White Paper: Customer Service in UK Hospitality

Press Release : February 19, 2010
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Warmth of Service inspires loyalty + 46% of restaurants missing out on valuable feedback

Nearly half of restaurant operators do not evaluate customer service performance, while warmth of service is most likely to attract customer loyalty according to a white paper published by customer experience analysts The Mystery Dining Company (TMDC) today (Thursday 4 February 2010).

The research undertaken by TMDC includes a quarterly benchmark of service standards across the industry (Oct-Dec 2009) that operators can use to assess their own strengths as well as potentially missed opportunities.

A survey of 725 restaurant operators revealed that 54% of respondents had systems in place to monitor customer service levels; either using in-house approaches such as comment cards or by recruiting friends and family, or by employing an independent third party operators. The most popular reasons given by businesses evaluating service included to support financial improvement (27%) and to enhance customer service (22%).

When assessing what element is most likely to result in a diner recommending the site warmth of service (31%) led the way reinforcing that efficient, hospitable service was more important than perceived value for money (28%) and other elements such as pace (9%) and interest (9%).

A performance indicator, termed industry net goodwill, which measures whether customers talk positively or negatively about their experience demonstrates a year on year improvement, with December 09 being the third consecutive month of improvement.
Commenting on the findings, author of the report, TMDC Director Steven Pike said:

Businesses who actively seek out objective observations and comparisons have a competitive advantage. The fact that 46% of businesses do not have any form of mechanism in place to evaluate performance would suggest that they are unwittingly limiting sales potential.

Staff behaviour benchmarks are important as they can have a significant impact on word-of-mouth recommendations, which in turn has obvious implications for trade levels. The research provides an indication to operators of how they may compare against the rest of the market and what actions may help them achieve their desired business goals.

The full version of the white paper can be obtained directly from TMDC by emailing kerstin@mysterydining.com.

Designed to provide insight on general trends in addition to specific service elements, a customer service white paper will be published quarterly by The Mystery Dining Company, with the next edition due out in May.

For more information on The Mystery Dining Company and the range of business support services it provides for the hospitality sector visit www.mysterydining.co.uk.
ENDS
The Mystery Dining Company is the leading mystery dining provider in the UK and has been supporting the hospitality industry with specialist advice and support for over six years. It has a network of more than 2,500 assessors who undertaken assignments for more than 50 different brands in 17 different countries.

For more information please contact Kate Zappa at Creatrix PR
Tel: 01225 423 400 or Email: kate@creatrixpr.co.uk

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