Part #1:  3 tips to Winning Customer Trust and Satisfaction

written by Sarah Colgate

Business Tips for 2024 | Helpful tips for tourism operators

April 2, 2024

Every business owner is in charge of their own destiny.  You hold the keys to your success. Sure there are external factors that impact business however its how you handle those and how you manage your business that will determine your success. 

As a business owner your number one focus needs to be your customers. As your customers are at the heart of everything you do. In order to build trust, loyalty, and exceptional customer satisfaction, consider and where possible these unbreakable rules:

1. Quality Beyond Expectations – What do you value?

We have all been to that place, a cafe, hotel, restaurant where the meal has come out and blown you away. It’s fresh, tasty, well put together and exceeds your expectations in so many ways. From that one experience you know the owner of the business if focused on quality, focused on delivering the best experience they can.

Example #1: I recently checked into a hotel on Phillip Island in Victoria. It is an international hotel brand. 

We arrived early so I went to reception to register and find out how long it would be till the room was ready. The receptionist was polite and she advised me the room won’t be ready for some time, took my phone number and said they would call when it was ready. 

They never called. I came back 2 hours after check in time to be asked for my credit card and driver licence again to check in even though I had already provided it.

Half way through checking me in, the receptionist walked off, grabbed her bag from the back room and excited the reception building, leaving me standing there.  

It was the strangest experience that told me so much about the hotel and the staff. They do not value their customers, they have no desire to build trust and confidence in what they do. 

Example #2: Imagine you run a bakery. Your promise to customers is freshly baked goods made with premium ingredients. Your focus is on consistently delivering mouth watering pastries that exceed expectations every day. Whether it’s a flaky croissant or a delicious chocolate cake, your guaranteed quality speaks volumes. Your customers see that consistency and see that passion and it builds trust every single day.

2. The Art of Exceptional Customer Service – What do you deliver?

Exceptional customer service is an art form for many however in my opinion it is an essential element to business success. How does your team deliver exceptional customer service? 

Do you have a guide on what you expect in your business? Are you staff trained to deliver exceptional service?

I often find that frontline staff actually do not know what exceptional customer service looks like because they have never experienced it. In Australia we are very friendly and often mistake that for customer service however it does not meet the mark. 

Example #1:  At Aquaduck we had a very close competitor who copied most everything we did. To the point that customers often did not know whether they were on Aquaduck or Quackrduck.  

In order to create a point of difference I undertook a series of customer service training sessions with my team. In these sessions I showed the team what good, great and exceptional customer service looks like. We did some role playing and also used examples. I encouraged the team to go that extra 1% so that our customers knew they were special to us, we valued them and we were exceptional in providing customer service.

Example #2: Picture a boutique hotel on the edge of a mountain top in a rainforest setting. The owners greet you on arrival, welcoming you to their slice of heaven. They show you that every guest interaction matters. They ask you about your interests and your reasons for travelling and staying with them. Then provide you with customised recommendations for local tours and attractions. They actually care about you and they embody exceptional service. 

When a guest faces an issue, the owners take responsibility, action, a swift resolution and genuine empathy turns a problem into an opportunity to create loyal advocates for life.

3. Transparency: The Foundation of Trust – How do you deliver it?

Businesses often feel that what they do and where they source their items, ingredients or components is private or part of their intellectual property and to a certain extent I do agree. 

However, by providing some form of transparency on sourcing items, ingredients or components creates a story, a connection and an opportunity for you to show your customers what you value, what values you want your business to attract and also that it’s not just talk, you put your money where your mouth is. 

Example #3: Let’s say you are running an e-commerce platform selling handmade crafts. 

Transparency means clearly stating the sourcing process for the crafts, artisans’ stories, and pricing. When customers understand the journey behind each product, trust will blossom. In addition to these details, being honest about supply issues, shipping / postage times and any potential delays. This will ensure the customers are well informed and will reinforce the bond you are building. 

Example #4: More and more people want to experience local culture, especially when they are travelling. They are also willing to pay a higher price for a locally made gift, meal, souvenir or experience. This is where you have an opportunity to be unique. 

At Southern Cross Tours we created food and wine experiences based on a premium price to attract a new market. In order to keep it interesting we went and found local producers to create an experience thAt was 100% local. Summerland Camels dairy tour and morning tea experiences, Scenic Rim Brewery with locally made beer, a wall of locally produced goods and homemade sausages and lunch menu items. Not only did we end up with a unique tour we also ended up supporting a range of local producers. 

So many business owners ask me how to create a unique customer experience. My advice is to start with creating a customer service plan for your business. Outline exactly the level of service you want to provide for your customers. Give it to your staff, train your staff on it and ensure you live and breathe it. 

Once you have the customer service side perfected you will start to see other ways in which you can differentiate yourself and your business. 

Conclusion

Building trust and satisfaction with customers starts with there key questions:

  • What do you value in your business?
  • What do you deliver to your customers?
  • How do you deliver it?

Look at each of these questions, answer them and start building your customer service plan around them.

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