We’re often categorised by our generations. Boomers, Millennials, Generation Z… the list goes on. Whilst in some cases these categories help us to understand consumer experience needs and demands, sweeping generalisations can be harmful.
All that said, it is imperative leisure and hospitality venues offer personalised experiences. You don’t necessarily need to have a stereotype in mind to deliver exceptional customer service in various ways.
Let’s take a look at different customer expectations and what your venue can do to fulfil them…
Some customers will want to talk to you. They’ll want to find out how you make a certain cocktail, or what dish you’d recommend off the menu. For these customers, it’s all about connecting with their environment and getting to know the people behind your venue.
Make sure you always serve these customers with a smile. Ask about their day, discuss their personal preferences and make suggestions.
The screen surfer
If there’s an option to book online, order on an app, pay on their mobile and leave a review digitally – chances are, this customer will take it all. This no fuss, no interaction preference means our mobile-dependent consumer will enjoy a peaceful, private dining and drinking experience.
Not everyone wants to spend hours enjoying a tasting menu. Some diners or drinkers are in a rush for quick service. Train your team to have knowledge of the serving time for your dishes and drinks, so they can recommend the best items to order. Make sure these customers are delivered fast, efficient and professional service – without too many frills to take up their time.
The fine balancer
For this consumer, there’s a fine line between impersonal and too personal. Maybe they’ll want a warm welcome at the entrance, but the opportunity to browse the menu at their leisure and order online. Or they’ll prefer to book online but will want to chat to their server about the best meal to choose. This customer requires choice, flexibility and personalisation. And the best way to provide this is to ask how they’d like to manage their experience.
The experience seeker
It’s all about having a good time. The perfect atmosphere, quiet ambiance (but not too quiet), polite and accommodating staff members and quality food. It’s the little things that add up to a fantastic experience, such as a server personally signing a receipt or leaving mints as a thank you along with the bill. Go the extra mile to prove your customers are valuable to you – offer them a discount for a repeat booking, and use automation software to follow up and ask for a review.
It would be remiss of us to miss this type of consumer out. There will always be people who look for the negatives. Try to stay calm, continue to empathise and do your best to rectify the problem. Negative feedback presents an opportunity to learn and gives you a chance to convert the problem into a positive experience.
The value appreciator
Value for money is not the same as a luxury experience or a cheap and cheerful one – though there are customers who value each of these types of experience more than the other. A customer who appreciates value is looking for a good return on investment. They want to see great quality food at an affordable price, or an unforgettable experience for less. To draw the attention of this type of customer, make sure you regularly change your offers and limited time only menu items.
Always on the lookout for the perfect backdrop for an Insta pic, this customer wants the perfect table layout, food presentation and cocktail creations. Make sure your food and drink offering is on point because, if not, it’s likely you’ll miss out on valuable free online promotion and Instagram tags.
As the above demonstrates, there are many different types of customers who will visit your venue. Each of them will want something different. And, whilst you can’t cater for everyone, the salient point is this: be flexible and accommodating. Try to empower your customers and offer them choices in every way you can.
Don’t expect the two different customers to want the same experience. One will want a quiet meal out with their family, another will want an entirely social experience with friends. Be mindful of where you sit your customers, how your servers interact with them and the digital ways you connect with your visitors.
If you can collect your customer’s details for marketing purposes at the time of booking (being mindful to always be GDPR compliant), then there’s a great opportunity to capitalise on their experience. Invite them back for the second time, or ask them to leave you a review. But don’t forget you can also offer these opportunities in person at the point at which you give a customer their bill. That way, your customer is quite literally twice as likely to notice your efforts.
By customising your customer experience offering, you can make sure you hit the right note every time.