This method of thinking allows you to clearly identify the three areas or ‘dimensions’ of service in your venue, from the perspective of your customers. By understanding the existence and definition of these dimensions, you’ll be able to improve them accordingly.
Your customers are very sensitive and critical creatures, whether they realise it or not.
With this in mind, it makes sense to analyse and enhance the following three dimensions of service in your venue, to offer your customers the greatest experience possible.
The three ‘service dimensions’ experienced by your customers are:
- Dimension One: Atmosphere
- Dimension Two: Offering
- Dimension Three: Customer Service
Dimension One: Atmosphere
The atmosphere (or ‘vibe’ or ‘feel’) of your venue includes every visual (eyes), aural (ears) and tactile (touch) element experienced by your guests and is the most defining factor of your venue – it’s the main element that your guests will remember and associate with your venue. It’s extremely important to consider and plan every aspect of the atmosphere in your venue – try and make every element exist as part of a greater plan or strategy. Make sure every visual, aural and tactile element is immaculate, and in alignment with the positioning of your establishment in your local competitive sphere (don’t have sports on TV screens littering your walls if you are a quiet wine bar, and don’t play jazz house music if you are a working class pub). When analysing the atmosphere in your venue, ask yourself:
- Do you think your ideal customers (your target market) will want to be seen in the atmosphere you offer?
- How does your atmosphere compare to your competitors’?
Be critical, and ask a third party for their opinion if necessary.
Dimension Two: Offering
The offering of your establishment can be divided into two primary components: physical and emotional. Customers will judge and criticize a venue on the physical product they hold in their hand, and will also judge a venue on the events they experience (and they feelings they experience from these events) – so it pays to make sure your offering of these products and events is of ample quality (to meet their conscious or unconscious expectations).
Your physical offering is the actual product offered by your venue, and includes food, drinks, accommodation, betting, gambling and any other physical item you sell (or give away). Your physical offering is the most intimate dimension your venue possesses (from the perspective of your customers), and will be the most talked about, discussed, criticised, celebrated and analysed part of your operation.
Your emotional offering is the emotional experience your venue offers – and is linked to your venue’s music offering and any other activity or events you offer which may invoke positive (or negative) emotions and feelings inside your customers.
Your offering will be the most discussed out of all three dimensions – it will be analysed extensively by your customers and critics, in many channels of communication. Use the power of association to strengthen the quality of your offering – offer products and events that your customers will wish to be associated with. Offer products and events that invoke positive emotions and feelings in your customers (happiness, excitement, exclusivity, demonstration of wealth). Examples of these are wine tastings and master classes, invitation-only themed parties or other private invitation-only events. Offer expensive or high-value ‘branded’ products so your customers can be seen drinking them.
Dimension Three: Customer Service
The third dimension of service experienced by customers in your venue is customer service (which is the binding force between the other two dimensions) which can be split into verbal and non-verbal categories.
Verbal customer service is the service verbally spoken by your staff to your guests. Make sure the verbal customer service in your venue is outstanding – manners and friendly dialect are components of outstanding verbal customer service. Your customers will create a stronger emotional connection to your venue if your staff are polite, courteous and offer confident spoken customer service.
Non-verbal customer service is the broad category of all other service elements in existence in your venue, including acts performed by your staff to help or assist your customers (holding doors open, smiling, remembering the names of regular customers, remembering regular customers’ drink preferences etc.), and any other service elements which may contribute to a customer’s positive experience inside your venue. Make sure your staff are dressed immaculately and are performing 110%, 110% of the time.
Non-verbal customer service (holding doors open, smiling, remembering the names of regular customers, remembering regular customers’ drink preferences etc.) is greatly under-used and underestimated. Non-verbal customer service techniques will make a far greater impression than verbal customer service.
Hopefully with an understanding of the ‘three dimensions of service’, you can enhance and optimize your customers’ experience and contribute to greater overall service standards in your establishment. The next method of thinking is designed to assist in internal development (as opposed to developing strategies to benefit your customers directly) and will help you create methods to improve productivity and profitability practices in your team.