Great Customer Experience Program

Outcome

The principal outcome is the consequent lifting of standards and skills across the Hospitality and Tourism industries:

  • Training and engagement around the perimeter of the State, areas where no formal training is done
  • More staff becoming aware of training and skill options – generation of more training outcomes across the industries around Tasmania
  • Tasmania becomes known for its work in Great Customer Experiences – exposure and a great drawcard
  • Continued integration of the concept within Brand Tasmania – offering visitors the best of Tasmania
  • Great data for Government - identification of training needs, cultural issues and many other aspects of the industries

 

Context

The Tasmanian Hospitality Association (THA) in partnership with Destination Southern Tasmania (DST) sought support from Skills Tasmania to design, develop and deliver a customised program with the purpose of improving customer experiences across Southern Tasmanian tourism and hospitality businesses.

The need for an industry specific and customised training program to improve service standards whilst fostering a service culture, was identified through consultation with both THA and DST members. This pilot aimed to identify the most effective strategy for doing this, in a way that industry would sustainably engage with.

The original project aimed to address service delivery in a holistic manner, with auditing to measure changes in guest experiences as a result of participation in the program.

Workshops were delivered to supervisors, managers and frontline staff at locations and times convenient to each business. The goal was to establish a foundation to build and maintain a culture of service within each participating organisation.

Given the rising popularity of Tasmania as a tourist destination, it is essential that tourism and hospitality businesses and their employees can provide service levels and local information that enhances the customer experience. This in turn delivers the level of service ‘promised’ in the tourism advertising, encourages positive word of mouth advertising that can further grow the Tasmanian tourism market, and enhances local patrons’ experience.

Measurement of the impact of the pilot program was sought from both the participants in the program as well as employers. Workshop feedback was overwhelmingly positive however employer feedback on the program has been mixed, time poorness and having to leave the venue and replace staff being major issues.

It is clear from the documentation that larger businesses were more able to more adequately deal with the higher, more time consuming training processes embarked upon in this exercise. Small and medium businesses struggled at this level.

The initial Program had many recommendations that were supported, however the pilot program also highlighted some sectoral issues that required addressing in order to contribute to raising service standards within the tourism and hospitality sectors.

There was a recognition that despite the good works undertaken, there were very significant issues. The program resourcing demands, and small number of venues able to be assessed is critical – at this rate we will take many, many years to get around the industry/s.

There was recognition that more issues than just Customer Service were in play and to recognise that program now has been renamed the Great Customer Experience – it is the experience that is remembered and brings clients back. 

In reviewing the program a number of major venues were identified that had systems that concentrate on the customer experience model.  Their programs concentrate on a few specific strategies:

  • identify the product being delivered – why do they come
  • identify the experience to be delivered – what will encourage them back
  • identify the roles of the venue staff that will deliver the product with quality and deliver the experience - how
  • train, mentor and reward – build ownership
  • gather data to measure success - review

These are not difficult concepts to articulate and recognise, this is a process that can be rolled out easily with small dedicated sessions for managers and current staff. It can be included as a model in generic pre-employment training sessions for students and new staff.

Again, this is easy task for a large organisation, but it had to be made manageable for small and medium enterprises.

The program has a couple of core philosophies that cater for this and these are outlined below.:

This project needed to continue as one that enhances the capacity for more industry people to be impacted, to learn and to implement strategies that create the Tasmanian Hospitality and Tourism Experience.

 

The Current Program

The Great Customer Experience Program was developed after an environmental scan for things that were already working in the industry rather than trying to build from the ground up.  Outcomes were:

  • there was a good program with solid concepts that used in-business engagement as strong focus
  • concepts were out there and venues used them, albeit not as a whole program
  • all venues when confronted with new program and concepts were immediately keen to proceed
  • the program is developed and marketed as an Awareness Program with important and measurable outcomes of training and other plans.  The plans must be Specific, MeasurableAchievable, Relevant and Time-bound.
  • The program is adaptable in size and outlook, and is as useful in a service station as it is in a hotel or tourism venture – it’s all about the Customer Experience.

There are some non-negotiable components for this Program:

  • the program is delivered free to the venue, delivered at the venue, delivered when the venue wanted it and customised to the venue need
  • venue management and staff to be at same presentation to build engagement between layers
  • supports the Tasmanian “Brand” through Tourism Tasmania
    • major focus is for participants to be aware of impacts across locality, region and State from the venue

The principles upon which the program is based are around a 3 to 4 step approach. 

  • firstly there is a Business Diagnostic done using social media and venue information
  • then a Business Report is developed and Program Development commences
    • The program can be delivered in several ways – if there are good Social media results and few issues raised during diagnostic analysis a truncated program takes place
    • discussions with venue management dictate the program focus, timing, and who to attend – this enables the program to be developed individually for each venue
  • a presentation occurs resulting in a final report, with findings and agreed plans and timings

There are 4 concepts that make up the program

  1. firstly, get staff and management engaged in the business - understand the business outcomes.  Staff engaged in the business work at a higher standard
    1. Focus on reputation – customer experiences are reflected in social media etc
      1. A poor reputation built on bad experiences will kill profit
  2. secondly, understand what a GCE looks like - this is where reputation comes from, assess how you meet the requirement
  3. thirdly, understand the Team and responsibilities, team work, disaster recovery techniques (part of toolkit)
  4. lastly, the understanding of the behaviours, skills and other parts of toolkit required to maintain a GCE in the venue and then the Output – Plans like training investment plans

The program results in agreed plans and timelines with support to be provided where possible – eg: sourcing training resourcing.

 

Training outcomes

The training outcomes come in 2 parts:

  • Accredited Skill Sets training funded through Skills Tasmania.  This requires staff being taken out of service and will be difficult for smaller, regional venues.
    • Requires Registered Training Organisation (RTO) delivery.
  • Non accredited training done by THA approved facilitators using video presentations and adapting the key messaging to the venue.  This can be done in 1 to 2 hour sessions and include practical learning.
    • Does not require RTO delivery unless specific practical sessions require it.

 

Non-Accredited Training

For the THA Non Accredited training is the vehicle that gets people involved in training – it is our pathway to “participation”.  A key plank for our Great Customer Experience Program is contact, diagnostic, presentation and ultimately training at your venue, when you want it, not interfering in service and available when you need it.  Non Accredited training allows us to meet these requirements.

It’s not accredited training but it will give your people some of the skills they need to “just do the job you want them to do”.

It also provides an experience that demonstrates to your staff that training is a good thing, and we hope that leads to staff embarking on a Skills Experience through accredited channels.  A better skilled industry is in all our best interests.

This is an important ingredient for rural and isolated venues where venues do not train, other than “on the job”.  It’s too hard to get relief staff and too expensive to have staff taken off line for up to 3 days.

The THA has adopted a product called Typsy to use as its base for providing non accredited training to venues.

It is video based and able to be delivered on site over a short time period to bring information and skills to employees.

Venues and employees can purchase the product themselves – it is usable over a number of platforms and is available 24/7.  Subject matter is from low operational tasks to complex management and social media issues.

THA adopts a model where a Facilitator runs the sessions – sets the scene (many of the videos are in higher class venues), make sure it is concentrated on the “messages” and uses the videos in whatever way gets the message across.  There may be some practical component to the training should the presenter have the skills required – eg coffee making.

For the THA Typsy is the vehicle that gets people involved in training – it is our pathway to “participation”.  A key plank for our Great Customer Experience Program is contact, diagnostic, presentation and ultimately training at your venue, when you want it, not interfering in service and available when you need it.  Typsy allows us to meet those requirements.

It’s not accredited training but it will give your people some of the skills they need to “just do the job you want them to do”.

It also provides an experience that demonstrates to your staff that training is a good thing, and we hope that leads to staff embarking on a Skills Experience through accredited channels.  A better skilled industry is in all our best interests.

Below is some info from Typsy – please look at this and ask yourselves the question – will it hurt me to give it a try.

 

Typsy

IS ONLINE TRAINING THE ANSWER FOR MILLENNIALS?

A recent survey has revealed what millennials want from the hospitality industry, and the answers might surprise you. One of their top concerns is simple – they want to work for companies that offer training and development opportunities.

Of course, introducing a training program into your venue works well in theory, but getting staff to engage with that training can be another battle entirely. People have different learning styles, so applying a one-size-fits-all approach is unlikely to keep everyone interested.

If your staff are not immediately stimulated, they will stop concentrating, which puts added pressure on you to create training that is engaging.

THA has partnered with Typsy to help members solve this issue. Typsy offers staff the chance to learn new hospitality skills through bite-sized online courses. It’s a fun style of learning tailor-made for the millennial generation. 

The Typsy platform caters to a number of different learning styles. There are online videos to watch and engage with, written resources for readers and writers, and exercises for kinesthetic learners.

 

VIDEOS ARE SHORT, SHARP AND FUN

Your staff can explore a growing library of short and snappy video lessons. Categories include bartending, coffee, management, marketing and service. Typsy listens closely to the demands of its members, and new courses are constantly being added on topics that are most relevant to you and your staff.

 

STAFF CAN ACCESS WORLD-LEADING INSTRUCTORS

Typsy’s instructors are chosen because they are world leaders in the hospitality industry, and because they are passionate about empowering others. They are World Barista Champions, award-winning restaurateurs, celebrated bartenders, consultants and educators, and they have invaluable wisdom to share. They hail from all over the world, which would make attending their training sessions impossible on a normal day, but Typsy brings them straight to your door. 

 

YOU CAN MAKE TRAINING REWARDING

Your staff have the chance to complete an assessment. If they pass, they earn a certificate, which they can proudly display on their Typsy profile. You can use this feature to create friendly competitions between staff.

Rewards motivate people to constantly challenge themselves and take things to the next level, which can only benefit your venue. By offering staff the chance to earn certificates, you’re also showing them how much you value their professional development, which will increase their loyalty to your business.

 

YOU CAN SCHEDULE TRAINING ON YOUR OWN TERMS

Training is most effective when it’s consistent, and one of the most convenient features of Typsy is that you can schedule training courses out to your team at any time. Upload a list of your employees into Typsy, and then organise them into specific groups and roles. Then allocate training to those who need it, whenever you choose.

For example, if your front of house staff need a refresher on their service skills, you can schedule training courses to that particular group. Or schedule training to a single staff member, or to everyone in the organisation. Your options are flexible, and scheduling only takes a few simple clicks – freeing up your day for other things.

 

YOU CAN MONITOR YOUR TEAM’S PROGRESS

The management dashboard shows you what your staff are watching (or not watching), if they have completed assessments, if their training schedules are overdue, and how many hours of training they have completed overall. It’s a fantastic resource for determining who your engaged staff members are, and who needs an extra push.  

 

STAFF CAN LEARN ANYTIME, ANYWHERE, ON ANY DEVICE

Why restrict training to a particular time or day when you can learn anytime? Typsy is available on desktop and as a mobile app (via the App Store or Google Play). Your team can watch training videos wherever they are, whenever they like. They can skill up on the bus before a shift, in the break room during the day, or from the couch when they’re at home – the options are endless. Giving them the ability to self-study when they need help is a great morale booster, and it will lift the quality of their work.

Proper and ongoing training should be a priority for all hospitality venues. According to the Council of Hotel and Restaurant Trainers in the US, “companies who spend 5% or more of their budget on certified trainers experience 23% less turnover than those who don’t.” That is undoubtedly true of hospitality businesses in Australia as well, where the employee turnover rate has reached peak levels.

 

We need to show young people that the hospitality industry is a viable career option for them, and that we care about their training and development. By offering them access to resources like Typsy, we can ensure that the future of the industry is bright.

To learn more about Typsy’s online training, or to request a free demo for your business, visit the website now.

Accredited Training

In the meantime there is still a requirement to provide customers with a professional experience that meets or exceeds their expectations.  This is what every business owner and operator seeks to achieve. In order to do this staff need to be equipped with the appropriate skills and abilities. It is very rare to have employees start work in a business that already have everything you require of your employees.

Employees can learn on the job but this is not a sustainable way to increase the skills in the industry, we need employees to seek out professional training outcomes, and to become qualified.  We can support this through an introduction to training via a non-accredited video based platform available to all venues and employees, or by assisting employees and venues to source accredited training outcomes.

We have preferred training partners who we regularly work with on training funding applications, best practice training for industry and innovative training programs to benefit our members and our industry.

Members are regularly notified of any opportunities to access industry relevant training programs offered by our training partners.

THA members can also speak to our staff about any enquiries related to staff training for all employees. Members are referred to our training partners based on their needs and which partner is able to offer a service that best meets requirements.

A further advantage of undertaking training through our training partners is that if you have any issues we can assist in resolving these for you.

The THA Accredited Registered Training Organisation partners are:

 

RTO Partners

No matter where you are in life, or what study or career goals you may have for your future, there is a hospitality qualification or training program that may be right for you. The hospitality industry need an additional 3500 workers by 2020 – are you one of them?

If you want an environment that gives you the opportunity to meet lots of new people, work flexible hours and gain skills and knowledge that will allow you to be employed anywhere in the world, the cookery and hospitality industry may be just what you are looking for.