National Extension Tourism (NET): 2021 Conf. Proceedings

Developing Awesome Customer Service for Agritourism Businesses Rob Leeds , Assistant Professor, Ohio State University Extension, Eric Barrett , Associate Professor, Ohio State University Extension,


It is difficult to keep up with changing environment of customer service, but it is vital to the sustainability of the business. Every contact with a customer defines the farm brand and affects the future of the agritourism business. Customer experiences, both positive and negative, are shared more frequently in the age of social media, influencing customer decisions (Dimensional Research, 2013). Research studies in the business sector have shown the importance of quality service in enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty. However, while most businesses think they excel in customer service, most fall short of the mark set by their customers. In a study by Bain & Company, 80% of businesses surveyed said they delivered superior customer service experience. However, when their customers were surveyed only 8% said they had received superior customer service (Allen et al., 2005). Customers of agritourism businesses will likely have both positive and negative experiences, but with this magnitude of disagreement it is more likely that customer service delivery is not in line with customer expectations. Why do we see this kind of variation in the perception of great customer service? Is it because the businesses are not trying? Is it because the employees are not trained? We suggest it is due to the lack of a well- designed system for customer service based on the individual business. It is important that businesses know the wants and needs of their customers, but it is even more important to know what customers expect while interacting with the business.


To tackle the challenges of today’s customer service environment, we worked with agritourism businesses to develop a system to help operators focus on consistent customer engagement and high-quality customer service. This

2021 NET Conference Proceedings


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