Providing good customer service: top tips
We know that customer service can make or break any customer’s experience at a venue. But did you know it is particularly important for disabled people? The Access Survey found that 70% of people advised that knowing there are helpful and friendly staff at a venue can influence a person’s decision on whether or not to visit. So getting it right is key.
Take a look at our top tips on providing great customer service to ensure that all of your customers have a great time at your venue. And remember that great service often leads to great reviews – you can check out some reviews from Euan’s Guide about people’s positive experiences below too!
Good old customer service!
People can get themselves tied up in knots about what to say or do or how to act, but the most important thing to remember is that it’s just good old customer service! The same great service you would provide to any customer coming through your doors, the only thing that changes is that you might do things differently – being confident and flexible will go a long way in providing a great service.
Things like offering table service, opening heavy doors and moving seats out of the way for customers who are wheelchair users or who have a mobility impairment will go a long way to making someone feel welcome.
Everyone is different
It’s important to remember that everyone is different and there is no one size fits all approach to providing great customer service to disabled customers. People’s requirements will differ depending on their disability. Just because one customer didn’t want assistance it doesn’t mean the next customer won’t either, equally because one customer wanted something done a particular way doesn’t mean the next customer will want it done the same way. The best policy: ask people if they require assistance and what assistance they require – don’t assume.
Be in the know
If your venue has facilities or services that aren’t in use all the time, for example induction loops, a portable ramp or large print or braille menu, make sure that everyone knows where they are and, if applicable, how to operate them. Store things like ramps in easily accessible areas (not at the back of a storage cupboard or in the accessible toilet) so if they’re needed they’re easy to reach and the customer isn’t left waiting.
Put a plan in place to test items, like induction loops, frequently. This way everyone will be familiar with them and know they’re working when a customer asks.
Not familiar with a portable ramp? At your next team meeting let everyone spend a couple of minutes getting used to it and putting it in place – it will be time well spent!
Anticipate what people might ask
Anticipating what people might ask will help you be prepared for when it does get asked – it might be a good idea to have a think about this at your next team meeting. It could be as simple as knowing the local transport links if someone phones up and asks how to get to your venue, it could be where is the nearest green space for my assistance dog, or where is the nearest accessible toilet?
Or they could be trickier questions like what’s the width of your door or lift, do you have an access statement or what’s your emergency procedure for people who need additional assistance?
Having a chat with your colleagues and discussing questions that have been asked before and anticipating what people could ask might help you to feel more confident and know that you’re giving the correct answer. Remember if you don’t know the answer to a question let the person asking know and track down the answer as soon as you can.
Invest in training
If you’re a team leader, manager or venue owner, then how about investing in some disability equality training? If you work for a venue and you think training would be beneficial to you then speak to your manager and see if it’s possible.
There are lots of companies and charities that provide training so take a look to see what options are available near you. There’s still time before Disabled Access Day!
Top tips on the go
Still not feeling confident? We’ve put together a couple of top tips on the go for you:
- Be friendly and don’t make assumptions. If you think someone might require additional assistance, offer and ask the best way you can help. Remember that everyone is different and some people will want assistance while others won’t, some people will want things done one way and other people a different way. Asking is the best policy!
- Be flexible and think outside of the box. Providing good customer service to a disabled customer may mean that you have to do things differently, thinking creatively might help you come up with different ways to provide appropriate assistance.
- Be patient. It may take some people a little longer to understand what you’re saying or what assistance they’d like. Give the person time to explain and if you didn’t understand just ask them to repeat what they said. Other people may take a little longer to do everyday tasks like counting out money or packing their shopping, give the person time and offer help if it’s appropriate.
- Be perceptive. If a disabled customer is with someone else, whether a carer, personal assistance, friend or family member, address the disabled customer first. If the customer is unable to understand or needs assistance responding, the person with them will let you know and you can take the lead from them.
- Be yourself! Don’t panic – just be yourself and provide great customer service. You’re not expected to be an expert and to know exactly what to do, just the ask the customer what assistance they require and go from there.
Good customer service equals good reviews!
Take a look at what some Euan’s Guide reviewers have said about their experiences of customer service at venues across the UK:
“The staff get a full score as they were welcoming and helpful from the start. It was no big deal for them to carry my coffee across to the table, see if I wanted anything else, and juggle the furniture to help me sit where I wanted.”
A review by EdinBlue about his experience at a coffee shop in Edinburgh.
“The staff made our group very welcome, they took orders for ice creams and delivered them to our seats during the interval. All the staff were friendly and helpful and this contributed to the success of our visit. Thank you.”
A review by Debbie_ who visited the Brighton Centre.
“Staff are very helpful, they are quick to assist if you are looking a little lost. We went while the display was dressed for Winter, a very nice member of staff who was making fake snow brought her equipment over to my chair so that I could see, as her counter was quite high.”
A review by Phaedra who visited the Warner Brothers Studios in London.
You never know you might just see a great review of the customer service at your venue pop up on Euan’s Guide soon!
If you have any questions about providing good customer service, please just drop us an email.