Employees need to be trained on active listening. When actively listening, employees must listen to understand the issue, ask questions to clarify the issue, and avoid distractions. They must avoid taking things as personal attacks and focus on the problem while thinking of solutions. Employees need to be able to empathize with the customer, expressing a willingness and ability to help. Sometimes the employee is not able to give the customer what they want. In these situations, it is important to ensure employees are well trained and confident in explaining why they cannot provide what the customer wants. It is best to be as open and honest as possible about the issue. Customers are usually happier when presented with a reason vs a simple no. Not all issues will be handled at the front line, so it is important to have a plan in place to escalate the issue. However, customer complaints that require a manager to solve can take more time and add to customer frustration. Its best to empower employees to deal with complaints and provide great customer service.
4. Improve Practices
The customer service plan is not something written in a binder, used once a year at training, and put on the shelf to collect dust. The plan needs to be revisited on a regular basis using examples of actual customer encounters. As customer service issues arise, the plan should be updated with these examples to be used at future employee trainings and help prepare the business for the next time a situation may arise. Thinking through actual customer service issues will also give management and employees more information on how to react and help anticipate future customer service issues because the examples are more meaningful to everyone in the business.
The ability to deliver quality customer service changes as we adapt our business operations to deal with changing customer expectations. To keep up with these changes it is important to have a well-designed system for customer service based on the individual business that can evolve with the business. It is important that agritourism businesses are prepared for excellent customer service, know how to respond to customer service failures, can recover to maintain positive relationships with customers, and learn how to improve customer service based on experiences in their own businesses. Awesome customer service is vital in developing and keeping relationships with customers and enhancing the sustainability of the business. Keywords: Customer Service, Agritourism, Management, Management Systems
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