satisfaction starts with effective management and leadership and having clear measures for customer satisfaction in all aspects of the business.
Evaluate different communication methods and how these are used to best effect
Communication is the activity of conveying information through the exchange of thoughts, messages, or information, as by speech, visuals, signals, writing, or behaviour.
Communication requires a sender, message, and a recipient, although the receiver need not be present or aware of sender’s intent to communicate at the time of communication; thus communication can occur across vast distances in the time and space. The communication process is complete once the receiver has understood the message of the sender.
According to the Ibis Hotels verbal communication refers to the use of sounds and language to relay a message. It serves as a vehicle for expressing desires, ideas and concepts and is vital to the processes of learning and teaching. Effective verbal or spoken communication is dependent on a number of factors and cannot be fully isolated from other information interpersonal skills such as non-verbal communication, listening skills and clarification.
Clarity of speech, remaining calm and focused, being polite and etiquette will all aid the process of verbal communication. In many encounters, the first few minutes are extremely important as first impressions have a significant impact on the success of further communication. Active listening is a very important listening skill and yet, as communications, people tend to spend far more energy considering what they are going to say rather than listening to what to other person is trying to say. Although active listening is a skill in itself, it is also vital for verbal communication.
The following points are essential for effective and active listening:
Be prepared to listen
Keep an open mind and concentrate on the main direction of the speaker’s message.
Avoid distractions if at all possible.
Delay judgement until you have heard everything.
Do not be trying to think of your next question while the other person is giving information.
According to the Ibis Hotels nonverbal communication is usually understood as the process of communication through sending and receiving wordless (mostly visual) messages between people. Messages can be communicated through gestures and touch, by body language or posture, by facial expression and eye contact. Nonverbal messages could also be communicated through material exponential; meaning, objects or artefacts (such as clothing, hairstyles or architecture). Speech contains nonverbal elements known as paralanguage, including voice quality, rate, pitch, volume, and speaking style, as well prosodic features such as rhythm, information, and stress. However, much of the study of nonverbal communication has focused on face-to-face interaction, where it can be classified into three principal areas: environmental conditions where communication takes place, physical characteristics of the communicators, and behaviours of communicators during interaction.
Body language can show feeling to other people, which works in return for other people. People who show their body language to you can reveal their feelings and meanings. Mirroring the body language of someone else indicates that they are understood.
Types of nonverbal communication and body language
There are many different types of nonverbal communication.
Facial expressions: the human face is extremely expressive, able to express countless emotions without saying word.
Body movements and posture: the way you move and carry your-self communicates a wealth of information to the world.
Gestures: The meaning of gestures can be very different across cultures and regions, so it’s important to be careful to avoid misinterpretation.
Eye contact: Since the visual sense is dominant for most people, eye contact is an especially important type of nonverbal communication. The way you look at someone can communicate many things.
Written Communication involves expressing your-self clearly, using language with precision; constructing a logical argument; note taking, editing and summarising; and writing reports.
There are three main elements to written communication: structure, style, content.
Structure: a good structure will help you to express your-self more clearly. The following tactics may help you to structure your writing (clarify your thoughts and purpose, identify the key points, decide on a logical order, use short paragraphs and sentences, help key points to stand out).
Writing a style appropriate to the audience: check spelling and punctuation never use jargon.
Interviews: From initial job interviews to final exit, the question and answer dialog of an interview elicits information from respondent by interviewer. Both sides need to understand one another’s needs and agendas to facilitate interaction. The primary reason for an interview is to inform, is some cases a secondary motive would be to persuade, such as job applicant convincing a potential employer that the applicant is the right candidate to hire.
Negotiations can be the flip side of an interview, while the primary purpose is to purpose is to persuade the other party of one’s own position, the secondary sharing of information alters one’s point of view and the course of the discussion.
The mass communication has always worked strongly to fetch this effect to societies living a distance apart from each other.
Stimulation, or persuasion, is another effect caused on human beings by communication. It is commonly observed that an organized well thought after piece of communication causes a great deal of persuasion on matters of common interest.
Customer service refers to all aspects of interaction with a customer and speaks of the organisation’s image in the mind of a customer. On the other hand, a customer is an organisation’s most valuable advertising tool. You need to find flaws in the system that deals with your customers and then work towards getting rid of those flaws. Without great customer service, a business will not be able to survive or sustain. Keeping customers happy should be the foremost principle of your business after a solid product and marketing plan. You should work towards building a relationship with your customers because this relationship is the basis of future growth of your business. The success of business is dependent on the way you treat and interact with the customers.
In today’s market it is a requisite to provide exceptional service so the importance of a good customer service culture within the company must be highlighted and communicated on all levels.
”You cannot manage a quality service organisation unless you understand the nature of what you are providing, fully realise what your customers want from you and how they perceive you from the start” .(W. Martin; Managing Customer Service, Crisp, 1989)
Most customer needs can be divided into four basic categories:
The need to be understood
The need to feel welcome
The need the feel important
The need for comfort
By knowing who ours customers are, we are more able to meet their needs.
According to Ibis Hotels the different methods used to gain an understand customer expectations are:
Customer service questionnaire
Analysis of customer complaints
Analyse how customer service perception is influenced by customer service provision
Benefits of improved service are: customer satisfaction, repeat, business, improved reputation.
Customer satisfaction, a term frequently used in marketing, is a measure of how products and services supplied by a company meet or surpass customer expectation .Customer satisfaction is defined as ”the number of customers, or percentage of total customers, whose reported experience with a firm, its products, or its service exceeds specified satisfactions goals.” (According to Farris, Paul W.; Neil T. Bendle; Phillip E. Pfeifer, David J. Reibstein(2010)). Marketing Metrics: The definitive Guide to Measuring Marketing Performance
The first benefit of customer service is obtaining customer retention. Happy customers become repeat customers. A key indicator of quality customer service is customer loyalty.
However, if you reward customers for their loyalty, they feel valued for their choices and continue to remain a consumer of a company’s product or service.
Quality customer service relieves pressure on the organisation to attract new customers. Statistics show that it cost more to gain new customer that it is to retain ones. The key to a successful business is to persuade that customer to buy again and again.
Methods to encourage repeat business are:
Regularly remind them of the business (mail, postcard, and catalogue)
Treat repeat customer like they are special
Make ordering and delivery as easy and efficient as possible
A company’s reputation is only as good as the service it provides. Improving customer service will also improve an organisation’s. Improve an organisation’s reputation by providing and implementing policies, procedures and training for employees.
Effective customer service benefits the organisation because the customer’s needs are met, whether it’s a product or serve.
Effective customer service leads to higher sales and positive reputation in the community; it benefits the employee from the standpoint of the company doing well. When the company does well, the employee’s job security is greater. Higher sales can also lead to increases in salaries, benefits, rewards.
Assess sources of information on customer requirements and satisfactions levels
Expectations have a central role in influencing satisfaction with services, and these in turn are determined by a very wide range of factors.
Given the central importance of expectations, it is important to understand how they are formed (Quality Accounts Commission, 1999).
The basic key factors most commonly seen to influence expectations are described as:
Word of mouth communications
Explicit service communication
Implicit service communication
Understand the customer is the key to giving them good service. To give good customer care we must deliver what we promise.
To understand our customers well, we need to be attentive to them whenever we are in contact with them.
There are several ways to understand your customers better. One is to put your-self in their shoes and try and look your business from their point of view. Another way is to collect and analyse data in order to shed light on their buying behaviour, or the simple way is to ask them what they think.
A good customer contact strategy will allow you to listen to your customers and tell them more about what you offer. The front line staffs are a rich vein of customer insight which is often overlook.
Front line staff is in contact with the customers on a daily basis. The most common form of research amongst staff is same kind of staff satisfaction survey which looks at their perceptions of the organisation and the customer. Such surveys share the limitations and drawbacks of all surveys.
There are a number of key issues in relation to using staff feedback in this way:
Approaches that are used should complement other methods that engage directly with service users.
There may be scope for joint staff service user research, consultation or training.
The implications of the feedback for service delivery should be identified, reported to all key audiences and acted upon.
Customer’s records and past information
Creating automated guest histories helps hotel managers to define their customer mix, identify which benefits are salient from different segments, ensure that the hotel supply and capabilities match the guest’s desires, and increased delivery efficiency. Enhanced customer satisfaction and retention lead to increased customer loyalty, occupancy rates, and revenue per available customer (Dube and Renaghan, 1999a, 1999b).
Customers’ information and service requests can be collected through different channels and using a variety of customer-facing system and back-end information systems (call centre, front office system, email, and internet) and then downloaded into the hotel information system, which delivers orders to all hotel departments.
The guest information matrix
Three basic categories of information can be identified, according to the way the information is gathered:
Front line data (name, address, type of room, credit card number) and to manage the guest folio (fares, service charges).
Spontaneous data (information provide directly by the guest to the hotel staff (special diet, additional blanket).
Behaviour data (information that the system records automatically.
Primary research (sampling, qualitative, quantitative), interview (individual, group, survey)
Qualitative researchers aim to gather an in-depth understanding of human behaviour and the reasons that govern such behaviour. The qualitative methods investigates the why and how of decision making, not just what, where and when.
Most qualitative approaches have:
A focus on natural settings;
An interest in meanings, perspective and understandings;
An emphasis on process;
A concern with inductive analysis and grounded theory.
Surveys are a significant activity across government and can help to inform customer insight. The data from quantitative surveys is often useful from providing robust evidence to support a business.
Contact methods are: mail, telephone, personal
Customers’ experience and familiarity with multiple channels and methods of communication is rapidly increasing. Within the past decade, e-channels went from nerd-niche to general usage. Mobile phones went from business luxury to a must-have for everyone from children to the elderly. The mix of interaction technologies will only grow in complexity and sophistication going forward.
Planning is a part of the process when investigating customer requirements and expectations, and surveys used to do just that need a lot of planning. Satisfied customers usually return and spend more, they tell other people about their experiences, and they may well pay a premium for the privilege of doing business with an organisational they trust.
Developing a customer satisfaction programme is not just about carrying out a survey. Surveys provide the reading that shows where attention is required but in many respects, this is the easy part.
There are 3 mains types of strategies to attract customers:
A cost leadership strategy is based on the concept that you can product and markets a good quality product or service at a lower cost than your competitors.
A differentiation strategy is one of creating a product or service that is perceived as being unique ”throughout the industry”. The emphasis can be on brand image, proprietary technology, special features, and superior service.
A focus strategy may be the most sophisticated of the generic strategies, in that it is a more ‘intense’ form of either the cost leadership or differentiation strategy.
There are many different types of jobs in the hospitality industry. All hospitality businesses require staff. There is a direct link between the staffing level and customer satisfaction.
Getting the staffing level right is quite difficult. It requires experience, and knowledge.
Employees who are satisfied in their jobs provide higher levels of customer service.
Employees’ satisfaction results primarily from internal high-quality support service and policies that enable employees to deliver results to customers.
Putting employee and customer satisfaction in the spotlight when planning strategy is one of the top priorities for organizations committed to continuous improvement.
Here are some suggestions on how organisations can increase employee satisfaction:
Understanding why people are working and commit to helping them achieve their goals on the job.
Keep employees informed.
Take care of the people who work with you.
Treat employees the way you would want to be treated.
b) Carry out research on requirements as well as satisfaction levels that Ibis Hotel customers usually have. Suggest potential improvements to the customer services to bridge the gap between the two.
Ibis Hotel is an economic leader, offers its guests the highest level of service and the ultimate comfort of its category at the best market price. The customers satisfaction levels is high, because Ibis Hotel offer an ultimate comfort, in every hotel of the network , the ibis room is designed to offer to guests a happy sleep and the possibility to work calmly.
The satisfaction levels of customers are increased because the staffs day and night is at guests disposal, providing 24 hour reception, kitchen serving hot and cold dishes day or night and a non-stop bar.
A good strategy to improve the quality and the level of satisfaction customers is ,The 15 minutes satisfaction guarantee”,
The ”15 minutes satisfaction” contract is a unique illustration of ibis’s commitment to customer service. If a little hitch threatens to cloud the stay do not hesitate in letting us know at any time, day or night. The ibis teams have 15 minutes on the clock to sort it out. And if they do not manage to chase away this pesky cloud in the specified time, that service is on the hotel.
Another way used by ibis hotel to satisfy the customers is to offer weekend promotions such as:
Ibis always offers a lower rate for every type of weekend stay.
The ‘Special weekend” deal is designed for leisure customers and offers a lower rate for Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, public holidays.
The ”long weekend ” deal for two or three-night stays offers discounts of 15%to 30%.
Ibis is committed to planet 21, Accor group’s sustainable development program. Ibis is the first global chain to commit to the ISO 14001 environmental certification procedure which calls for very careful steering from the hotel’s management team, involving:
Constant respect for the latest regulations
Continuous improvement: certified hotels are audited on a regular basis so that they can set themselves new objectives.
The researches on satisfaction levels of customers show that guests are overall satisfy about the stay in ibis hotels in different part of the world. Their feed-back is positive. The hotels are placed in great location, the budget of the hotel are excellent for all type of budgets. The staffs are friendly, room clean, food great.
Research on requirements show that some customers are not full satisfied about the work of front desk in some hotels, the noise which is made by the staff starting working early, in some places the room are too small, and the customer service very poor.
We know that customer satisfaction is essential in the grow and maintain the business up. So to improve the customer services and to bridge the gap between the requirements and satisfaction, Ibis Hotels need to improve the work of staff by giving then properly training, and treat well the staff by motivating them. The key of good customer service is: a good treat staffs are giving the best customer service. The link between staff and guest are direct, they depend of each other’s. And expectations of the customer have a central role. The basic key factors most commonly seen to influence expectations are described as:
Explicit service communication
Previous experience (their previous experience will in part influence their future expectations of the service).
Implicit service communication: this includes factors such as the physical appearance of the building e.g. renovation.
Putting employee and customer satisfaction in the spotlight when planning strategy is one of the top priorities for organizations committed to continuous improvement.
This assignment contains three tasks. In first task I discussed about reasons using in customer service and purpose of evaluating customer service policy in Ibis Hotels. In second task I mentioned about different communications methods and how we can use this methods to get the best effects. In the third task I provided requirements and satisfaction levels that Ibis Hotel customers usually have, and how to improve the customer service.
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