Strong service breeds success

Students at the Tennent’s Training Academy.
Students at the Tennent’s Training Academy.

THE impact good customer service can have on a bar or restaurant business cannot be overstated.

In an ever-competitive marketplace – and with major events like the Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup on the horizon – operators with well-trained, knowledgeable staff will be well-placed to capitalise on increased footfall.
Gayle Johnstone, licensed trade account manager at the Tennent’s Training Academy, said the value of skilled, efficient and friendly staff is “immeasurable”.
“For business owners, good training will drive the long term success of their outlet but also reduce staff turnover, increase employee engagement and improve compliance,” she said.
“With these global events comes a great opportunity for Scottish hotels and pubs – and the service customers receive, whether they are from Scotland or from abroad, should be world class. Businesses need to start planning now to make the most of the predicted rise in trade.”
Maurice Taylor, chief executive of hotel operator Chardon Management, also stressed the importance of well-trained staff to licensed trade businesses, saying it is “absolutely mission critical” that customers receive an “exceptional standard” of service at all times. “I don’t think these events [Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup] have any bearing on what a good hotelier should be doing every day of every week of every year,” he said.
Garry Allan, the department head for hospitality and professional cooking at Motherwell College, said training staff to exceed customer expectations is “essential” to any business.
“The tourism industry in Scotland is worth millions of pounds to the economy and we must get it right every day,” he said. “With customers being more knowledgeable about the products we sell and expecting more for their hard earned cash, we as a business have to be one step ahead.”
Good customer service can set an outlet apart from its competitors, according to Joanne Worrall, director of Twist Training.
“It’s great when staff know that extra bit of local information, a gem of product knowledge, and go out of their way to exceed the customer’s expectations,” she said. “That is what makes customers keep going back.”
Paul Chase of CPL Training said the recession signalled the “end of mediocrity in pub retailing”.
“There is a growing realisation amongst operators, tenants and lessees that well-trained staff, who understand how to look after their customers, are of key importance,” he said.
Staff training isn’t just about customer service, however. Alice Cardwell-Hodges of BII reminded operators to start planning for personal licence refresher training courses. “Given the unprecedented numbers of licence holders who will require the refresher training, it is vital that licensees act sooner rather than later,” she said.

Image – Students at the Tennent’s Training Academy.