Northern Ireland Tourist Board

How can we help?

Or browse

Excellent Customer Service

Blackwell House, Scarva

What is excellent customer service

We all know what great service feels like and just as importantly, what it feels like to be on the receiving end of bad customer service.

We know what we are likely to do, as a result - compliment or complain and most importantly tell others about the experience. And now with social media channels at our fingertips – it is easier than ever to share stories with thousands of potential customers. 

So, if we know what it feels like for ourselves, then we need to put this knowledge to use when creating excellent customer service in our own business. It is all about how special and valued you and your team can make your customers feel.

Tips to help you deliver unbeatable service experiences:

Treat people as individuals and pay attention to detail

  • Paying attention to details should be done with a light touch and above all with sincerity. It is up to you to judge what to do and when and this will vary, according to the personality of each visitor
  • Get personal. Use a guest’s name where possible but don’t over use it. If it written make sure that it is spelt correctly and you are using the right title. Nothing will offend or impress quicker than correct use of a persons’ name
  • Remembering someone from a previous visit speaks volumes about how you value your guests.
  • A visitor’s journey starts at their front door, not at yours. Be aware of the steps involved in their journey and offer to make it easier through arranging pickups, parking, being flexible on timing etc.
  • Make check-in a pleasure. Offer refreshments and make sure your staff know how to meet and greet guests the way you would like them to
  • Develop menus for visitors with allergies or those looking for a healthy-eating option
  • Keep in touch with visitors directly or through digital channels.
  • Ensure your wifi password is clearly and readily available. Make it easy for your customers to post their good comments online.
  • Make sure your staff know what offers that are valid and how they work.
  • Ensure your photographs are up to date and relevant.
  • Make sure your website is easy to navigate and easy to use. Your customers’ attention is brief.

Motivate and empower your team

  • You can’t be everywhere so it is vital that you are surrounded with people you can trust to deliver the experience in the same way that you would
  • Set standards. Ensure your team has adequate time to prepare, train and practice delivering their part in the total experience journey
  • Encourage your staff to let their individuality shine through.
  • How your treat them will directly reflect on how they will treat your customers, so treat them well.
  • Value your staff. This will keep your team motivated and your visitors inspired
  • Empower your staff to deal with every situation. Develop an ideas culture. Reward staff for generating and sharing visitor inspired concepts
  • Define staff roles. Ensure your team is satisfied, committed and rewarded
  • Meet regularly with your team to generate ideas and keep up to date with developments in your business and in tourism in general.


Demand high standards

  • Create a team of motivated, skilled people. Be clear right from recruitment how you define customer service and continue to be clear what that means to your business.
  • Make sure your online promise matches your offline product. It’s always better to over promise than to under deliver. If you say you going to deliver a 5 star experience, you need to know that everyone on your team know how to do that.
  • Do what you say you will do and tell the truth. If something happens and you are not able to keep your promise then say sorry, mean it and make amends
  • Be a visitor for a day in your own area and and recommend only the things that made a lasting impression.
  • Learn from others. Experience first-hand how they engage with visitors. Benchmark, set goals and strive to constantly raise your game.
  • Look at what other tourism businesses are doing. Take inspiration from them. Always try to add an authentic Northern Irish twist and then tell your story to the world.
  • Believe in yourself and enter for relevant awards. If you are lucky enough to win, make sure everyone knows it.


Telephone service

Just because a person on the phone can’t see you, it doesn’t mean that they can’t feel you. Your body language and tone will be picked up and it can change the direction they take the enquiry / conversation.

On every call encourage you staff to follow these tips for getting it right:

  • Sit up or stand up
  • Look slightly upwards
  • Smile – you really can hear a smile
  • Stay focussed and attentive, no matter what else is going on around you.
  • Use the person’s name but don’t over use it
  • At the end of the conversation say a sincere thank you.


Open honest communication

  • Develop a culture of open, friendly communication between you and your customers
  • When things go wrong, listen carefully, never blame and do what you can to put things right. One unhappy customer can tell many more so nip it in the bud early.
  • Ask visitors in advance what they are most looking forward to seeing in Northern Ireland and recommend things to do and see in your area.
  • Encourage guests to share holiday highlights. You can use this detail with another guest
  • Ask for feedback and how you could improve things to make their experience even better.
  • Engage with both potential and existing customers through social media channels.
  • Give people a reason to choose you. Post regular updates through email and social media. Tell them what’s on, what’s new and encourage them to think of visiting again.


WorldHost Training

With Northern Ireland hosting high profile events putting us in the global spotlight there is a unique opportunity for businesses in tourism, hospitality, leisure and transport to showcase the best of Northern Ireland and to build repeat business by providing a warm welcome and impeccable customer service to our visitors.

Developed for the Northern Ireland market by Tourism NI and People 1st, the workforce development expert for the hospitality, tourism, travel passenger transport and retail industries. The programme offers delegates a comprehensive training toolkit that can be used across a wide variety of industries where the quality of front-line customer service is key to business success.

Over one million customer-facing staff globally have been trained on WorldHost customer service programmes. WorldHost was first developed in Canada to train 40,000 volunteers and front-line tourism staff for the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010. The programme has since been successfully launched in the UK and was used to train 200,000 customer-facing staff at the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and other world-class events, including the 2014 Ryder Cup, the Commonwealth Games, and the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

The WorldHost programme is modern and energetic offering a comprehensive training toolkit and topical DVD and CD case study scenarios. It can be used across a wide variety of industries where the quality of customer service is key to the success of business.

For more information click here or contact Tourism NI’s Industry Development team.

Download Blackwell House – Excellent Customer Service Case Study