Fáilte Ireland Announces New Programme For Improved Customer Care
Ensuring that international visitors receive the best possible customer care is one way for Ireland to strengthen its competitiveness as it fights for more overseas tourists. This was the message today as Fáilte Ireland launched a new industry training programme - the Accredited Service Excellence Programme – which will train front-line staff across all sectors of a tourism business to maximise their potential in customer relationships and satisfaction.
Paul Keeley, Director of Commercial Development at Fáilte Ireland stressed that the current challenges, regarding Brexit, currency volatility and competing internationally, necessitate that all tourism businesses focus on their individual competitiveness. Naturally, part of this involves pricing but providing good value also includes what a business offers for the prices it charges. Competitiveness can be boosted by improving the offer and this is where increased customer service can be so important.
Mr Keeley said: “One key opportunity which is available to the Irish tourism industry is to be renowned for ‘best in class’ customer service and great visitor experiences. Through the implementation of our new Service Excellence Programme we intend to place the customer at the centre of everything a tourism-related business will do. Providing excellence in customer care can have major benefits for both the visitor, staff and the business including business growth, driving repeat business, increasing positive recommendations and visitor spend.”
With a focus on customer relationships and satisfaction, the new programme aims to help businesses reduce and better handle complaints, introduce new standards and efficiencies and increase sales through up-selling and cross-selling techniques. There will also be a new interactive online learning option available to increase participation and ease access for those who cannot attend the training programme in person.
The Accredited Service Excellence Programme is suitable for all management and front facing staff in a tourism related business who come into contact with visitors. The Award can be achieved in three ways:
• For individual staff upon completion of a full day or online workshop; • As a Business Award whereupon 75% of front facing staff have completed the Programme; • As a Destination Award - where a number of set criteria are met and where an agreed level of key businesses in the area have achieved the business award.
Joe Dolan, President of the Irish Hotels Federation in welcoming the Programme said that mechanisms for recognising excellence in service provision are vital as it allows those participating to set themselves apart from competitors. “Ireland and the Irish hospitality sector is encountering very strong competition internationally. We know that we are not a low-cost destination for international visitors, so we need to look at ways of enhancing the experience that tourists enjoy and to differentiate ourselves from our competition. One of the ways, is to become ‘best in class’ at service provision and to raise the bar for ourselves. The more tourism businesses we can get to actively participate in the Accredited Service Excellence Programme, the better it will be for our industry as a whole. If we can build on our very strong foundations of a warm welcome and excellent service, then our industry will continue to grow and flourish.”