More satisfied customers can boost business growth, drive repeat business, increase positive recommendations and visitor spend.
Ensuring that international visitors receive the best possible customer care is one way for Ireland to strengthen its competitiveness in fighting for more overseas tourists, believes Fáilte Ireland.
This was the message as its Director of Commercial Development Paul Keeley stressed that the current challenges regarding Brexit, currency volatility and competing internationally, necessitate that all tourism businesses focus on their individual competitiveness.
“One key opportunity which is available to the Irish tourism industry is to be renowned for ‘best in class’ customer service and great visitor experiences,” he said, “Through the implementation of our new Service Excellence Programme we intend to place the customer at the centre of everything a tourism-related business will do. Providing excellence in customer care can have major benefits for both the visitor, staff and the business.”
Naturally, part of this involves pricing but providing good value also includes what a business offers for the prices it charges. Competitiveness can be boosted by improving the offer and this is where increased customer service can be so important, he believes.
With a focus on customer relationships and satisfaction, the new programme aims to help businesses reduce and better handle complaints, introduce new standards and efficiencies and increase sales through up-selling and cross-selling techniques. There’ll also be a new interactive online learning option available to increase participation and ease access for those who cannot attend the training programme in person.
The Accredited Service Excellence Programme is suitable for all management and front-facing staff in a tourism-related business who come into contact with visitors.
The Award can be achieved in three ways:
- For individual staff upon completion of a full day or online workshop
- As a Business Award whereupon 75% of front-facing staff have completed the Programme
- As a Destination Award – where a number of set criteria are met and where an agreed level of key businesses in the area have achieved the business award.
“Ireland and the Irish hospitality sector is encountering very strong competition internationally,” said the Irish Hotels Federation’s President Joe Dolan in welcoming the Programme, “We know that we’re not a low-cost destination for international visitors so we need to look at ways of enhancing the experience that tourists enjoy and to differentiate ourselves from our competition. One of the ways is to become ‘best in class’ at service provision and to raise the bar for ourselves. The more tourism businesses we can get to actively participate in the Accredited Service Excellence Programme, the better it will be for our industry as a whole. If we can build on our very strong foundations of a warm welcome and excellent service, then our industry will continue to grow and flourish.”