Do you know the difference between customer service and hospitality?
While the two terms are connected in many ways, they are also very different in how they are ultimately defined.
What is customer service?
Customer service – service in general – this is what you do. It is the sequence of actions you take in the effort to deliver what you do (product, service or both) to your clientele. Customer service is something every business delivers.
Whether it is good or bad – your customer service is what determines customer satisfaction and, by proxy, your business continuity. After all, if your customers are dissatisfied with the way their concerns are being handled, they will probably take their business elsewhere.
What is hospitality?
The term hospitality is largely associated with the service industry: restaurants, hotels, convention centers, casinos, and so on. The concept of hospitality has to do with the manner in which guests/customers/clients are treated.
Hospitality is, quite simply, the act of willingly welcoming and taking care of your guests/customers. This is every business’ recipe for success.
Hospitality professionals, such as restaurant or hotel general managers, sommeliers, maître d’s, concierges – these are people who are focused largely on the guest experience, on creating a welcoming environment, and ensuring that every aspect of a guest’s comfort and satisfaction is approached with a keen eye for detail with the goal being complete customer satisfaction.
Customer service and hospitality: the connection
Great customer service is an absolute expectation in the hospitality industry, much as it is for every type of business. Every single customer that engages with your business receives some form of customer service. Whether it is good, bad, indifferent or superb is entirely up to you.
While we associate hospitality with the service industry, it can easily be applied to all types of business, especially brick and mortar locations where you interact with customers face-to-face. Creating a friendly, welcoming environment, acknowledging the customer as they enter, trying to solve their pain points and striving to make sure they leave happier than they were when they arrived – these are hospitality concepts that can be applied to any customer service scenario.
Bad customer service is bad for business
Poor hospitality and customer service do not recognize or acknowledge the customer’s wants and needs. For instance, many of us have experienced a situation in a store where we enter and are neither acknowledged or offered any assistance. In some cases, we actually have to go looking for an employee to help us, and even then, they may not be able to provide answers to our problem.
This situation could arise from the employee being too busy, or it could be that they are improperly prepared to do their job. Either way, this is putting your business at risk.
As a manager or anybody in a leadership position for that matter, you are responsible for ensuring that your team can deliver on and (hopefully) exceed expectations. In this sense, it is wise to take a cue from hospitality; placing a high importance on the customer experience will always serve you well.
My Annapolis Office is Maryland’s business headquarters. We offer virtual office packages, short and long-term executive office rentals, coworking, and on-demand meeting rooms. Schedule a tour today to discover how we can help you succeed.