Delivering excellent customer service is usually perceived as a challenge by a lot of companies, which they feel can be overcome by splurging money. At the end of the budgeted period, they realize there is a discrepancy between what was spent and the customer satisfaction index. In an economy which is free, customers look at many aspects when buying. To name a few, it could be the price, the product quality itself, the accessibility of the product, after sales, value added services, and so on. As we know, the products from competitors are not very different when one looks at the core utility of the product. For instance, the use of an Apple laptop is not much different from that of a Dell or an HP. It is the other parts of the product that make the difference.
Today, the co-working industry is growing in India. Many players are emerging in the market and while competition is increasing constantly, it is evident that the actual core product remains more or less similar, namely an air conditioned office, a chair, a table and internet perhaps, and so on. Then what really makes a customer choose one co-working space over the other? Is it the location, price or service? One can draw many parallels between the Hotel industry and the Co-working space industry (if we may call it an industry yet). Both give spaces on rent; location plays an important part in sales and success thereafter; both are operation and capital intensive and need people rather than machines. While it is proven that excellent service makes one hotel stand out from another, Co-working sector is yet to realize the essentiality of great customer service.
However, in order to be really successful in the long run and stand apart from the other players in the Co-working sector, excellent customer service along with a great product, pleasant interiors and a central location is significant. It is similar to the secret ingredient for a delicious recipe. Simple things make a big difference when delivering top class customer service. Some of them include, saying the name of the customer at least three times in any interaction to personalize the service, offering welcome drinks to new tenants on their first day at their new workspace, wishing customers as they enter or leave the workspace and sometimes, it is just a simple exchange of a genuine smile. These things do not cost much but makes a significant difference.
The second layer of great customer service lies in the speed at which your team delivers it. For this a sense of urgency needs to be embedded in all the front line employees as well as the top management to get things moving. Remember that service delayed is service denied. Everyone needs to be emphatic and understand that every complaint is an opportunity to showcase great problem solving skills and thereby deliver complete customer satisfaction.
The customer is always right; even if he is wrong. Therefore, it is best to apologize and give multiple solutions to one problem and let the customer choose the best suited solution to him/her. Being accessible, attentive and professional are a few other things that make your brand stand apart. “Tea at your table” was one of the initiatives taken up by BHIVE Workspace. What they realized was that around 4 pm most customers would go to the pantry to grab a cup of tea or coffee. Instead of them having to get up and go to the pantry, the BHIVE Workspace team surprised the customers by serving tea and coffee at their desks at 4 pm. A simple gesture made a huge impact and left all customers happy. These don’t cost much to companies but if not inculcated in the company’s culture, then surely will cost the company a lot.
About the Author:
Ajinkya Sontakke is a graduate from Les Roches: School of Hotel Management, Switzerland. In addition to the educational qualifications he has professional experience in the hospitality industry of 10 years and a teaching experience of 4 years. With strong experience in customer facing roles, he has also served as the director of a boutique hotel in Pune and has entrepreneurial exposure.Currently he heads the Customer Experience and Engagement department at BHIVE Workspace.