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Learners Guide
Manage quality customer service
SITXCCS501
2014 Edition  didasko.com
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Contents
TEXT
Overview ........................................................................................................ 3
Develop quality customer service practices ................................................... 3
Manage the delivery of quality service ......................................................... 31
Monitor and adjust customer service ........................................................... 63
Glossary .............................................................................................................. 81
Please note the following condition:
The Didasko learning resource provided here should be used as a training tool for students
and trainers. While the information contained within addresses the elements, performance
criteria, required skills and knowledge of individual competencies it remains the responsibility
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Overview
Think about the last time you did something simple yet beneficial for someone: giving a
gift, offering assistance, or donating money. Undoubtedly, the recipient felt better, but
chances are that you felt an inner satisfaction too. When we think of service, we usually
think of helping another person or organisation.
Now take this concept of service into a work environment.
Imagine that you know how to not only meet but exceed your customers’ expectations. As
a result, they become more loyal to you and your organisation. They refer their family,
friends, and colleagues. Your establishment’s profits increase and business grows, so
they hire more people. You get recognition, a bonus, a pay rise or a promotion. You feel
motivated to do even more.
Now who is getting the benefit of your good service?
Everyone!
It’s up to you to manage quality customer service so you and your team can create the
positive results you’re looking for.
Let’s look at what you will learn on completion of this unit.
Section 1: Develop quality customer service practices
Section 2: Manage the delivery of quality service
Section 3: Monitor and adjust customer service
Develop quality customer
service practices
Let’s look at what you will learn on completion of this section.
•  Obtain information on customer needs, expectations and satisfaction levels using both
formal and informal research.
•  Provide opportunities for customers and colleagues to provide feedback on products
and services.
•  Review changes in internal and external environments and integrate findings into
planning for quality service.
•  Provide opportunities for staff to participate in the development of customer service
practices.
•  Develop policies and procedures for quality service provision.
1.0
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What is quality customer service?
Think about the last time you or your staff provided or received quality customer service.
What are the characteristics of ‘quality’ customer service?
Click start to begin.
List the characteristics of ‘quality’ customer service.
How did you go? Compare your answers to these.
•  Anticipates and meets customer needs.
•  Attention to detail.
•  Prompt service.
•  Service that is friendly and welcoming, but not intrusive.
•  Positive attitude.
•  Consistent. It’s good every time.
Click to the next screen to learn more about quality management.
What is quality management?
Watch the video to find out Russell Rafferty, manager of Rafferty’s Ski Resort
knowledge of quality management.
Quality management, sometimes referred to as Total Quality Management, (TQM) is a
management philosophy driven by customer needs and expectations.
At Rafferty’s, we see the customer as key to our service and business approach, and we
aim to constantly improve our responsiveness to our customers’ needs and expectations.
TQM is a way of life for the organisation as a whole. All our people are committed to total
customer satisfaction.
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Principles of quality management
Click on the outside bubbles to learn more about the principles of quality
management.
Quality standard
Australian and international quality standards guide managers to establish, administer,
maintain and improve their competitiveness through quality systems.
Benchmarking
This is researching competitor processes (and even companies outside your industry) to
examine practices with the aim of adapting, modifying and applying them in your own
company.
It’s searching for and developing what’s considered ‘best practice’ in any company in any
industry anywhere in the world so you can use it within your industry/company.
Quality systems/assurance
Implement systematic analytical tools and techniques that allow for the control and
monitoring of quality service/products standards.
Customer feedback
The customer is an integral part of the service delivery. What do customers want, need
and expect? Seek feedback from customers. Use research tools to obtain feedback.
Teamwork
No one person can meet customers’ needs and expectations within the organisation.
Each department and staff member must work together as a cohesive team, focused on
providing the best service experience.
Quality
Management
Customer
feedback
Quality
systems/
assurance
Quality
standards
Benchmarking
Teamwork
Continuous
improvement
Empowerment
Factual
decision-
making
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Continuous improvement
Continually evaluate and seek ways to improve all aspects of the business product and
service delivery.
Empowerment
Staff at all levels of the organisation need to have the authority and ability to make
decisions about their own work processes and solve customer service problems.
Factual decision-making
Decisions concerning what to improve and how to improve are based upon qualitative and
quantitative data.
Note
TQM originated in the USA, but is often associated with Japan, where the late Dr W.
Edwards Deming, a leader in the total quality movement, used many TQM techniques and
approaches to help the country rebuild after WWII.
There’s no doubt that the total quality approach significantly helped Japan to achieve its
‘economic miracle’. In less than 40 years, it moved from being a non-industrialised society
with a low standard of living to one of the most economically developed and powerful
nations on earth.
What are the principles of quality customer service?
Service is any assistance you and your staff offer customers. Developing quality customer
service practices puts you and your organisation one step ahead of the competition. But
what are the principles that underpin quality service? What should you do to meet quality
standards?
Click on the tabs to learn the key characteristics of quality customer service.
Quality culture
•  Make sure staff understand, are aligned with and focused on the organisation’s mission
as well as their individual and team responsibilities.
•  Form teams which involve staff at all levels. Motivate them to identify and solve
problems together, continually improving work systems, products and services.
•  Create team spirit by motivating staff to help each other achieve customer service
outcomes. Your teams will not only survive but thrive under pressure.
•  Customers can feel the positivity, creativity and togetherness as staff perform at their
best to get the job done.
Quality systems and processes
You can reliably and consistently produce quality service through controlling your systems
and processes. Work with employees to examine, streamline and standardise them. This
reduces mistakes and variations from the established norm.
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Quality service
•  Quality service stems from quality organisational culture, systems and processes.
•  Familiarise employees with the establishment’s mission statement and make sure they
have clearly defined roles, KRAs and KPIs (glossary) which are aligned with it.
•  Lead staff in continuous improvement by providing regular, standardised training to
improve performance.
•  Train staff to exceed customers’ needs and proactively deal with problems/complaints.
Quality product
•  Systematically build quality into products.
•  Regularly monitor all products for quality.
•  Use specific systems and processes as well as qualitative and quantitative tools to do
so. These help to pinpoint and resolve problems.
Quality monitoring
•  Consistently measure your innovation, performance, productivity and quality.
•  Compare your figures with those of other departments or organisations. (This is known
as benchmarking.)
•  Use your measurements and comparisons to make continuous, systematic
improvements across all levels of the organisation.
•  Consider measuring timeliness of service, punctual delivery of products, cost, value for
money, etc. You’ll learn more about this in Section 3.
Quality relationships
•  To provide quality products and services, you need to manage the whole integrated
value chain (glossary).
•  Build relationships and work with your internal and external customers (glossary) to
develop better ways of meeting customers’ needs.
•  Form trading partnerships, strategic alliances, etc. to combine your strengths. This
way, you can produce higher quality products/services and deliver them cheaper and
faster.
Value for money
Systematically provide extras which go beyond customer expectations. They want to get
the most for their money. This is largely a matter of perception!
Here are some of the ways to increase the value or perceived value of products and
services.
•  Guarantees
•  Packaging and presentation
•  Quality assurance
•  Free gifts/complimentary items
•  Loyalty vouchers
•  Superior service
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Note
Quality is …
• a measure of excellence.
• the best, the finest, the greatest, the most expensive, superior.
• reduction of variation around the ‘mean’.
• doing the right things right.
Hot tip
Because quality service meets (and exceeds!) customers’ expectations, it is whatever the
customer tells you it is! In this way, what defines ‘quality customer service’ is actually
always fluctuating.
To manage this, you need to be in close communication with customers and on top of an
ever-changing game in order to keep them satisfied.
Click to the next screen to find out how one manager does it.
Put the ‘customer’ back into customer service
Watch the video of Russell and find out why customer service is important.
Rafferty’s Ski Resort is a customer-driven organisation.
Customer-driven organisations genuinely care for customers before, during and after
service delivery in five main ways.
1.  We develop and maintain trust.
2.  We communicate as openly and clearly as possible.
3.  We show customers that we understand them and their needs.
4.  We prioritise meeting or exceeding their needs and expectations.
5.  We actively demonstrate that we can help our customers achieve their goals.
Our goal is to offer superior customer service and retain our customers for life. All our
plans and strategies are motivated by our customers’ demand.
To do this, every staff member must be aware of who their customers actually are! Are
they just the people who purchase your products and use your services? Or is there more
to it?
Click to the next screen to find out. The answer may surprise you!
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Who are your external customers?
When you think of customers, who do you think of first? Usually someone who purchases
your products or uses your services.
But did you know that others outside your business, including those who help you provide
products and services, are also your customers?
Click on the tabs to learn about different types of external customers.
Individuals
Remember that individual customers both in person and online have certain requirements
based on their age, gender, culture, or special needs. You’ll learn more about how to meet
the needs of individual customers in Section 3.
Groups
Your customers may actually be a group of people: a tour group, a family, a group of
friends, a team, workmates, etc. Remember to accommodate their group needs while at
the same time catering for them as individuals.
Suppliers and retailers
These are the companies that provide products or services to your organisation, business
to business, usually over a long period of time. These external customers might include
cleaners, produce suppliers, grounds keepers, linen suppliers, e-businesses online, etc.
Agents
An agent is a person or company that has permission to act for another. In the hospitality,
tourism and events industry, this includes travel agents, real estate agents, talent agents,
etc.
Business people
A wide variety of corporate customers who work in business or commerce at an executive
level: CEOs, managers, senior sales representatives, etc.
Government agencies
Especially if you are holding an event, you may need to consult with government agencies
such as these.
•  Broadband, Communication and the Digital Economy Agencies
•  Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Agencies
•  Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Agencies
•  Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs Agencies
•  Foreign Affairs and Trade
•  Infrastructure and Transport Agencies
•  Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport Agencies
•  Resources, Energy and Tourism Agencies
•  Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities Agencies
New or regular visitors
These could include volunteers, contractors, sales reps, members of committees, etc.
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Media representatives
These include people representing radio, TV, newspapers, magazines, or any other
medium that reaches large numbers of people.
Hot tip
• Remember, every organisation has different types of external customers.
• These include existing customers as well as completely new customers.
• Know who they are.
• Look after them so you retain their loyalty!
Who are your internal customers?
Many managers think external customers are the only people they and their staff need to
serve. But they couldn’t be more wrong!
You and your staff need to serve internal customers too. This includes any person inside
your establishment who benefits from your efforts. These people vary depending on your
particular organisational structure.
Click on the people to learn more about internal customers.
Colleagues
We’re in the same profession, business or organisation as you. We can also be fellow
employees or co-workers who work alongside you in your organisation.
Supervisors/managers
We monitor your performance of assigned tasks. We can usually hire, promote, discipline,
reward and provide training for employees in their departments.
Team members
We’re the other people on your team. We work as a group towards a common goal. You
might participate on a team or be in charge of one!
Staff from other departments
We’re internal customers that don’t work on your particular team. We work in another
section of the organisation. You many need to be of help to us.
Staff from other branches or locations
If you work for a large organisation with many branches, some of your internal customers
may not even work on site with you. However, you must still consider serving and
interacting with them as a priority.
Committees and their members
We work in temporary groups to solve specific problems or attend to specific objectives.
Alternatively, we may permanently work to achieve common goals: R & D committee,
executive committee, etc.
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Managers often think they understand what customers want. However, it’s better not to
make assumptions. Develop your customer service practices based on information and
data you’ve obtained through careful research.
Hot tip
Internal customers are just as important as external customers. Why?
They all work together to satisfy external customers’ needs. Without them, an organisation
couldn’t possibly provide quality customer service.
Consider everyone in the organisation as an internal customer. What do they need and
expect from you as a manager? Are you providing it?
Why obtain information on customer needs?
You need to rationally and logically evaluate the characteristics and needs of the
organisation in order to design tailored customer service practices.
Also, researching, pinpointing, assessing and incorporating internal and external customer
requirements in your planning processes leads to high growth and profitability. How?
Click on the headings of the service-profit chain to find out.
Internal service quality
You (the manager!) can provide internal quality for the chain’s success. Focus on serving
customers and staff.
•  Ensure employees feel positive about their jobs and are motivated to do them.
•  Actively listen to and engage with your employees and customers.
•  Ask them how you can improve customer service delivery processes.
•  Show you care for employees.
?  Design your workplace and job roles to suit them.
?  Keep track of and guide their professional development.
?  Make sure they have the resources they need to do a top job.
?  Provide fringe benefits, leave loading, CPI increases, to prevent demotivation.
?  Allow them to contribute meaningfully to the organisation.
?  Recognise and reward them for a job well done.
?  Internal quality leads to employee satisfaction.
Employee satisfaction
Satisfied, enthusiastic employees tend to stay in their jobs. They’re happier and engage
with customers better. Low employee turnover is connected to high customer satisfaction!
Employee satisfaction leads to employee loyalty and retention.
Employee retention (and loyalty)
Loyal employees have extensive knowledge of customers and their needs as well as the
organisational culture, systems and processes.
Retain existing happy employees! They’re the ones who are most productive.
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Employee productivity
Productive employees can respond to customers and exceed their needs. They’re able to
problem-solve effectively as they have extensive knowledge of the company framework,
products and services.
They give customers the most value.
External service (perceived) value
Customers want value for money. This is largely a matter of perception. An employee who
builds rapport with customers, forms relationships with them and makes their purchasing
experiences positive (and emotionally satisfying!) automatically creates value in the eyes
of the customer.
Customers leave satisfied that they’ve had an experience worth more than what they paid
for.
Customer satisfaction
A satisfied customer is fantastic, but in this day and age, it’s not enough. You want
customers to be so satisfied that they give you their repeat business.
Your establishment spends a lot of money to get customers in the door, but repeat
business is free.
Extremely satisfied customers are loyal.
Customer loyalty
Your loyal customers are your best spokespeople! They tell their friends and family about
you. If you satisfy them, they become loyal too. What happens next?
Revenue growth and profit
Profits go through the roof!
For many businesses, customer loyalty is an important determinant of profit. A mere 5%
improvement in customer loyalty can result in a 25 to 85% improvement in profits! Now
what manager wouldn’t want that?
[Source: Frederich Reichheld and W. Earl Sasser, Jr.
"Zero Defections: Quality Comes to Services." HBR September–October 1990]
Note
In the 1990s, a group of researchers from Harvard University developed the service-profit
chain theory and business model. They proved a direct connection between exceptional,
memorable service experiences, increased customer loyalty and profits.
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What’s the lifetime value of a customer?
As you can see from the service-profit chain, it’s worth using your initiative and enterprise
skills to instigate research on customer service requirements. But if you still aren’t
convinced …
Click on the start button of Russell and learn why a loyal customer is important.
Satisfied customers have a positive influence on your organisation and bring significant
benefits to your business.
The typical family spends $5,000 for a ski holiday at Rafferty’s. Multiply that by 20 years
and their business is worth $100,000 to us.
But that’s not all! What about the referrals? Say that the original family refers 20 other
families. If we retain each of the 20 families for 20 years, the total amount of their
business is worth $2,000,000!
And that’s just one single happy family on one single holiday!
How does Rafferty’s meet and exceed their customers’ needs so well?
It’s simple. We pay attention to needs, wants and delighters, and provide personalised
service.
Let’s look at these factors in more detail on the next couple of screens.
How can you increase the lifetime value of a customer?
Click on the thumbs up to find out.
?  Retain their business for as long as you can.
?  Extend your range of products and services so they can buy more from you.
?  Sell more expensive products and services to them.
?  Sell more products or provide more frequent service.
How can you get information on customers’ needs?
You can easily obtain information about customers’ expectations simply by doing your
own informal research: talk to them! Find out what they need and want. Actively listen to
what they say. Then, set your customer service standards above expectations. Go one
step further to delight them.
Meet the Jackson family. What are their needs? How can Rafferty’s exceed them?
Click on the tabs to find out.
Expectations
There are two types of expectations: expressed and implied.
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Expressed customer expectations are spoken or written and agreed to.
Implied customer expectations are basic characteristics of a product or service which a
customer takes for granted: tea- and coffee-making facilities in a hotel room or salt on the
table in a restaurant, for example.
These aren’t necessarily expressed, but the customer expects you to meet them (and will
be unhappy if you don’t!).
Needs
Needs are basic requirements an establishment should meet.
When the family arrives at Rafferty’s they need the following things.
•  Shelter
•  Transport
•  Food
Wants
Wants are expectations the customer has of the establishment’s products or services.
When the Jackson family arrived at Rafferty’s, they wanted the following things related to
their needs.
•  A punctual bus from airport to resort
•  An en suite bathroom in their room
•  Available and prompt food service
Delighters
Delighters are unexpected, pleasant surprises which exceed customers’ expectations.
When the Jackson family arrived at Rafferty’s, they received the following delighters.
•  A balloon and toy pack for each child on the bus
•  A complimentary bottle of wine or Champagne in the parents’ room
•  Room service with free ice cream
Note
Note that Rafferty’s took the customer’s basic needs of transport, food and shelter and
provided a ‘delighter’ for each one so their service rose above what the customers
expected.
What formal research can you do?
You need accurate information on current service trends so your research should include
more than just a good chat.
Qualitative research investigates people's beliefs, experiences, attitudes, behaviour and
interactions.
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Quantitative research generates numerical data, or data that can be converted into
numbers.
Which type you choose and the sources of information you use vary depending on what
you want to learn.
Click on the pictures to learn about the different kinds of research and information
sources you can use.
Customer profile
A customer profile is a ‘snapshot’ of your business’s most frequent customers. You need
to know who they are. If you don’t have a current database, you can interview customers
or ask them to complete surveys to get the following information.
•  Social and cultural background
•  Gender
•  Age
•  Income
Customer preferences
Get a moderator to conduct focus group discussions about a specific product or service.
This provides qualitative data that might be representative of the general population.
Alternatively, collect and analyse quantitative data on the following.
•  Purchasing habits of different demographics
•  Most popular products and services
•  Seasonal variations
Analysis of logs and records
Keep records in any part of the organisation over a three-month period to learn more
about customers’ needs and expectations.
•  Use of various services (room service, gym, shuttles, etc.)
•  Customer requests
•  Customer complaints
•  Dietary needs
•  Cultural needs
•  Special needs (sight, hearing, mobility impaired, etc.)
•  Language needs
•  Gender-specific needs
•  Warranty records
•  Customer satisfaction surveys
Analysis of industry service trends
•  Attend trade shows, seminars.
•  Go to exhibitions.
•  Read industry journals, magazines, websites, etc.
•  Report on new information in general management meetings.
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Analysis of competitive environment
•  Research products and services offered by competitors in advertisements and on
websites.
•  Read reviews and industry journals on services offered by competitors.
•  Compare your ratings and general reviews with those of your competitors.
•  Collect competitors’ brochures.
•  Attend trade shows and exhibitions of your competitors.
How do you obtain information on satisfaction levels?
Provide customers with opportunities to give feedback on the main attributes of customer
satisfaction: service quality, product packaging, service delivery commitments, price,
communication, responsiveness to complaints, staff accessibility and attitude.
Customers are a great source of feedback on products and services, but a staggering
69% of them don’t give it. Why not? How could you encourage them to do so?
Click on the icon to find out.
Customers may not complain because they’re embarrassed, don’t want to make a fuss,
don’t have the time, or don’t believe it’ll make a difference. How can you encourage them
to give feedback?
•  Provide survey forms which are anonymous.
•  Assure them that their feedback is important to you.
•  Make sure any feedback forms are quick and easy to complete.
•  Let them know that you use feedback to provide better service.
•  Or sometimes the best way to get feedback is to simply ask customers about how they
enjoyed their experience. Then, get ready to listen to the honest answer!
Click to the next screen to find out more.
How do you get feedback from customers?
Provide formal and informal opportunities for customers to give feedback on products and
services. Use a consolidated, enterprise-wide feedback system that adds strategic value
to both overall business planning and internal processes.
Click on the tabs to learn how Rafferty’s does this throughout the resort.
Resort as a whole
•  Conduct an overall customer satisfaction survey to address all areas of the resort.
•  Interview customers who stayed at the resort during a three-month period.
•  Collate and present results in the management meeting.
•  Email an overall customer satisfaction survey to all major clients and resort members
annually. Enter responses received by a set date into a draw to win an all-inclusive
weekend ski holiday for two.
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Reception
•  Hold a meeting to determine three satisfaction questions to ask customers at check-
out.
•  Record responses in the comments section of computer database.
•  Collate and review every three months.
Accommodation
•  Insert a short customer survey (no more than five questions) in the front pocket of the
information folders in each room. Include a general comments section.
•  Completed surveys can be submitted into a survey return box at reception by the guest
or hotel staff.
•  Collate and review every three months.
Food and beverage
•  Include a customer satisfaction survey (no more than five questions) with each bill or
room service delivery.
•  Include a general comments section.
•  Address both quality of food, beverages and service.
•  Wait staff collect and submit.
•  Collate and review every three months.
Travel, tours, events
Email formal surveys to customers who have:
•  used your transportation services
•  participated in a tour guided by your organisation
•  made travel arrangements through your travel agency
•  booked tickets through your event management company
•  attended an event you organised.
Use your staff
Encourage staff to continue checking in with customers. Their needs may change over
time. Train staff in all areas of the organisation to ask customers simple questions before,
during and after product/service delivery.
•  Is there anything you need?
•  How can we make your stay/flight/tour/ more enjoyable?
•  How are you enjoying your meal?
•  Are you enjoying your evening?
•  How are you finding the tour?
•  How was your stay?
•  How did you enjoy the tour/show/flight/your stay?
Hot tip
Keep accurate customer feedback records (complaints, changes of preferences,
satisfaction levels, etc.). More importantly, plan time for these to be collated, reviewed and
acted upon. You’ll learn more about how to do this in Section 3.
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How do you get feedback from colleagues?
Develop rapport with your team and communicate with them. They undoubtedly have
ideas about how they could do tasks more easily, quickly, cheaply and efficiently to
simultaneously benefit customers and decrease their own work loads.
Click on the checkboxes to learn how to seek feedback from employees.
?  General discussions
?  Meetings
?  Suggestions box
?  Suggestions board
?  Annual performance reviews
How to receive feedback
Receiving positive feedback is easy. Simply say ‘thank you’ and acknowledge others on
the team who helped you. Then, ask how you could improve even further. Receiving
negative feedback is a bit more challenging and requires good communication skills.
Click on the light bulbs for some bright ideas about receiving feedback.
See feedback as an opportunity – not a problem!
Constructive feedback isn’t a problem. It’s an opportunity for you to learn and grow. Take
advantage of this chance to improve your skills
Control your breathing
When we feel stressed, we usually breathe quickly and shallowly. Take deep, full breaths
to help you relax and remain alert
Be attentive
As the person talks, give them your full attention and show sincere interest in what they’re
saying.
Remember to maintain eye contact and connection with them as they speak, and focus on
their main points.
Listen carefully
Genuinely listening to feedback shows others that you’re open to ideas and suggestions
for improvement. Give them a chance to give you the feedback without interrupting.
Nod your head to show you’re hearing what they say
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Be open
Don’t discourage the other person by being defensive or using negative body language:
scowling, frowning, eye-rolling, sighing, crossing your arms, etc. Respond in ways that
show you are happy to listen.
•  Use a sincere, concerned facial expression.
•  Keep your arms open (not crossed).
•  Make eye contact and keep your connection.
Be respectful
Even if you disagree with what the person is saying, be respectful of their opinions.
How to acknowledge and act on feedback
Create rapport by repeating or ‘mirroring’ back the person’s needs, main points, priorities,
thoughts, feelings, problems or questions. Acknowledging and confirming in this way
shows you’ve been paying attention and have understood them. It also gives them a
chance to clarify anything you’ve misunderstood.
Then take action!
Click on the tabs to find out how.
Focus on solutions
Some people will tell you what you did wrong, but won’t tell you how to fix it! If this is the
case, focus on the solutions.
Ask them how you and your team could improve the situation for them.
•  How can we do things better?
•  How can we improve?
•  How can we help you?
Using the word ‘we’ includes the other person in the solutions: ‘What can we do to resolve
this situation?’
Take time to think
It’s OK to say that you’d like time to think about the feedback. You might also want to get
a second opinion and request advice before responding.
Request advice
Ask others in your workgroup (including your supervisor) for advice on how to follow
through on the feedback you’ve been given.
Be proactive
Actions speak louder than words. Once you have received, acknowledged and confirmed
your feedback and asked all the questions you need, you’re ready to get started. Take
immediate action!
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What do you need to consider in the planning process?
In a fast-paced world that is ever-changing, it’s impossible to predict what your customers
will want or expect in five years’ time, let alone ten or fifteen years!
Click on the different life stages to learn how customer expectations change.
?  ‘Can I have a chocolate milkshake please?’
?  ‘Can I have a mocha please?’
?  ‘Can I have a skinny latte please?’
?  ‘Can I have a green tea please?’
What can you do?
Constantly revise and update your business plans to accommodate the changing needs
and expectations of society.
Make sure you recognise changes that can impact on the delivery of quality customer
service and allow for these in the planning process.
Click to the next screen to learn about what these are.
What factors impact on quality service planning?
Changes in your internal and external environments can impact on quality service
planning. Be sure to read up on any trends and changes that might affect your
organisation. Integrate your findings into any planning you do.
Click on the tabs to learn what changes to look for.
Internal changes
•  Management changes
•  Organisational restructures
•  Recruitment practices (employing trainees instead of experienced employees, for
example)
•  Introduction of new equipment (phone systems, kitchen appliances, computer systems,
cleaning equipment, etc.)
•  Technological changes affecting service delivery (new ordering system, booking
system, payment system, customer database, invoicing system, etc.)
External changes
•  Changes in the competitive environment (new competitor, competitors’ rate reductions,
price reductions, new premises, renovated premises, etc.)
•  Economic climate (this can reduce number of people spending money in the tourism,
travel, hospitality and events sector.)
•  Trends in customer preferences (more vegetarian and gluten-free meals, popularity of
certain holiday destinations, foods, beverages, etc.)
•  Introduction of new technologies (E-business is integral to every establishment and will
continue to change as technology advances.)
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How do you plan for quality customer service?
Be organised! Good plans incorporate not only establishing but regularly monitoring,
evaluating, reviewing and adjusting all components of the customer service system.
(You’ll learn more about how to do that in Section 3.)
Click on the gold coins to learn more about plans.
A plan
A plan is a map of how to efficiently and effectively get from where you are now to where
you want to be.
A strategic plan
Strategic plans guide your entire organisation in a particular direction.
They’re your long-term plans.
An operational plan
Operational plans help you support and implement a strategic plan.
They’re short-term plans which incorporate your team’s purpose, goals, objectives, targets
and measurements of success.
A good operational plan has purposeful, result-focused goals, objectives and targets. Use
the SMART acronym to help you do this.
Click to the next screen to learn more.
SMART goals
It’s your responsibility to take responsibility for customer service outcomes. To do this,
make sure you and your employees have SMART goals to aim for so you hit your targets
every time.
Click on the acronym letters to find out what a SMART goal consists of.
S
Specific
Goal is clear and related to a particular subject.
•  We reduce the number of customer complaints.
M
Measurable
Goal is easily quantifiable in terms of dollar amounts, percentages, numbers of increased
sales, reduced customer complaints, etc.
•  We reduce the number of customer complaints by 90%.
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A
Achievable
Goals are challenging, yet realistic.
Reducing customer complaints by 90% is too ambitious. It’s nearly impossible and would
discourage staff. Adjust goals to make them more attainable and motivating.
•  We reduce the number of customer complaints by 10%.
R
Relevant
Goals are connected to the work people do.
You wouldn’t give the security team the goal of reducing customer complaints. It has
nothing to do with their job.
They also need to be relevant to strategic plans.
T
Time framed
Set a specific date for reaching the goal.
If your team has a lot of synergy (glossary), you can reach goals very quickly once you
clarify them. Open up the possibility of crossing the finish line earlier than expected by
adding ‘or sooner’, ‘or earlier,’ ‘if not before’.
•  We reduce the number of customer complaints by 10% by the end of January or
sooner.
Hot tip
Every organisation has different plans, goals, objectives, systems and processes.
Wherever you work, create motivating, inspirational goals which support the organisation’s
mission. Write goals in the present ‘We increase sales’. Picture yourself reaching them in
the here and now. Don’t write goals in the future ‘We will increase sales’. If you do, they
will always be just out of reach.
How can you protect your plans?
Plans sometimes fail due to unforeseen circumstances. Protect the success of your plan
by spotting things that could go wrong, developing contingencies and ensuring staff have
the resources they need.
Click on the dot points to find out what these are.
?  Adequate numbers of trained staff
?  Safe, well-designed workspace
?  Sufficient time
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?  Adequate facilities
?  Equipment
?  Enough funding
?  Materials
Get your team on board!
Watch the video of Russell and learn why he needs to get his team on board.
‘Involve staff’
It’s crucial to involve staff in the development of customer service plans, goals and
practices. Teams are interdependent and have shared goals. Naturally, team members
must work together to achieve them.
‘Clear purpose’
Make sure your team’s purpose is clear. Why does your team exist? If necessary,
brainstorm with your team and write a short, clear mission statement together.
‘Create a SMART goal’
Create SMART goals in line with your purpose. Then, agree on ways you can all work
better together to achieve them.
‘Recognise staff’
Sometimes, it’s the small interactions that help a team work together effectively and
improve on a day-to-day basis: after work drinks, a morning tea, praise or recognition for a
job well done.
Why involve staff in developing customer service practices?
In a nutshell, it’s a sure-fire way to provide quality service! There are many more specific
reasons.
Click on the staff character to find out what they are.
Staff often have more frequent and the most direct contact with customers. Their insight
into customer needs and preferences is invaluable to the process of defining customer
service goals and objectives.
When employees invest psychologically in the organisation, they’re more loyal. They
identify with the organisation, are more proud to be a part of it, and make more effort to
present their employer in a positive light.
A participative approach encourages employees and managers to agree on desired
outcomes.
The process encourages employees to take responsibility for their own behaviour and
contribution to the workplace.
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Staff more fully understand practices when they’re directly involved in creating them. They
also work more conscientiously and take more initiative to resolve their own workplace
challenges.
If employees are consulted about customer service practices, they give customers a
better, more valuable experience. In turn, customers feel more loyal to the organisation,
so are less likely to take their business elsewhere.
Staff feel more engaged, enthusiastic, committed, productive when they’re actively
involved in decision-making.
How can staff participate in developing practices?
Provide them with opportunities to analyse current practices, identify key points of
customer contact, discuss how they could add value, or otherwise improve customer
service in these areas.
Click on the tabs to find out more.
Analyse current practices
Work together in teams to map your customer service cycle.
This is a cycle of activity that starts from when your customer is thinking about their
purchase and continues after you’ve delivered the product or service.
It usually involves all or some of the following.
•  Establishing contact (via website, email, phone, post, in person, etc.) and leaving a
good impression
•  Building rapport and establishing a friendly relationship
•  Presenting a product or service that meets their needs
•  Making the sale
•  Completing the sales transaction
•  Delivering the product or service
•  Offering to be of ongoing service
•  Monitoring customer satisfaction and resolving any complaints
•  Following up
Identify key points of customer contact
These are often called moments of truth (MOTs). They’re any contacts (personal or
electronic) a customer has with an organisation.
Get employees to list examples of these. It doesn’t matter how seemingly insignificant or
small the contact seems. Staff should make the most of every customer contact.
Add value and improve customer service
How can staff add value in every MOT? How can they make their customers feel
welcome, comfortable, understood and important?
•  Get employees to examine every MOT.
•  Ask them how they currently add value at these points.
•  Ask them how they could add more value to products or services at these points.
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•  Ask them if they can spot any other places where they could add value.
•  Systematise and standardise the value add in your customer service practices through
developing standards, policies and procedures.
Note
Successful organisations have clear standards, policies and procedures. But why are they
necessary?
Why have standards, policies and procedures?
It’s the organisation’s role to set quality assurance standards, policies and procedures. It’s
the responsibility of managers, supervisors and operational personnel to help develop
them and ensure they’re adhered to.
Watch the video of Russell and learn why Rafferty’s has standards, policies and
procedures.
Have you ever wondered if standards, policies and procedures are really necessary? After
all, shouldn’t more time be spent servicing customers rather than creating and updating
documents?
At Rafferty’s, we believe that standards help measure our excellence. Sticking to
measurable, verifiable standards helps ensure a consistently high level of staff
performance throughout the establishment. It also ensures that our products and services
are as free from defects as they possibly can be.
Without effective procedures, Rafferty’s would be chaos! No one would know what to do
or how to do it. Procedures mean that employees are knowledgeable. This results in
satisfied customers, improved reputation and improved customer service delivery. Not
only that, we meet our legal requirements as well!
What is Australian Consumer Law?
Any policies and procedures you develop must be in line with Australian Consumer Law
(ACL) which came into effect on 1 January 2011.
Its objective was to make sure that businesses have the same responsibilities and
consumers have the same protection across Australia. Basically, it protects customers
from unfair practices.
When customers purchase a product or service, certain guarantees or rights automatically
legally apply.
Click on the characters to learn about guarantees which relate to customer service.
Bona fide supplier
I’m guaranteed that the supplier has the right to be selling their service and will carry it out
with reasonable care and skill within a reasonable timeframe.
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Goods are of acceptable quality
Products I purchase should be acceptable in appearance and finish as well as fit for their
purpose, free from defects, safe and durable.
Descriptions are accurate
All descriptions of products and services should be accurate. The business needs to
supply me with products and services which match those described personally or in their
catalogues, TV commercials, etc. If they can’t, they need to substitute a suitable product
or service.
Right to a refund
If I cancel a service, I have the right to a refund minus any cancellation fees.
If I buy a product with a minor problem, the supplier can choose between providing a
repair, replacement or refund. If the problem is major, I have the right to a refund or
replacement. In either case, I would need to show proof of purchase (glossary).
Warnings given about cancellation fees
The business must tell me in advance if there’s a cancellation fee, how much it is, and in
what circumstances they charge it.
Standards, policies and procedures ensure that staff look after customers in a systematic,
consistent way when they deal with these issues and many others.
Each of these documents serves a different purpose.
Let’s learn about the differences between them over the next few screens.
Extend your learning
Visit the Australian Consumer Law website www.consumerlaw.gov.au and familiarise
yourself with the information available. In particular, click on the tab relating to ‘ACL and
your business’ and ‘ACL in a nutshell’.
What are standards?
Standards, as defined by law, relate to an industry benchmark or define an organisation’s
minimum acceptable level of performance.
Click on the tabs to learn about different types of standards.
ISO standards
The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) aims to ensure that there’s
continual improvement in operational consistency and performance in both production and
service delivery processes.
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The group is comprised of business professionals who determine quality standards criteria
between nations. The standards can relate to quality management, environmental
management, food safety, risk management, etc. These standards concentrate on
creating, documenting and implementing procedures to meet continuous improvement
aims.
You’ll learn more about ISO accreditation in Section 2.
Product standards
Most product standards are defined by law. Organisations can make sure these standards
are met by taking the following actions.
•  Systematically build quality into products and services.
•  Monitor for quality.
•  Design quality systems and processes.
•  Use qualitative and quantitative tools to pinpoint and resolve problems.
•  Streamline systems.
Service standards
Some service standards are defined by law, such as service guarantees and the
customer’s right to a refund or compensation under certain circumstances.
However, service standards can also reflect an organisation’s commitment to customer
service and the standard customers can expect.
Rafferty’s, for example, has internal presentation standards for:
•  the customer environment
•  customer service personnel
•  documents
•  promotional materials.
Performance/training standards
Customer-driven organisations, like Rafferty’s, set performance standards and then
provide training to close up gaps in performance in various areas such as:
•  customer service
•  complaint handling
•  technical skills
It’s through meeting performance standards that organisations can check if their training
programs are working.
Note
Once you have defined expected standards, you can then further document your vision in
the form of policies.
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What are policies?
Policies are broad guidelines to help staff deal with everyday operational issues and make
sure they follow codes of practice, regulations and laws. They outline what is acceptable
or unacceptable by the organisation’s standards. For example, Rafferty’s presentation
policy for customer service personnel contains rules on grooming, personal hygiene and
dress code.
Click on the desktop icons to learn about the characteristics and benefits of a well-
written policy.
Characteristics
•  Adhere to legislation.
•  Are in line with the organisation’s mission, values and standards.
•  Also aligned with industry schemes aimed at improving customer service, including
accreditation schemes and codes of conduct.
•  Clarify staff roles and responsibilities.
•  Help establish empowerment and accountability (procedures may also do this).
•  Ensure that decision-making and operational procedures are consistently and uniformly
carried out.
Benefits
•  Give staff protection in case of legal action.
•  Give the business a framework for planning.
•  Show that business is carried out in an efficient way.
•  Enable staff to handle problems quickly, saving the organisation time.
•  Assist with performance assessment.
What are procedures?
Policies describe what must happen. Procedures explain exactly how staff should perform
tasks and duties in order to comply with policies (and achieve a consistent end result!).
Russell is putting together a list of customer service procedures for new staff.
Click on each character reading the manual to learn the new service procedures.
?  Acknowledging and greeting customers: How do you address, greet and farewell
customers? What are designated response times and procedures for answering the
phone?
?  Empowerment of different levels of personnel: Who can offer a customer
compensation? Who resolves complaints, disputes and service issues?
?  Checking availability: How do you check availability? What do you do when a
customer requests an unavailable service or product?
?  Bookings and cancellations: How do you take bookings? How do you process
cancellations? Is there a fee? Under what circumstances can you waive the fee?
How and in what circumstances do you give customer refunds?
?  Deliveries: Who signs to accept deliveries? How do you deal with delivery of
damaged goods? How are deliveries stored?
?  Payment: What are preferred methods of payment, receipting procedures, etc.?
How do we implement customer reward programs for loyalty?
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?  Complaints and disputes: How do you deal with, record, report and follow up on
disputes?
?  Communication: What standard letters and pro formas do you use?
Hot tip
Always keep procedures up to date. As the organisation’s activities, customer needs and
technology change, so must the procedures associated with them. Why?
New staff use procedures to get practical information about how things are done in your
particular establishment.
What are the common characteristics of standards, policies
and procedures?
For your documented standards, policies and procedures to be successfully implemented,
they should abide by the law and also have certain key characteristics.
Click on the dot points to find out what these characteristics are.
?  Relevant
?  Current (updated regularly)
?  Written in collaboration with staff
?  Supported by training and induction
?  Readily available
How do you develop policies and procedures?
Follow a step-by-step process when developing policies and procedures for quality
service provision. This helps ensure their successful introduction and implementation in
your establishment. (More on this in Section 2.)
Click on the steps to follow the process.
Get senior management support
Before you write or change a policy or procedure, make sure your decision is endorsed
and supported by senior management (especially if the policy involves staff behaviour).
When upper management endorse and model policies, employees take them more
seriously.
Plan and consult
As you learned earlier, you should always involve your staff!
This helps them better understand when and how to use the policies. It also gives them a
sense of ownership, so they’re more likely to comply with them.
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When it comes to procedures, your staff are the people who carry them out on a day-to-
day basis. They’re the logical people to consult with to make tasks more efficient or to
help better clarify them for others.
Research and define
Have a look at a range of other policies from other organisations to give you ideas on
what to incorporate. Usually, a good workplace policy answers the following questions.
•  What’s the aim of the policy?
•  Who does the policy apply to?
•  What is acceptable behaviour? (Provide examples.)
•  What is unacceptable behaviour? (Provide examples.)
•  What procedures (if any) support the policy?
•  What are the consequences of not complying with the policy?
•  When was the policy developed and written?
•  When was the policy last updated?
•  When is the policy due for revision?
•  Define any key terms you use in the policy.
Write the policy
•  Use the answers to the questions to draft the policy.
•  Strike a balance here. Policies should be comprehensive. However, they also need to
be accessible (easy for employees to understand).
•  Write them in plain English and use a simple template. Get them translated for any
staff who don’t speak English as a first language.
Write the procedure
•  Again, write procedures in plain English and use a simple template. Get them
translated for any staff who don’t speak English as a first language.
•  Procedures relate to practical activities. Employees refer to them regularly, so write
them even more simply than policies. Keep them clear and concise: a flow chart,
outline of steps, dot point procedure, picture sequence, etc.
•  Sometimes procedures are incorporated into policies, but you can also document them
separately for posting on walls or inclusion into manuals.
Extend your learning
Spend a few minutes searching the Internet for ‘sample policies and procedures’. There
are many different ways to write them and there are hundreds of different topics to write
them for. Which ones are easier to read? Can you see why writing policies and procedures
is important? Do you think there is a task in your workplace or training environment that
requires a written policy and procedure? If so, what?
End of section
You have reached the end of Section 1.
Click to the next section to continue.
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Manage the delivery
of quality service
Let’s look at what you will learn on completion of this section.
•  Communicate policies, procedures and expectations to colleagues.
•  Make policies readily available to customers.
•  Monitor customer service in the workplace to ensure standards are met.
•  Initiate internal or external staff training to enhance customer service.
•  Take responsibility for service outcomes and dispute resolution.
•  Act as a positive role model for professional standards expected of service industry
personnel.
Are you ‘in the know’ or ‘in the dark’?
Click on the light switch to find out.
Ever fumbled around your house in the pitch dark looking for a light switch? Worse yet,
ever done the same in a completely unfamiliar place? Frustrating isn’t it? And even a little
spooky … .
How does it feel when you find the switch, flick it on, and illuminate the room? What a
relief! How much easier would it be if there was someone guiding you?
Workplaces are just like this. Learning to navigate new territory can be daunting. Different
organisations often have different procedures for completing the same tasks. Once
someone ‘sees the light’ and learns how things are done, it seems easy. Until then, they
could struggle for a long time in the dark!
Don’t let colleagues feel lost like this, or think it makes you look good if someone else
fails. If you’re in the know about systems, procedures (or even where the light switches
are!) in your workplace, it’s up to you to advise others and volunteer your help.
Communicate!
Policies and procedures clarify your organisation’s expectations of employees and its
inner workings to customers. Don’t keep people in the dark. Communicate with and
enlighten them.
Click on the FAQs about communicating policies and procedures.
‘Who  do  you  communicate  to  about  policies,  procedures  and
expectations?’
All internal customers including volunteers, casuals, part-time workers, full-time workers
and even those on maternity or long service leave.
2.0
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In a customer-driven organisation, external customers should have easy access to
policies too. Train staff to locate information quickly and efficiently should a customer
require it.
‘What policies should be readily available to customers?’
Make certain customers are aware of no-show policies. This refers to the conditions and
charges applied when a guest doesn’t show for a reservation. Often, they’re charged the
equivalent of one night’s room fee.
Here are other policies customers should definitely know about.
•  Dress codes
•  Cancellation policies
•  Package inclusions
•  Sales & promotions conditions
•  Public holiday surcharges
•  Taxes and gratuities
•  No smoking policies
How can you make policies readily available?
Keep policies where they’re highly visible and easily accessible to both staff and
customers.
•  Signage in your establishment
•  On your website
•  In booking forms (both hard copy and online)
•  In all contracts provided to customers
•  Folders in a central location
•  In common staff areas
•  In staff manuals
•  On the Intranet
‘How do you communicate policies and procedures to staff?’
Each company will have a preferred option and can vary depending on the workplace
environment.
•  Distribute hard copies.
•  Send in emails.
•  Conduct staff information sessions.
•  Organise informal coaching.
•  Initiate formal staff training sessions.
•  Announce at staff meetings.
•  Incorporate into employee induction.
•  Provide them in a staff handbook.
•  Role-play different customer service scenarios.
•  Be a positive role model and mentor.
‘How can you remind staff about procedures?’
Post frequently used procedural information on walls and bulletin boards in locations
where they’re needed.
•  Hand washing procedures above the sink
•  Safe equipment operation above the equipment itself
•  PPE (glossary) required in staff change rooms
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How do you explain policies and procedures?
If customers don’t understand your policies and procedures, you’ll end up swamped with
complaints. If team members don’t comply with regulations, what do you end up with?
Dirty hotel rooms, poorly plated up food, late tour buses, long customer queues, injured
workers, sick customers. The list is endless!
If you’re in charge of managing service delivery like that, you won’t be in your job for long!
But how do you explain so people ‘get it’?
Watch the video of Russell and learn why explaining policies and procedures is important.
Communicate policies and procedures so everyone understands them … for your own
good as well as that of your organisation, staff and customers.
When dealing with staff, explain why the policy or procedure is important. What are the
benefits of following it? What could go wrong if you don’t? If kitchen hands know they
could lose a finger if they don’t assemble the meat slicer correctly, they’re more likely to
do it.
Then, explain what to do and how as simply and clearly as possible.
Allow staff opportunities to ask questions after you explain the main points of a policy or
describe a major step in a procedure. Let them know that there’s no such thing as a stupid
question. It’s better to ask than to remain ‘in the dark’.
When communicating policies and procedures to customers, connect personally. There’s
nothing worse than a staff member who robotically spiels off the returns policy!
Finally, check they’ve understood you. Click to the next screen to learn how.
How do you check understanding?
With customers, get confirmation that they understand the policy or procedure and it’s OK
with them. With staff, turn the tables! Get them to explain to you.
Click on the tabs to learn different ways you can do this.
Physical demonstration
•  Ask workers to demonstrate practical tasks: using the three-plate carrying technique,
taking a reservation, assembling equipment, cleaning work areas, entering a booking
for an event, using PPE, disposing of waste, checking deliveries, completing
documentation, etc.
•  Ask them to show you how they do the task.
•  Observe them closely.
•  Identify ways their physical demonstration varies from standard organisational
procedures.
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Role-play
•  If employees are having trouble with a customer service task, get them to role-play it
with you.
•  You can do this with many common scenarios in the workplace: answering the phone,
selling a product, promoting a service, resolving conflict, dealing with complaints,
taking orders, etc.
•  Spot ways the staff member’s communication, body language, attitude or behaviour
varies from standard organisational policies and procedures.
Verbal explanation
Get the person to describe what they know or can do.
•  Say how they would resolve a case study.
•  Explain a common procedure step by step.
•  Describe legislative, WHS or hygiene requirements which relate to certain tasks they
do.
Actively listen to their answers, check they’re correct, pinpoint gaps in their knowledge or
ways their descriptions vary from organisational requirements.
Q & A
Ask employees questions to demonstrate their knowledge of policies and procedures.
•  How often do we need to perform cleaning tasks?
•  When do you need to use PPE?
•  What are the components of this machine? How do you safely disassemble it?
•  What do you know about this product/service?
•  What are the principles of good communication/selling?
•  Why is this task necessary?
•  Which of these waste products could we recycle? Which bins do they go in?
•  Who could you contact for help with problems?
Spot gaps in their knowledge that you can work on together.
What if they don’t understand?
Some employees won’t remember any information past the point where they didn’t
understand or misunderstood. Go over the whole process again if necessary.
•  Remind them why the policy or procedure is important.
•  Tell them that you’re going to repeat your explanation and demonstration.
•  Remind them that they can interrupt and question you at any time.
•  Encourage them to ask the moment they don’t understand something.
•  Explain what to do and how.
•  Make sure that you check for understanding and give them a chance to ask questions
after every major step as you learned earlier.
•  Go over a specific part of the policy or procedure again, if necessary, until they
understand.
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Hot tip
Encourage your staff to use these methods of explaining and checking understanding
when coaching internally. (More on this later in this section.)
Remind them that some people are kinaesthetic learners. They learn by doing rather than
watching or listening. If you think this is the case with one of your staff members, you
might skip the explanation itself and just demonstrate so they can copy you.
How do you monitor customer service?
Customer service is measured by the organisation’s standards. Review your progress
against your goals using Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). They’re quantifiable,
measurable ways to check and improve the performance of organisations, departments,
teams and individuals.
They’re crucial to maintaining a performance management culture.
Click on the icon to learn measurements you can use.
?  Organisational standards
?  Percentages
?  Speeds
?  Numerical increases
?  Numerical decreases
Note
Russell and the team at Rafferty’s use measurements like these to evaluate their
performance, productivity and delivery of quality service. They always make sure their
KPIs are SMART. Click to the next screen for some examples.
How do you assess and evaluate customer service?
Remember, customer service may be provided in many modes: face-to-face, on the
telephone, via emails, through written communications, online, etc.
Good managers monitor, measure and evaluate employee progress in all of these areas
to make sure they’re meeting KPIs.
As the old saying goes, ‘You can’t manage what you can’t measure.’
Click on the different staff to find out how Russell is monitoring customer service.
‘We’re reducing the number of mistakes I make with bookings. Currently, 20% of my
bookings have errors. I’d like 90% of bookings I process to be error-free within the next six
months, so I really need to double check my entries before submitting them.’
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‘We’re making sure I sharpen my knives before every use to stop them slipping and to
reduce injury. We’re also increasing my cutting speed. I even have a timer!’
‘My team leader is spot-checking my rooms. I’m checking the duties off against the task
list as I clean so I don’t miss anything. We’re aiming to increase rates of customer
satisfaction with cleanliness of rooms to 95% by March.’
‘We’re checking the number of times I answer the phone within three rings. I’ve only been
meeting designated response times 75 out of 100 calls. We’re aiming for 80.’
Who can monitor customer service?
If staff aren’t meeting standards, your whole customer service delivery system is in
jeopardy. Get your whole team involved in monitoring customer service in the workplace
to ensure standards are met.
Before you initiate internal or external staff training, you must identify your workers’
training needs. You can do this in a number of ways.
Click on the characters to see what these are.
?  Employee request
?  Your observation
?  Colleague direction
All of them involve monitoring! Let’s learn more about them over the next few screens.
Employee request
Motivated staff often monitor and assess themselves! They’re aware of performance gaps
in their customer service delivery, can pinpoint the training they need, and ask for it.
Click on Rafferty’s staff to see how they do this.
I feel a little unsure about the new reservation system. I keep making mistakes with the
bookings. Could I have more training?
I’m having trouble keeping up with the workload. Could someone show me how to cut
vegetables more quickly without cutting myself?
Two of my tour guides aren’t getting along. It’s affecting our customer service. I need a
step-by-step conflict resolution process that really works.
Your observation
Regularly monitor all components of the customer service system, including staff. Identify
any gaps in people’s knowledge or skills base. Listen to colleagues’ frustrations so you
can initiate training without them having to ask.
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Click on the staff members to see how they express their frustration.
Argh! This new reservation system is driving me crazy. I liked the old one so much better!
Ouch! That’s the third time this week I’ve banged my head on the hanging pots and pans.
I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I can’t believe I’ve dropped another tray of drinks! I’ll
get the mop …
Will you guys stop arguing and just get on with the job? Customers are complaining about
your bickering. What am I going to do with you?
Colleague direction
Colleagues naturally monitor each other and notice skill and knowledge gaps. When they
report these, encourage coaching (more on this in a minute.) When Russell was on leave,
his replacement didn’t take responsibility for customer service outcomes and ignored
workers’ reports.
Click on the pictures to see the staff complaints and consequences!
The new housekeeping room attendant isn’t cleaning the hotel rooms well enough or
making the beds properly.
The new bus driver seems to find our roster and timetables confusing.
The new kitchen hand doesn’t know how to fit the safety guard on the meat slicer.
The new gift shop assistant doesn’t understand security procedures or answer the phone
quickly enough.
How do you discuss and resolve systemic customer service
problems?
Watch the video of Russell and find out.
To manage the delivery of quality service, you need to facilitate effective two-way
communication. This means being courteous, helpful, sensitive and respectful. It also
means knowing how to ask the right questions and listen actively to the answers!
To gather information about customer service problems and your employees’ training
needs, there are two types of questions you can use: open questions and reflective
questions.
Each has its advantages when used in the right way at the right time.
You can also use these questions to confirm your employees’ understanding of policies
and procedures.
Click to the next screen to find out about these different questioning styles.
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Open questions
If you’ve identified a customer service issue and the need for training based on your
observations or someone else’s, use open questions to start discussions with the
employee(s) involved. This encourages them to be open about any problems they’re
having as well as their needs, thoughts and feelings.
Click on the checkboxes for examples of open questions.
?  So what do you think of the new reservation system?
?  How are you going with all the cutting methods you’ve learned?
?  There might be some equipment here that’s new to you. What kind of training might
be helpful?
?  How do you feel your team is tracking at the moment?
?  How comfortable are you with the security system? Roster system? Booking
system? Using PPE? Our hygiene procedures?
Reflective questions
You usually ask reflective questions after open questions to further clarify employees’
training needs. This involves two steps. First, paraphrase the staff member’s answer to
your original question. Then, ask another question.
What are some examples of first paraphrasing and then asking?
Here’s where you get more specific about what the employee can and cannot do. Where
possible, acknowledge (or get them to acknowledge!) what they already know. Then, spot
what they don’t know.
Click on each tab to see an example of this.
Paraphrase what your colleague said  Ask another question
You said you’re a little uncomfortable with
the new reservations system.
What aspects of it are working well for you?
What specifically is giving you trouble?
You mentioned that you’re having trouble
cutting vegetables quickly enough and that
you’re cutting yourself.
How are you looking after your knives?
Which cutting techniques are giving you the
most problems?
I understand it’s frustrating when co-workers
don’t get along.
What conflict resolution techniques have you
used successfully before? At what point are
they breaking down with these particular
team members?
Listen actively
When you’re a manager, it’s not enough to nod your head and smile. You need to really
keep track of what workers are saying. That way, you can paraphrase accurately and
pinpoint customer service problems and associated training needs.
Click on the tabs to learn some active listening skills.
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Pay attention!
As they talk, give them your full attention. Don’t let yourself be distracted by other duties.
Show sincere interest in helping them.
Listen to their tone of voice. This gives you clues about their priorities and uncertainties.
Look at their body language to understand what they’re thinking and how they’re feeling.
Look them in the eye
Remember to maintain eye contact and connection with them as they speak, and focus on
their main points.
Be a mirror
Create rapport by repeating or ‘mirroring’ back the person’s needs, main points, priorities,
thoughts, feelings, problems or questions. If you paraphrase skilfully, they won’t even
notice you’re doing it.
There are many ways to do this. Here are a couple of examples.
•  OK. So it sounds like you’re having trouble with …
•  So if I understand you right, you’d like training on …
•  From what you’re saying, it sounds like I could help you by coaching you in …
This shows you’re paying attention and understand them. It also gives them a chance to
clarify anything you’ve misunderstood.
Take notes
Ask if it’s OK to take notes while they talk, especially in the following circumstances.
•  Training needs are extensive.
•  You’re afraid you’ll forget something.
•  They have a specific question you need to get back to them about.
•  You need to liaise with others to conduct the training.
•  There are specific resources you must remind yourself to get for them.
Communication in action!
Yesterday, Kym the head of wait staff in Rafferty’s Restaurant, observed a frustrated new
employee. Let’s see how she discussed and identified training needs.
Click on the comic to begin.
Hey, Kate. Great to have you on board. How are you going?
Hi, Kym. Well, thanks! It’s a great place to work. Busy!
Yeah, full on sometimes. Your three-plate carrying technique is really good. That helps
heaps. How are you finding serving drinks?
Well, I’m OK loading drinks onto trays, but when I carry and serve them, they tend to fall.
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It’s good you’re loading drinks well. It’s easy to drop them when carrying and serving,
though, especially if they’re all different sizes or weights.
Click on the icon to turn the page.
When you’re carrying, do you find the tray gets too heavy? Or are you crashing into
people and dropping them?
I’ve never thought about it. Both I guess. And then when I serve, the tray unbalances.
Everyone else makes it look so easy!
Look, it’s perfectly normal. Ask anyone. We’ve all spilt drinks! I can give you a few
pointers to make it easier if you like.
That’d be great! Thanks!
How can you initiate internal staff training?
Once you know what employees’ needs are, you can initiate training (on the job training,
in-services, mentoring, coaching, etc.). The interaction between Kym and Kate is a perfect
example of internal training using a coach.
Watch the video of Kym to find out more.
Are you surprised that I’m the coach? Of course, coaches can be supervisors, managers
or even people with whistles, but they don’t have to be.
A coach can be anyone with the required skills and knowledge who can demonstrate or
communicate their abilities to others so they can also achieve a high level of competency.
Managers don’t want trainees to learn substandard procedures, so when it comes to
choosing coaches, people with good work habits are the first in line.
In reality, staff members also coach each other as the need arises, particularly if a
colleague is about to do something that could harm themselves or someone else. So what
exactly is coaching?
Click to the next screen to find out.
What is coaching?
Coaching is one-on-one training that helps workers gain the skills and knowledge
necessary to do their jobs to organisational standards (and enhance customer service!).
Coaching increases workers’ skill levels, improves their success, builds your business’s
reputation, and even prevents accidents.
Click on the icon to find out more.
Coaching has many advantages over formal training.
It’s practical, realistic and can happen spontaneously when needed.
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The worker is motivated to learn because they need the skill immediately.
The trainer can easily tell what the trainee is doing wrong and correct it.
Usually, in the tourism, hospitality and events industry, coaching involves tasks that don’t
require any formal training: cleaning a hotel room,
•  dicing a tomato,
•  taking a booking, or
•  serving food and drinks.
What about more formal training?
Sometimes formal training is also necessary to enhance customer service.
Click on the icon to learn more about different types of training.
?  Attending seminars
?  Attending conferences
?  Participating in webinars
?  Distance learning
?  Self-directed study
?  Vocational education and training
?  University
?  Using the services of a professional training consultants to provide customised in-
house training.
How do you assess and evaluate staff?
Part of taking responsibility for customer service outcomes is observing employees to
assess and evaluate their competency. Have they reached the objective? Are they
performing well against a measurable standard?
How you determine this depends on what they’re learning. These are some of the tools
you can use to evaluate and assess.
•  Demonstrations and observations
•  Oral questions
•  Written questions
•  Multiple choice questions
•  True/false questions
•  Oral reports
•  Written reports
•  Role-plays
•  Simulations
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Training evaluation/progress form
Training evaluation/progress report
Trainee: ______________________________________________________________
Trainer: _______________________________________________________________
Date: _________________________________________________________________
Objective: _____________________________________________________________
4 – Above standard  1 – Unacceptable
3 – Meets standard  0 – Not responding to training
2 – Improvement needed
Item Performance criteria (What does the trainer expect to see
the trainee doing in this coaching session?)
0  1  2  3  4
10 
Trainer comments (including any feedback given and/or problems encountered):
_____________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________
Trainer’s signature ___________________________ Date _____________________
Trainee’s signature ___________________________ Date _____________________
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Mind the gap (and take responsibility for it)!
If there’s a gap between expected and actual customer service performance, be very
careful when evaluating and determining the reason. It’s a mistake to blame poor
customer service outcomes on a worker’s ‘bad attitude’. Why?
Because it places your focus on their personality (something you can’t change) rather
than on other factors or their behavior (things you can change).
Click on the icon to learn factors that cause gaps between expected and actual
outcomes.
?  Limited or old equipment
?  Resource constraints
?  Indequate facilities
?  Lack of materials
?  Poorly designed workspace
?  Inefficient procedures
?  Inappropriate job design
?  Lack of training
What can I do about it?
There’s no point in making the effort to monitor customer service in your workplace and
identify performance gaps if you’re not going to do anything about them!
Take responsibility for service outcomes by addressing the factors that actually cause
them (rather than blaming your employees).
Over the next several screens we will learn how to handle resource constraints and
resolve disputes.
How can you deal with resource constraints?
Work with your team to resolve resource constraints before they create large- scale
customer service problems.
Click on the targets to learn what you should aim for when dealing with resource
constraints.
?  If you don’t have the authority to fix the problem entirely, do whatever you can within
the scope of your job role to alleviate the situation.
?  Acknowledge the problem of limited resources together as a team.
?  Create an environment where the problem is safe to discuss.
?  Discuss the resource constraints without blaming, criticising or judging others.
?  Brainstorm solutions and decide on an action plan.
?  Follow your plan and monitor your progress.
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How can you solve problems with resource constraints?
Now that we’ve looked at some general ideas about dealing with resource constraints,
let’s see how to take responsibility for solving specific problems. Keep in mind that you
may have to adjust policies and procedures to improve service quality.
Click on the pictures to find out more.
Equipment
Share equipment with your workgroup. If you aren’t using it, put it back where it belongs
so someone else can! Develop a schedule which allocates certain people or departments
specific times to use designated equipment.
Facilities
There’s nothing worse than wasting your entire lunch time waiting to use the staff
microwave or in a queue in the ladies’ toilet. Stagger break times so existing facilities
aren’t overcrowded.
The facilities you use largely depend on your business. Devise a schedule for sharing
conference rooms, using recreational facilities, accessing storage areas, etc. to avoid
conflict over them.
Materials
You should conserve resources wherever possible. This includes minimising use of
materials as well as reusing them.
Space
Space is always at a premium.
•  Reduce clutter that takes up unnecessary space.
•  Use better storage systems to free up existing space.
•  Use mirrors or change the colour of your work area to create a feeling of spaciousness.
•  Reorganise furniture.
•  Allow people to work from home to free up office space.
Time
Time constraints exist to get everyone on track to meet the needs of the organisation in a
cost-effective and efficient manner.
Manage your time, and plan carefully to make sure you meet your deadlines.
People
People are one of an organisation’s most precious resources. It is important for a
business to have an adequate number of qualified staff.
Understaffing results in more stress for workers, higher chance of errors and increased
complaints. Do your best to work with whatever number of people you have on your team,
but if you need more help, don’t be afraid to ask.
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How do you avoid messy disputes?
Service outcomes aren’t the only concerns of managers. Issues sometimes arise between
colleagues, and customers inevitably have problems.
Click on the TV to learn how to prevent a big mess.
A shaken bottle of soda explodes if you open it quickly.
Usually, there’s a warning hissing sound first. If you ignore it, you end up with a mess!
If you recognise the warning signs and deal with it appropriately, voilà! Success!
The same is true of your customers. Customer dissatisfaction is like that hissing sound. If
you recognise the warning, you can take action to prevent it escalating into a complaint
(and possibly erupting into messy, explosive conflict.
Click to the next screen to find out how.
How do you recognise customer dissatisfaction?
Be proactive and identify the warning signs. When they’re upset about something, internal
and external customers change their normal way of behaving. When this happens, take
swift action to resolve or refer the issue before it escalates.
Click on the customers to learn about the different signs to look out for.
Obvious signs
Sometimes the signs are obvious. You can tell just by looking at the person that they
aren’t happy about something.
•  Agitation or irritation in their facial expression: a long stare, angry look
•  Angry, aggressive, closed body language and gestures
•  Hostility, anger or resentment in their tone of voice
•  Raised voice
•  Choice of words
Subtle signs
Conflict is less obvious when people avoid the problem by bottling up their emotions.
Ultimately, this behaviour is destructive because these emotions remain and continue to
influence behaviour until the problem is resolved.
Here are some subtle signs to look out for
•  Avoiding interaction with others
•  Lack of cooperation or participation
•  Working below capacity
•  Inability to speak calmly
•  Being unusually quiet, cool or calm
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Note
No matter how hard you try, you can’t avoid disputes and complaints altogether. When
they happen, see them as an opportunity to improve rather than a problem.
We’ll learn how to deal with disputes and complaints over the next couple of screens. Click
to the next screen to begin.
How do you take responsibility for dispute resolution?
Click on the workers at Rafferty’s to see problems they’re having in the workplace.
Personal disagreements
‘Who’s more important? My family? Or his soccer team? Our manager approved his
leave, but not mine. So unfair! Everyone took sides. This leave time issue is an ongoing
problem which has a serious effect on team performance.’
Grievances
‘We discovered we all had different rates of pay for doing the same job. It was a disaster
for morale. Teams suffer when workers have grievances about an aspect of their
employment: pay, job requirements, work conditions, collective bargaining agreements,
etc.’
Not maintaining standards
‘Our new team member, Rita, just doesn’t care about maintaining high standards. We’re
always apologising for her sloppy work and fixing up her errors. We‘re tired of working so
hard to compensate for her laziness. It’s a constant issue among us.’
Communication breakdowns
‘Working in a culturally diverse workplace has many benefits, but can also be a source of
conflict. Our workgroup has experienced communication breakdowns between people of
different generations, countries and religions.’
Violence
‘Our new kitchen hand is really hot-tempered and doesn’t know how to handle conflict.
He’s punched the wall in a rage a couple of times. No one likes working with him. We’re
afraid of what he might do.’
Bullying
‘I sometimes have problems with spelling. My team thinks it’s funny to constantly ridicule
me about that. They even forwarded one of my emails around work so everyone could
laugh at my mistakes. I felt so humiliated. They mimic the way I talk and all get up to leave
when I try to join them for lunch.’
Discrimination
‘I’m the only woman on the team, so it’s my responsibility to make everyone coffee, do the
washing up and answer the phone. They say women are better at all those things, and
they’re putting my skills to good use. I didn’t go to university to learn to make coffee!’
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Dealing with issues and problems
There is a five-step procedure to appropriately deal with difficulties.
Click on the steps to find out more.
Step 1
Discuss and define the problem
Discuss the problem as openly and honestly as you can. While doing so, show respect
and empathy towards each person and consider their viewpoints.
Let everyone involved explain their perspective. This helps you gather the facts necessary
to define exactly what the source of the conflict is.
Step 2
Confirm the problem
Paraphrase and ask questions to make sure everyone agrees on what the problem is.
The problem is X. Is that right?
The issue is X. Do we all agree on that?
The conflict is about X. Does everyone agree?
If anyone disagrees, go back to Step 1.
Step 3
Brainstorm solutions
Brainstorm solutions to resolve the conflict quickly and effectively. Give your input and
suggest possible ways of dealing with the problem appropriately.
‘I think we should…’
‘How about we…?’
‘What about…?’
‘Let’s…’
‘Maybe we should consider…’
Step 4
Agree and take action
Agree on the best solution, taking everyone’s needs and organisational constraints into
account.
Be patient. This process may take several weeks. Forcing solutions on people leads to
resentment. All parties must agree and do their part to achieve a positive outcome.
It’s important to take action and implement the solution. Don’t just keep talking about it.
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Step 5
Follow up on outcomes
Are you getting the result you wanted? Problems can re-appear if no one follows up on
this! What seemed reasonable during the negotiation stage may not be working.
Take time to follow up on outcomes. How is everyone feeling? Are there signs of conflict
reappearing?
What do customers complain about?
To respond to customer complaints positively, sensitively and politely, it helps to know
what they typically complain about.
Click on the dot points to find out.
?  Problems with the service, such as delays or incorrect orders.
?  Unmet expectations of products and services
?  Incorrect pricing or quotes
?  Other team members or suppliers not providing for special requests
?  Misunderstandings or communication barriers
?  Problems or faults with the product
How can you calm and reassure a complaining customer?
Train staff to maintain a positive and cooperative manner at all times. By following a
number of points, you can establish the facts, calm and reassure the customer, and work
towards an agreeable solution.
Click on the pictures to learn how.
Actively listen
Customers express anger and frustration in a variety of ways. Some will shout, pound the
counter and generally make a scene. Others may be rude, sarcastic, arrogant or
demanding. Still others may hide their feelings and appear to be quite controlled and
calm.
The best way to diffuse the customer’s anger is simply to listen. Allow them to get their
feelings off their chest so you can begin to establish the facts. This first step helps you
deal with both the facts and the emotions surrounding the complaint.
Don’t argue
Avoid the temptation to argue. This will inflame any emotion the customer is feeling. You
might win the argument but lose the customer’s business as a result.
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Show concern
Show the customer you understand their feelings and are concerned about what has
happened. Communicate this using a phrase like ‘I understand why you are annoyed. I’m
sure I would feel the same way if this happened to me’.
Use appropriate body language
Use open and non-threatening body language. A defensive stance (folding your arms,
rolling your eyes, turning your back or putting your hands on your hips) is sure to enrage
the customer. Rather than calming and reassuring them, you are more likely to end up in
a heated argument.
Use open hand gestures. Face the customer when they are speaking to you and give
them your full attention.
Ask questions
Questioning establishes the nature, possible cause and details of the complaint. The more
information you gather, the easier it will be to establish a course of action for resolving the
complaint.
As you want to get your customer talking, open and reflective questions work best when
dealing with complaints.
An open question could be, ‘What can I do to compensate you for the inconvenience?’
A reflective question could be: ‘You mentioned that the waiter was rude to you. What did
he say to offend you?’
Acknowledge the complaint
Regardless of whether or not you think the customer has a valid complaint, acknowledge
what they are saying and feeling, and avoid trivialising what is important to them.
Say things that encourage the customer to talk about their concerns, such as ‘I see’, ‘I
understand how you must feel’, or, ‘That’s terrible’.
Verify your understanding
Verify your understanding by repeating or summarising what the customer has said, ‘So
you said you booked a table for 10 adults and a baby, but the table provided only sits six
adults and no infants, so you are naturally concerned about everyone having a seat.’
By rephrasing or summarising what the customer has told you, you are reassuring them
that their complaint has been heard and understood.
Apologise
Apologising to a customer can help calm the situation and ease their frustration. The fact
a customer has complained means that they think the organisation is at fault. You can be
sure they are expecting an apology.
Once you have established the facts, you may find that the problem has been caused by
something the customer has done. The customer may have failed to fully explain their
needs, misunderstood information provided by the establishment, given the organisation
incorrect information, or failed to read instructions.
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If the customer is at fault, apologise for the fact the customer has been inconvenienced.
Avoid embarrassing, belittling or blaming the customer. Focus on what can be done to
resolve their problem.
Why follow complaint-handling policies and procedures?
Watch the video of Russell to find out.
When a customer complains, it means that you haven’t met their expectations about a
product or some aspect of service.
They’ll judge your organisation on how you investigate and handle complaints. Following
your specific organisation’s clear policies and procedures ensures that you not only
resolve complaints professionally, but are seen to resolve them professionally (and in
accordance with the law!).
Check your organisation’s guidelines so you know exactly what to do when confronted
with an angry customer. This ensures that customers receive consistent care and that
you, other staff and the establishment are personally and legally protected.
Let’s have a look at how complaints can be handled over the next few screens.
How can you resolve complaints?
Once you have listened to the customer, calmed and reassured them, you need to take
action. The actions are similar to those managers take when resolving staff disputes.
Make sure staff resolve complaints according to their individual empowerment and
organisational policy. Ensure they consult with the customer about solutions.
Click on the steps to see the best course of action.
Step 1: Identify and confirm the problem
Identifying the problem isn’t enough for you to resolve the issue. You need to establish
and confirm all the facts to determine what’s happened to cause the complaint. This may
mean speaking to other staff, referring to records, or asking the customer for more
information.
Step 2: Consult the customer to seek solutions
Sometimes the customer will explain what they want or even demand it! Other times the
customer will complain but not propose a solution. The customer will continue to be
dissatisfied unless a fair solution is found. Remember that what one customer considers
‘fair’ may be completely different for the next.
There’s more than one way to resolve a problem. The trick is finding the solution that best
satisfies the customer.
Step 3: Refer to the complaints procedure
The action you take must comply with the establishment’s complaint-handling policy and
procedure. Most establishments have a system for recording and reporting complaints,
and employees have varying levels of authority depending on their position.
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Be aware of your limitations. Never make promises you cannot keep or offer the customer
something that is outside your level of authority.
This may mean referring the customer to your manager, establishment owner or more
senior personnel.
Step 4: Explain what action you propose to take
Involving the customer at every stage of the resolution process is essential. Don’t tell the
customer what you think they want to hear. Tell them honestly what action you intend to
take to rectify the situation.
Step 5: Seek customer approval and satisfaction
The customer won’t always be happy with your chosen course of action. They might have
different expectations about what should happen to compensate them.
Remember your primary goal is to resolve the problem to the customer’s satisfaction. This
may mean further negotiations and compromise with the customer, until both parties have
reached a mutual decision about the best action to take in the circumstances.
Seeking customer approval is as simple as asking them if they’re happy with the course of
action you’ve described.
Step 6: Take agreed action
Next, it’s time to take action and implement the steps you agreed to take. The customer
has already lodged one complaint. This is your chance to make things right and restore
your reputation and relationship with the customer.
Obviously the action you take depends on the nature of the complaint and what you have
agreed to do for the customer.
Keep the customer informed throughout the process. They shouldn’t have to chase you or
other staff to find out what action has been taken. If you encounter problems or delays, let
the customer know. They’ll be more understanding if you maintain honest and open
communication with them.
Step 7: Follow up with the customer
Once the agreed action has been taken, follow up with the customer to make sure they’re
happy with the end result. This might mean writing them a letter or email, sending them a
survey or contacting them on the telephone.
The purpose of following up with the customer is to find out if you've resolved the situation
to their satisfaction. Have you restored your relationship and their trust in the
establishment’s ability to provide excellent customer service?
Step 8: Record the incident
Depending on the nature of the complaint, you might need to document the incident. A
customer complaining that their food took too long would not warrant documentation.
However, an incident that may have caused injury to a person should always be
documented.
For example, if a customer injured themselves on a tour, they could decide to follow
through with litigation against the establishment. By documenting this information, the
facts are written down. This may prove useful in case of a legal claim.
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Why be a positive role model?
Good managers lead, inspire, empower and enable employees. Modelling the
professional standards, attitudes and attributes expected of service industry personnel
benefits you in many ways.
Click on the tabs to find out what they are.
Increased inner satisfaction
When I think of service, I usually think of helping another person. When I serve staff and
customers, I meet their needs so they feel happier than they did before, and I feel a sense
of inner satisfaction too.
Increased job satisfaction
When I go above and beyond the call of duty for my customers, they refer us to their
family and friends. When I go the extra mile for my staff and back them up, they really
appreciate it and come to the party when I need them.
Knowing that, I feel really satisfied and motivated to come to work every day. That’s not
my only motivation, though.
Increased motivation
Last year my team’s success rate in meeting customer service targets was 95%, so I got a
bonus. If I can do better next year, I’ll get a pay rise and maybe a promotion. That, plus
the happiness of my customers, motivates me to do even better.
Increased loyalty
Our staff and customers are really loyal, and I feel loyal to them too. The Mendoza family
has been coming here for years. It’s been lovely watching their kids grow up and learn to
ski.
Increased team spirit
There’s a common spirit that seems to permeate the whole organisation. We’re
enthusiastic and really devoted to each other and our customers. I suppose that comes
from the top. We’re good to each other and to our customers.
What does the service industry expect from you?
The tourism, hospitality and events sectors require you to have a commitment to
continuous improvement. You also need certain attributes to enable you to work well with
customers.
Click on the question marks to find out what's expected of you.
Step 1: Follow industry codes of conduct
Step 2: Participate in industry accreditation schemes
Step 3: Have a positive attitude
Step 4: Be committed to continuous improvement
Step 5: Be responsible and accountable
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STEP 1: FOLLOW INDUSTRY
CODES OF CONDUCT
Policies and procedures often refer to compliance with industry codes of practice and
accreditation schemes. When an establishment does this, they're basically saying 'their
rules are our rules also'.
Be aware of what’s contained in the codes of practice and the requirements of the
accreditation schemes to which your establishment subscribes.
It's the role of industry associations to keep up to date with legislative changes, new
developments and improvements that are implemented throughout your industry.
Keeping a regular check on their website activity ensures you have the latest information.
It also helps you identify any changes or improvements that need to be made to existing
policies and procedures.
STEP 2: PARTICIPATE IN INDUSTRY
ACCREDITATION SCHEMES
Accreditation schemes exist in all industries to identify and acknowledge businesses that
have met specific standards or levels of service.
Click on the icon to find out how an accreditation scheme works.
Think of accreditation as being like an exam. Once you can prove that you're performing
to the required standard, an assessor gives your workplace a tick of approval and
permission to proudly display the industry accreditation logo throughout your
establishment.
To maintain its registration and continue using the accreditation scheme logo, an
organisation must maintain compliance with the scheme's minimum standards.
The major benefit of subscribing to an industry accreditation scheme is that consumers
can immediately identify the quality of your establishment, product or service. The use of
identifying logos can play a major role in marketing.
What accreditation schemes can you participate in?
Industry accreditation schemes lead to higher awareness of good business practice. This
improves the professionalism and sustainability of tourism and hospitality businesses.
Participate in them and convey the results to your customers. Using accreditation logos in
marketing gives you the competitive advantage. It also helps customers choose quality
products and services.
Click on the logos for some examples across a range of industries.
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ISO accreditation
In Section 1 you were introduced to ISO standards.
ISO quality management principles include: customer focus, leadership, involvement of
people, process approach, system approach to management, continual improvement,
factual approach to decision-making and mutually beneficial supplier relationships!
Needless to say, the process of becoming ISO accredited can be an enormous task for
some businesses.
A private consultant can help if your business lacks skilled staff to implement the
standards.
An external auditor or registrar audits the business to grant the ISO standard. You can
then use the registered quality mark on marketing materials.
Accredited Visitor Centre
If you provide information services to tourists you might want to subscribe to use the
Accredited Visitor Centre logo. This identifying logo immediately tells customers about the
type of information and service they can expect to receive.
Australian Tourism Accreditation Program
The Australian Tourism Accreditation Program (ATAP) is another logo that helps tourism
establishments gain recognition for their high standard of business practices and
customer service.
When customers see the logo, they can be sure that they’ll receive professional customer
service from an organisation that has sound environmental practices, complies with WHS
standards and has appropriately licensed and qualified operators.
Eco-Friendly STAR Accreditation
Eco-Friendly STAR Accreditation gives accommodation providers special recognition for
their commitment to using environmentally sustainable work practices.
To use the logo, establishments must meet set criteria related to energy efficiency, waste
minimisation and water management.
Climate Action Australia Certification Program
The Climate Action Australia Program is a new arm of Ecotourism Australia.
When customers see this logo displayed, they can be sure that the establishment is doing
everything it can to reduce or eliminate the carbon footprint of their operation.
EarthCheck
EarthCheck accreditation is the largest environmental benchmarking certification and
management system used by the travel and tourism industry to validate environmentally
sustainable work practices and carbon emissions.
Green Table Accreditation
Green Table Australia is managed by Restaurant and Catering Australia (R&CA). The
program supports and recognises restaurants, cafés and catering businesses that use
environmentally sustainable work practices.
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GreenPower Accreditation
GreenPower is a government accreditation program for the use of renewable energy.
Renewable energy comes from sources such as solar, wind power or mini hydro.
Businesses that purchase GreenPower can apply to use the GreenPower logo on their
marketing material. When customers see the logo, they can be assured that they're doing
business with an organisation that is concerned about their environmental impact and
greenhouse gas emissions.
Each state and territory energy provider has its own accredited GreenPower product.
Refer to www.greenpower.gov.au for more information and links to your state/territory.
Note
There’s no set number of accreditation schemes an organisation should subscribe to. You
should choose ones that you want to be associated with and recognised for.
To find more, search the Internet, contact your Industry Accreditation Body, or simply pay
attention to the logos being used by your competitors in the industry.
What other industry schemes can you participate in?
Click on the logos to learn about more industry schemes.
Restaurant rating system
Every state, territory and country has restaurant award schemes.
•  Victoria has The Age Good Food Guide and Sydney has the Sydney Morning Herald
Good Food Guide. Both review restaurants annually and award between one and three
‘Chef Hats’. Usually only a handful of restaurants are successful in receiving the
coveted ‘three Chef Hats’.
•  Australia has the Australian Gourmet Traveller magazine annual Best Restaurant
Awards.
•  Europe has the Michelin Guide and awards restaurants between one and three stars.
Getting a Michelin Star can create a legend. Losing one can result in significant
heartbreak. The Guide itself says that ‘certain establishments deserve to be brought to
your attention’ because of the quality of the cuisine served.
Hotel star rating system
•  The Australian STAR Rating Scheme is managed by Star Ratings Australia (a division
of Australian Motoring Services), on behalf of Australia’s Auto Clubs and assesses six
accommodation categories, including hotels and motels, serviced apartments and self-
catering properties, hosted accommodation (B&Bs) and caravan/holiday parks. The
STARS help travellers to evaluate and select the right accommodation for their next trip
•  Provides for a consistent and independent assessment of standard and services
offered in accommodation venues in Australia.
•  World-wide, people understand a star rating system of 1 to 5 stars, and this is also the
system that Australia recognises. However, what is 5 star in one country, might be
judged as 3 star in another! Also, in some countries there is now a 7 star system. The
Burj Al Arab in Dubai is the world’s only ‘7’ star hotel.
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Leading hotels of the world
This marketing and trade association, which is based in New York City, represents
international luxury day spas, resorts, hotels, etc. There are twenty-nine quality assurance
criteria for member businesses to meet.
Online rating systems
Customers give feedback which is used by online booking companies to provide
satisfaction ratings to potential customers.
Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP)
HACCP Australia specialises in food safety methodology and how to apply it in industry.
Use these checklists are in stores, kitchen, front of house, etc.
Extend your learning
Visit the web pages for each of the industry and accreditation schemes we have just
covered. Familiarise yourself with the schemes and the requirements that must be met in
order belong to them.
Why is ongoing compliance important?
When you subscribe to an industry accreditation scheme, you're agreeing to comply with
the minimum standards outlined by the accreditation body on an ongoing basis.
Watch the video of Russell to find out more.
It's not enough to pass the initial test. You must continue to ensure that all practices
comply with the requirements on an ongoing basis.
Staff need to be aware of the requirements and how it affects their role. Failing to comply
with set criteria could result in the establishment being deregistered and losing the right to
use the recognise d logo.
Note
To ensure compliance, document expected practices in establishment policies and
procedures. Ensure that you and your staff follow these at all times.
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STEP 3: HAVE A POSITIVE ATTITUDE
Your attitude is how you serve your internal and external customers. Having the right
attitude and attributes helps establish the rapport necessary to encourage staff to deliver
quality service and customers to purchase those services.
Click on the tabs for some examples.
Be professional
Regardless of how you might be feeling, how difficult the staff member or customer may
seem, or how impossible their request, always be professional. Never raise your voice,
argue, blame others or complain.
Be helpful
Employees and customers look to you for professional advice and recommendations. Be
positive and helpful by offering training, advice, products and services that best meet their
needs.
This undoubtedly has a significant impact on the customer’s service experience across
the board.
Be courteous
Respect that all staff members and customers are different. Be courteous when they
request your help and when you’re offering training, advice, products and services.
•  Smile and be prepared to initiate contact.
•  Give them your undivided attention.
•  Use their name if you know it.
•  Excuse yourself if you need to leave for a time. If they need to wait for you, explain to
them why and apologise.
•  Genuinely thank the employee or customer when you have finished your interaction.
•  If a worker or customer complains, use this as an opportunity to demonstrate your
professionalism by being courteous and sympathetic to their needs.
In a nutshell
You can make a great impression on your staff and customers and increase their loyalty
by having a positive attitude.
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STEP 4: BE COMMITTED TO
CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT
Like many well-organised managers, Russell uses a checklist to ensure he meets
standards and leads staff in continuous improvement.
Click on the checkboxes to see what Russell’s standards are.
?  Create a quality culture within the organisation.
?  Make sure staff are aware of our organisation’s purpose/mission.
?  Ensure that staff have clearly defined roles.
?  Clarify all staff’s KRAs and measures of success.
?  Monitor staff performance using KPIs.
?  Provide regular, standardised training to improve performance or bridge any gaps in
performance.
?  Set new performance targets.
?  Lead staff in continuous improvement.
To lead staff in continuous improvement, you must meet your own responsibilities and
keep your professional standards high.
STEP 5: BE RESPONSIBLE
AND ACCOUNTABLE
Although some of your responsibilities depend on the department or team you manage
there are some general things all managers are accountable for.
Click on the checkboxes to find out what they are.
?  Attend training as necessary.
?  Follow ethical principles (glossary) and workplace behaviour.
?  Follow both mandatory and voluntary codes of practice (glossary) and conduct
specific to your industry, workplace and job role.
?  Do what your job description or employment arrangements require.
?  Check your organisation’s policy for information relevant to your work role.
?  Maintain your skills.
?  Complete competencies.
?  Keep informed about your supervision and accountability requirements, including
WHS.
?  Follow environmentally sustainable working practices.
?  Understand organisational and team structures.
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One of your responsibilities is understanding organisational and team structures What
document can help you do this? Click to the next screen to find out.
What’s an organisational structure chart?
It’s a graphical representation showing the various departments, positions and lines of
authority within the organisation.
Click on the dot points to find out why you might need to refer to it.
?  To help you identify the various departments and teams
?  To assist you in understanding everyone’s roles within the departments and teams
?  To ensure you understand your own position within the structure so you know who
reports to you and who you report to.
?  To help you identify your own responsibilities and duties in relation to other
members of the organisation.
Is every organisational structure the same?
No. Every organisation’s structure is different.
•  Familiarise yourself with lines of authority in your workplace.
•  Find out which staff members are your responsibility, who your own manager or
supervisor is (and who their manager or supervisor is!).
•  Know exactly who might be coming to you for help and who you can contact to help
you fulfil your own responsibilities.
Identifying roles and responsibilities
Knowing the ‘chain of command’ helps you work more effectively with others. Employees
all have different roles, responsibilities and duties.
Click on the job titles to find out what these are.
General manager
•  I’m Russell, the general manager.
•  I run Rafferty’s and all the departments within it.
•  I ensure we meet our goals and comply with our mission and policies.
•  I approve establishment expenditure and staff promotions.
•  I review policies and procedures.
•  I chair management meetings and attend regular meetings with departmental
managers within the organisation.
Assistant manager
I’m James, the assistant manager.
•  I support the general manager, Russell, so operations run smoothly. When he’s is busy
or unavailable, I make decisions and respond to issues when they arise.
•  I help complete departmental reports.
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•  I maintain regular contact with departmental managers and update them on business
performance, new initiatives and other pertinent issues.
•  I keep up to date with market trends and what our major competitors are doing.
Department manager
I’m Riley. I manage Rafferty’s Restaurant (just one of our many departments).
•  I report directly to the assistant manager, James.
•  I make sure staff in the restaurant are appropriately trained and inducted.
•  I prepare rosters and stock reports, analyse sales figures and report these figures to
the assistant manager.
•  I make decisions about stock control and stock levels in the restaurant.
•  I check that my team complies with Rafferty’s policies and procedures and that prompt
action is taken when issues arise (WHS, security, staff conflict, serious customer
complaints, and sales targets not being met).
•  I forecast future budgets and sales figures for the restaurant.
Supervisor
I’m Kym. I supervise the wait staff in the Restaurant.
•  I report directly to the department manager, Riley. He has most of the responsibility for
overseeing the department. However, he occasionally delegates some of this to me.
He might ask me to prepare a roster, interview a job applicant, or respond to a
customer complaint on his behalf.
•  I’m also responsible for overseeing the activities of staff under my control.
•  I ensure they comply with establishment policies and procedures, provide consistent
and outstanding customer service, and treat customers/team members with respect.
•  I hold team briefings.
•  I oversee opening and closing procedures.
•  I sort out staff conflict, customer complaints and staffing issues before referring matters
to the department manager. I can also order stock up to a certain limit.
Customer service staff
•  I’m Connor, one of the wait staff.
•  We ensure all customers receive excellent customer service.
•  We clean the service areas.
•  We greet and serve the customers, offer advice and make recommendations.
•  We also sometimes open and close the register, receive payment from customers and
give change.
Our goal is to make sure that the customer is happy with the service they receive so they
continue to return to the establishment time and time again.
Trainee
I’m Kate, a new trainee. Kym is my supervisor and I look to her for direction.
I have the same responsibilities as the other wait staff. However, I must do some tasks,
like using the cash register, under supervision.
Because I’m still learning, I’m never rostered to work on my own. When I’m not sure of
something, I must always refer the matter to my supervisor or one of the other wait staff.
As a trainee, I receive regular training to help me learn new skills.
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Hot tip
You may be responsible for defining Key Result Areas (KRAs) for staff members you
manage. KRAs are groups of tasks which define main areas of responsibility and
accountability (safety, housekeeping, cost reduction, quality control, staffing, supervising,
reporting, etc.).
End of section
You have reached the end of Section 2.
Click to the next section to continue.
This page has been intentionally left blank.
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Monitor and adjust
customer service
Let’s look at what you will learn on completion of this section.
•  Seek ongoing feedback from staff and customers and use it to improve performance.
•  Identify systemic customer service problems and adjust policies and procedures to
improve service quality.
•  Assess the effectiveness of customer service practices.
•  Identify and evaluate systemic customer service problems.
•  Adjust policies and procedures to improve service quality.
•  Develop, document and communicate new approaches to all those involved in service
delivery.
The importance of feedback
As you learned in Section 1, you can get feedback from staff and customers to obtain
information on their satisfaction levels.
Click on the customer to hear their feedback.
Shocked?
Welcome to management.
Often, the feedback you get isn’t what you expect … or even want to hear.
But it is important.
Click to the next screen to find out why.
Why is feedback important?
Feedback from external and internal customers gives you a chance to assess the
effectiveness of your customer service practices. It provides you with an opportunity to
identify and evaluate problems so you can adjust and improve your performance.
Complaints and negative survey results are a form of feedback.
Click on the icon to learn more.
Customers who don’t complain usually just take their business elsewhere. The damage
worsens when they tell their friends and family about their negative experience. The
organisation then misses out on their business as well.
Complaints are your opportunity to improve service. You can take action to address the
causes of customer dissatisfaction. This helps to restore your reputation with the customer
concerned and to prevent the same problems from recurring.
3.0
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These are just some of the benefits of dealing with complaints.
•  You show the customer you care.
•  You can improve your service.
•  You address the causes of customer dissatisfaction.
•  You can restore reputation.
•  You’re able to prevent the same problems from recurring.
Note
Consumer research indicates that most businesses hear complaints from as little as 10%
of dissatisfied customers.
This means that for every ten complaints an organisation receives, there are another 90
which go unreported.
For every customer that complains about something, there are likely to be ten others that
feel the same way, but just haven’t said anything!
Why does feedback need to be ongoing?
You can’t do just one survey every six to twelve months!
Click on the cycle buttons to check out some reasons why.
Customers have different opinions and expectations. What one customer reports as an
outstanding service experience, another may complain about.
Customers’ needs change. Services your customers were demanding six months ago
may no longer be required.
It allows you to monitor how you’re performing. Has feedback improved since adjustments
were made to products or services?
It allows you to please the customer while you still have the opportunity to do so.
How can you seek ongoing feedback?
You can always reflect on your own behaviour and that of your staff and think about what
you could do differently to improve performance at work. However, sometimes it’s difficult
to recognise strengths and weaknesses on your own.
Click on the characters to learn how you can seek feedback from others.
Day-to-day discussions
During the course of each business day, there’s ample opportunity to have customer
service discussions with a wide range of people.
Listen to improvements suggested by staff, peers, suppliers, managers, supervisors, and,
particularly, any customers involved in complaints or disputes,
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Meetings
Hold regular staff meetings that involve service discussions.
Interviews
You can formally interview customers about their service experiences and staff to get
suggestions for content of customer service policies and procedures.
Customer Perceived Value (CPV)
This is an alternative to measuring customer satisfaction. It measures how customers
assess potential benefits as distinct from past experiences. For example:
What benefits are important to you?
•  Menu variety
•  Food quality
•  Atmosphere
•  Value
CPV can also measure potential customers. It can be a great planning tool, allowing you
to focus on customer expectations, needs and what influences their purchasing decision.
Voice of Customer (VOC)
This is part of the Six Sigma quality program. It’s the process of gathering, analysing and
integrating guest input back into the organisation’s decision making.
Guests include the external guest, potential guests, and internal guests (customers and
suppliers).
The process may include the following, some of which you learned in Section 1.
•  Monitoring telephone calls
•  Guest surveys (staff and customers)
•  Guest focus groups
•  One-on-one guest interviews
Surveys
As you learned in Section 1, you can create surveys for internal and external customers.
This is the best way to assess customer satisfaction.
As you learned in Section 2, customer service is measured by the organisation’s
standards. Customer satisfaction, however, is measured by the customer’s standards for
the service.
How do you assess your effectiveness?
Click on the check boxes to learn some general methods of assessing quality.
?  Surveying external customers
?  Surveying internal customers (employee satisfaction surveys)
?  Work standards and workflow checklists
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?  Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) checklists
?  Sanitation/cleanliness checklists and score cards
?  Number of customer complaints
?  Room occupancy rates
?  Observing and tasting food
?  Evaluating staff against service standards
?  Evaluating results of training
?  Meeting budgets
?  Revenue results
?  Benchmarking
?  Safety/accident/incident reports
Over the next several screens, let’s learn how to assess the effectiveness of customer
service practices by creating and evaluating the results of a customer satisfaction survey.
What are Likert scales?
The scale is named after Rensis Likert (1932). It’s a type of psychometric response scale
often used in questionnaires. Likert scales are typically five or seven point scales that
allow customers to express their attitudes about a topic.
The customer indicates their degree of agreement with a statement (or any kind of
subjective or objective evaluation of the statement). The scale descriptors can change to
reflect the statement tested.
Most questionnaires will also include a short answer section, which allows customers to
add their own comments.
Click on the filing cabinet to see an example of a Likert scale.
1  2  3  4  5
Never  Rarely  Sometimes  Often  Always
1  2  3  4  5
Very poor  Poor  Neutral  Good  Very good
1  2  3  4  5
Strongly disagree  Disagree  Neutral  Agree  Strongly agree
1  2  3  4  5
Not at all
interested
Not very
interested
Neutral  Somewhat
interested
Very interested
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How do you survey customers?
You can use Likert or other scales to create a customer satisfaction survey to see how
effective your customer service practices are. Brainstorm with your staff to define the
objectives of the survey. What do you hope to find out? Most surveys aim to determine the
following.
1.  How satisfied are customers?
2.  How loyal are they?
3.  What are customers’ priorities?
4.  What are customers’ perceptions of the organisation’s performance?
5.  How does the organisation’s performance compare to customers’ priorities?
6.  What are your priorities for improvement?
Click on the icon to see Rafferty’s accommodation team’s brainstorm.
Are customers happy with
presentation of the rooms?
How important is this?
Are guests happy with room
cleanliness? How important
is cleanliness?
Are customers pleased with
the room facilities? How
important are facilities?
Are customers satisfied over
all?
How would customers rate the
friendliness of the service?
What improvements should we
make?
Would guests recommend the
hotel to others?
Do guests think the room is
good value for money? How
important is this?
What do we
want to find
out?
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Click on the filing cabinet to see the survey they created.
Rafferty’s Hotel
Thank you for choosing to stay at Rafferty’s Hotel.
We’re committed to providing quality accommodation and customer service for our guests.
Please take the time to let us know how we’re doing by completing this short survey.
Would you recommend Rafferty’s Hotel to your family and friends?
Yes  No
Please rate the following items both on their importance to you and on our performance.
Not important Very important Very unsatisfied Completely satisfied
Room cleanliness  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Room presentation  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Room facilities  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Value for money  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Please make any further comments on your stay. How can we improve our service?
Thank you. Your comments are greatly appreciated.
Please submit your completed survey at reception.
Hot tip
• Ensure your survey actively encourages the customer to complete it.
• Make it easy to fill out (minimum effort for customers!).
• Leave space for customers’ comments and opinions.
• Allow customers to express how important each item is to them. This helps you
prioritise.
• Remember that there are many ways to administer surveys (post, phone, in person, via
email, etc.).
How can you evaluate the results?
Translate the customers’ requirements into measurable targets. This way, you can:
•  monitor customer satisfaction over time
•  check your performance compared to the customer’s priorities
•  prioritise adjustments you’ll make
•  track whether your adjustments improve customer satisfaction levels.
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There are two ways your can chart your data.
1.  Performance matrix
2.  Customer satisfaction index (CSI)
Let’s learn about both of them over the next couple of screens.
Hot tip
To get accurate results, make sure your survey is completed by a large number (500) of
customers. If you survey less than 100 customers, your results will be unreliable.
Performance matrix
The following table shows the data gathered from any surveys.
Importance to customer  Customer satisfaction
Room cleanliness  9  4
Room presentation  4  8
Room facilities  5  3
Value for money  8  8
A performance matrix can show how your performance relates to customers’ priorities.
Implement the following steps.
1.  Put the average importance score (also known as weighting) on the x-axis.
2.  Put the average performance score on the y-axis.
3.  Plot the scores for average importance and performance of each item on a scatter
graph.
4.  Colour-code the plotted points (as per the performance matrix).
Click on the icon to see the graph and matrix.
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Graph
Matrix
High importance score, high
satisfaction score
Keep up the good work!
High importance score, low satisfaction
score
WARNING! Take action to improve.
Low importance score, high satisfaction
score
Don’t need to make quite so much effort.
Low importance score, low satisfaction
score
OK to have a low score. Doesn’t matter to
customers.
Hot tip
The ten-point scale is the most suitable for statistical analysis. Why?
• It maximises response variance.
• They can track smaller changes.
• It’s best for benchmarking against other organisations.
Customer satisfaction index (CSI)
CSI measures how satisfied customers are in relation to what is most important to them.
To do this, combine importance and performance scores to get a weighted average score
(usually expressed as a percentage).
Click on each step to learn the calculations required for the table.
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Step 1  Add the average importance scores together. 9 + 4 + 5 + 8 = 26
Step 2  Divide each item’s importance score by the total
of all importance scores and convert it into a
percentage.
9 ÷ 26 = .346 x 100 = 34.6%
Step 3  Multiply the weighting factor by the average
satisfaction score for each item.
34.6% x 4 = 1.38
The first two service areas are shown.
Item  Average
importance
scores
Weighting
factor
Average
satisfaction
scores
Weighted
score
A  B  C  B x C 
Room cleanliness  9  9 ÷ 26 =  34.6%  4  34.6% x 4 =  1.38
Room presentation  4  4 ÷ 26 =  15.3%  8  15.3% x 8 =  1.22
Room facilities  5  3 
Value for money  8  8 
Total  26 
CSI: 
Calculating CSI
Let’s see how you complete the final two rows in the CSI chart.
Click on the calculators to learn how to work out the weighted scores.
Room
facilities
5 ÷ 26 = 0.192 x 100 = 19.2% (weighting factor).
Then, multiply the weighting factor of 19.2% x 3 (the average satisfaction
score) to achieve a weighted score of .58.
Value for
money
8 ÷ 26 = 0.307 x 100 = 30.7% (weighting factor).
Then, multiply the weighting factor of 30.7% x 8 (the average satisfaction
score) to achieve a weighted score of 2.45
Item  Average
importance
scores
Weighting
factor
Average
satisfaction
scores
Weighted
score
A  B  C  B x C 
Room cleanliness  9  9 ÷ 26 =  34.6%  4  34.6% x 4 =  1.38
Room presentation  4  4 ÷ 26 =  15.3%  8  15.3% x 8 =  1.22
Room facilities  5  5 ÷ 26 =  19.2%  3  19.2% x 3 =  0.58
Value for money  8  8 ÷ 26 =  30.7%  8  30.7% x 8 =  2.45
Total  26 
CSI:
SITXCCS501 Manage quality customer service
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72
Can you calculate the Customer Satisfaction Index? Click to the next screen.
What can go wrong with customer satisfaction surveys?
Obtaining feedback from questionnaires or Likert scales alone provides little actionable
feedback. What is it specifically that customers are happy or unhappy with? What if only
very happy or really unsatisfied customers complete the survey? Does this give you an
adequate cross section of people?
No. Results can be biased.
Click on each character to learn more.
?  Surveys may only collect information the company thinks is important and not what
the customer thinks is important.
?  Organisations may not understand what dimensions are important. They may spend
too much effort on dimensions with the lowest scores, but these may not actually be
important to customers!
?  Comparative data is important. Organisations need to see where they stand in
relation to competitors. Your feedback may be good, but a competitor’s may be
much better.
?  You need to find out why people don’t select your organisation. If they did select
you and didn’t return, why?
You need to be able to identify systemic customer service problems in other ways. Click to
the next screen to try it.
How can you identify typical problems?
There are some common systemic customer service problems that arise again and again.
No doubt you’ve experienced them yourself!
You have 30 seconds to list some of them.
Click start to begin.
List some common problems with product and service delivery.
How did you go? Compare your answers to these.
•  Routine customer problems and complaints
•  Communication breakdowns
•  Supply problems
•  Procedural difficulties
Let’s learn more about how to identify and resolve these problems over the next few
screens.
SITXCCS501 Manage quality customer service
didasko.com  2014 Edition  73
Routine customer problems and complaints
Take action to resolve problems in a way that minimises the effect on customer
satisfaction. As you just learned, you’ll encounter some problems reasonably frequently.
Click on the tabs to learn how to deal with or prevent them.
Incorrect pricing of products and services
Ever got to the checkout or received an invoice and been shocked by the total? Then you
know how customers feel when items are deceptively priced.
Always make sure products and services are accurately priced on price tags, in
brochures, in advertisements, on websites, etc. If a mistake happens, apologise and
follow your organisation’s policy to fix it.
Delays in providing products or services
Delays happen all the time: in person and on the phone. Most customers can forgive you
for delays if you do the following.
•  Recognise body language and facial expressions, which show that customers are tired
of waiting. (Or better yet, recognise signs before customers get upset!)
•  Apologise for the delay.
•  Give them an explanation for the wait.
•  Tell them how you’re resolving the issue.
•  Let them know how much longer it will be. If you aren’t sure, keep them informed about
what’s happening.
•  Provide them with the product or service.
•  Apologise again.
Requests for refunds or exchanges
Customers are usually entitled to a refund or exchange if they request it within a
reasonable timeframe and provide proof of purchase (glossary).
•  A receipt
•  A bank statement
•  A credit card bill
•  An invoice
•  Shop’s packaging
•  Witness account of purchase
However, consumer rights regarding refunds and exchanges can be complex. If you’re
unsure, seek assistance from the appropriate person.
Providing incorrect products or services
Calm and reassure customers who are disappointed with their product or service. You can
do this in a number of ways.
•  Don’t argue. Avoid embarrassing, belittling or blaming the customer.
•  Apologise to calm the situation and ease their frustration. If the customer is at fault,
apologise for inconveniencing them.
•  Show concern: ‘I understand why you’re annoyed. I’m sure I’d feel the same way’.
•  Don’t fold your arms, roll your eyes, turn your back or put your hands on your hips.
•  Use open hand gestures. Face the customer. Give them your full attention.
•  Focus on what can be done to resolve their problem.
SITXCCS501 Manage quality customer service
2014 Edition
74
Communication breakdowns
No one told me there was a meeting!
What? They’ve changed the booking system?
I thought you said the flight got in at 10:50, not 10:15! They’ll miss their connection.
Click on each barrier to learn the solutions for communication problems.
Lack of standards
Ensure you have communication standards, policies and
procedures in place.
Language barriers
Train staff in how to communicate with people whose first
language isn’t English or who may have a different
cultural background to their own. Avoid slang and very
technical language.
Body language and gestures
Some gestures are inappropriate when used with people
from other cultures. Find out what they are and avoid
them.
Mixing work and private life
Minimise personal communications at work. Keep it
professional.
Misinterpretation of
instructions
Always check understanding.
Not listening
Coach staff in active listening skills.
Lack of communication
Train staff to relay information to relevant people so no
one is left out of the loop.
Lack of factual
communication
Make sure it’s true before you share it!
Not following through
Meetings are pointless unless staff leave with clear tasks
they can follow through on.
Incorrect communication
channels
Induct new employees so they know who to
communicate to about what.
Lack of respect
Remember to be formal with customers, especially
women. Avoid terms such as ‘darl’.
Supply problems
There are certain supply problems common to most organisations in the tourism, travel,
hospitality and event sectors.
Click on the dot points to find out what they are.
?  High demand for the same stock from other businesses
?  No stock at the warehouse
?  Shortages of stock due to weather incidents, wrong season, industrial issues
?  Deliveries to the wrong location or address
?  Delivery vehicle breakdown
?  Late deliveries
?  Shortages against delivery documentation
SITXCCS501 Manage quality customer service
didasko.com  2014 Edition  75
Procedural difficulties
When the same problems happen over and over again, the issue is probably procedural.
First, identify the true source of the problem. This could be your establishment or anyone
in the supply chain (such as a delivery company).
Click on the tabs to find out how to resolve procedural problems.
Resolving procedural problems in your establishment
•  Call a meeting and involve your staff.
•  Clearly state the exact problem.
•  Brainstorm solutions together.
•  Choose the best solution. This could be changing a procedure, training people to better
follow an existing one, or any number of other actions.
Then choose one of three ways to implement your solution.
1.  Delegate the responsibility of dealing with it to your team. Ensure they follow
company procedures and keep you informed of their progress.
2.  Implement the solution yourself if that’s more appropriate and within the scope of
your responsibility.
3.  Refer it to the appropriate senior level person for action.
Resolving procedural problems with other establishments
Contact them and discuss the issue to find a resolution. This isn’t always easy and it can
be challenging to negotiate win-win outcomes. But this is what you and your staff should
do.
Click to the next screen for an example.
How can you adjust to improve service quality?
It’s what you do with your results that counts. As a result of their customer service survey,
Russell realised that he needed to outline clear cleaning procedures, set clear KPIs for the
hotel cleaning team, retrain them and monitor their performance more closely in order to
improve service quality.
Click on the people for more examples of how Rafferty’s adjusted to customers’
feedback.
‘This is the worst coffee I’ve ever had!’
What we assumed  What our customers want Steps taken to address
what we now know
•  Staff had adequate
training to use the
espresso machine.
•  The expensive coffee
beans purchased would
provide good tasting
coffee.
•  Great tasting coffee. •  Arranged barista training
for some staff.
SITXCCS501 Manage quality customer service
2014 Edition
76
‘The restaurant is too expensive.’
What we assumed  What our customers want Steps taken to address
what we now know
•  Customers want a fine-
dining experience and
are prepared to pay for
it.
•  Cheaper dining options
for people travelling on a
budget.
•  Short-term: Introduced two
cheaper meal options to
the restaurant menu and a
snack menu at the hotel
bar.
•  Long-term: Looking at
extending the courtyard
area to introduce alfresco
dining with a simple snack
menu.
‘The kids weren’t really catered for. They didn’t like the food on the
children’s menu, and it was way overpriced.’
What we assumed  What our customers want Steps taken to address
what we now know
•  Customers would be
happy with the different
meals and combinations
on the menu.
•  Customers would be
happy to pay more
money for something a
little ‘different’.
•  Cheap, simple, healthy
meal options that
children will eat.
•  Completely revised the
children’s menu, with a
budget in mind that
allowed us to introduce
many healthy alternatives,
while significantly reducing
the cost to the customer.
‘Reception staff were poorly presented and unprofessional.’
What we assumed  What our customers want Steps taken to address
what we now know
•  Staff understood what
was expected of them.
•  Staff would adhere to the
establishment’s personal
presentation standards.
•  Professional service
from well-presented staff
that provides them with
the confidence that they
will have a positive
experience in our hotel.
•  Provided coaching to staff
in the importance of
personal presentation
standards.
•  Updated establishment
policy on personal
presentation standards.
Hot tip
Remember, feedback is of no value if you don’t act on the information you receive.
Regardless of what issues or problems are brought to your attention, act promptly before
your reputation is affected.
Use all feedback, good and bad, to your advantage. Pay attention to what customers are
telling you. If they are letting you know how to improve practices and please them further,
why not do it?
SITXCCS501 Manage quality customer service
didasko.com  2014 Edition  77
How do you know when to adjust standards, systems and
procedures?
Click on the tabs to learn when adjustments need to be made to standards, systems
and procedures and see an example in action.
Customer service issues identified
When we identified the poor response time to room service, we implemented a new work
process that ensured that guests would receive their meals within 20 minutes of placing
their order. This new practice resulted in existing procedures being superseded and new
procedures being documented and circulated to staff.
Changes made (workplace, work environment, practices)
When we made the decision to serve meals at the hotel bar, we had to implement a new
procedure for placing orders to the kitchen, delivering meals to the bar, processing meal
payments and clearing plates.
Customer needs or expectations no longer met
We previously had a policy of offering all customers a cup of percolated coffee with their
breakfast. This procedure was adjusted when we identified that more and more customers
were asking if they could have a free latte, cappuccino or herbal tea instead.
Procedure no longer current or valid
One of my employees questioned whether or not they still had to write the special on the
blackboard when they were now neatly printed and presented in the menu folders.
After some consideration, we decided that staff time could be better spent on other tasks
and that writing the special on the blackboard was not really necessary.
Restructure taken place
Previously, all food and beverage staff reported directly to the restaurant manager. As the
business grew, it was necessary to introduce the role of bar manager. This new role
resulted in minor restructuring and adjustments to existing procedures.
New work system or process introduced
When we open the alfresco dining area, there will be many new work processes
introduced and possibly a new computer system for placing orders to the kitchen.
The new work practices and system may result in adjustments to existing procedures, as
well as the introduction of new procedures.
SITXCCS501 Manage quality customer service
2014 Edition
78
How can you improve service quality?
One way is to implement small, inexpensive, incremental changes for the better. This is a
‘continuous improvement approach’, in which systems and procedures are always
evolving.
1.  It acknowledges that customer’s needs and expectations change, society and the
economy change, businesses grow and expand, and competition varies.
2.  It allows for the flexibility to address all of these changes and accommodate them
where possible.
Click on the rolodexes to learn more about continuous improvement processes
(CIP).
Principle  Purpose  Emphasis  Strategic elements
The core principle of
CIP is the reflection
of processes in light
of their efficiency
and effectiveness.
The purpose of CIP
is to improve the
efficiency of
processes by
eliminating or
reducing time-
wasting or
ineffective
processes. 
The emphasis of
CIP is on having an
evolving system by
taking incremental,
continuous steps,
and avoiding
massive change
(breakthrough
improvements).
Deciding how to
increase service
effectiveness
(output), and how
much flexibility is
needed to address
changing needs.
Hot tip
To implement continuous incremental improvement, you can ask yourself and your staff
five key questions: What other ways can we do this? How can we do this cheaper, easier,
better, faster?
Is continuous improvement just a management issue?
Continuous improvement cannot be run only at management level. It needs the
involvement of all staff at all levels of the organisation. Why? Managers are not always
aware of many issues.
•  Customer service problems faced by employees
•  Systems or processes that are ineffective
•  Employees who are underperforming
Often staff have information, but are reluctant to share it unless a formal platform is
provided.
Managers should work towards creating a continuous improvement culture that values
feedback and input from all staff, regardless of their position or level of experience.
SITXCCS501 Manage quality customer service
didasko.com  2014 Edition  79
What is quality assurance?
Some people confuse continuous improvement with quality assurance. The two systems
are often interrelated, but are quite different in what they aim to achieve.
Click on the pictures to find out more.
Continuous improvement is the ongoing process of evaluating and continually improving
existing systems and processes.
Quality assurance is the actual systems and processes you put in place. It ensures that
products and services are of consistent quality and that customer requirements are
satisfied in a systematic, reliable fashion.
It doesn’t necessarily mean that the goods and services are of a ‘high quality’ but rather
that the quality is consistent and as intended.
How do you communicate new approaches?
Once you develop and document new approaches, you must communicate them to all
personnel involved in service delivery. This may seem obvious, but establishments in
tourism, travel, hospitality and events have different departments and shifts to consider.
Watch the video to find out how Russell communicates changes.
I have a communication plan in place to make sure all staff are informed of any changes
that impact them.
I have a list of all employee names. When there are procedural changes, I get staff to sign
to acknowledge they have read and understood the changes.
I also have a checkbox on the list. I can tick it to indicate the employees who have
attended meetings or team briefings.
Systems ensure you don’t forget about casual or part-time employees, or employees who
might have been on leave when you discussed the changes.
Hot tip
Whenever changes are made to systems or procedures, don’t take your time
communicating them to staff. You don’t want some employees working under the old
system and some under the new.
Advise staff when the new system is to come into effect and set yourself a schedule and
deadline for communicating the changes.
SITXCCS501 Manage quality customer service
2014 Edition
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End of section
You have reached the end of Section 3.
Click to the next screen to read the unit summary.
Summary
You have accumulated a mountain of knowledge and reached the summit together with
Russell’s customer service team.
Now you know how managing quality customer service can benefit yourself, your
organisation, and your customers. You can develop quality customer service practices,
manage their delivery, monitor and adjust them. Not only that, you can handle any
problems that come up along the way and use feedback to continuously improve.
As we’ve seen, Russell and his team at Rafferty’s are going places. And so are you.
GLOSSARY
didasko.com  2014 Edition  81
Glossary
Word  Meaning
Codes of practice
and conduct
Guidelines for fair dealing between you and your customers. They are
usually established through consultation with industry representatives
and the community.
Ethical principles  What is considered morally ‘right’, including such qualities as
trustworthiness, openness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring for
others, citizenship, transparency.
External customer  Any person outside your establishment who helps you provide products
and services.
Integrated value
chain
Also known as the supply chain. It begins with external suppliers and
ends with external customers. It encompasses the entire process an
organisation uses to produce value.
Internal customer  Any person inside your establishment who benefits from your efforts.
These people vary depending on your particular organisational
structure.
Key Performance
Indicators (KPIs)
KPIs are quantifiable measures of factors critical to the success of the
business.
Key Result Areas
(KRAs)
KRAs are groups of tasks which define main areas of responsibility and
accountability, such as safety, housekeeping, cost reduction, quality
control, staffing, supervising, reporting, etc.
PPE  Personal Protective Equipment, for example goggles, ear plugs and
gloves
Proof of purchase  Something that verifies that a customer actually bought a product from
the retailer – a receipt, bank statement, credit card bill, invoice, shop’s
packaging, witness account of purchase, etc.
Synergy  Synergy is when the result is greater than the sum of the parts. Synergy
is created when things work together to create an outcome that is in
some way of more value than the total of what the individual inputs is.
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(‘Didasko Learning Resources’)
 

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