Effective Customer Service

In most businesses, it is the staff that customers first come into contact with. Staff can create a good or bad first impression of the business. It is, therefore, vital for customers to receive good customer service that staff are properly trained and can provide what customers expect. Appearance Customers expect that staff will be dressed appropriately for the job they are carrying out and for the type of goods or service that they provide. They also generally expect them to be tidy.

When dealing with food or personal contact with customers, it is expected that staff also have high standards of personal hygiene. The appearance of staff at Chester Zoo is vital as they present Chester Zoo as an organisation, giving off either a positive/negative image dependant on their appearance. At Chester Zoo, all staff are provided with a uniform consisting of a green jumper with their logo at the same height as their name badge. They are also given a pair of green trousers and black boots, which are only to be worn once entering Chester Zoo, and not outside or on the way in to the zoo.

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Their uniform must look immaculate at all times and worn correctly. They should have a neat haircut and tied up if long enough to do so. Staff that work with the animals wear a different uniform to those members of staff who work at the zoo. After handling the animals or their food, it is essential that the staff wash their hands before moving on to the next task in order to maintain certain hygiene standards and as part of health and safety.

I think that appearance is a weakness at Chester Zoo because the uniform is plain and boring, it is not easily recognisable and does not stand out as well as it should, making it difficult for customers to easily seek help or advice from a Chester Zoo employee prohibiting the employees to provide Chester Zoo’s customers with excellent customer service. However, the strengths of Chester Zoo’s uniform are that their name badge and the logo is worn at the same height so that visitors know who they are, and that they work for the zoo. Their hair is always tied up and this makes them look more presentable to the zoo. Teamwork and Training

Effective customer service would entail the staff to work together as a team; they could clean out the animals together or feed them together, clean out by as this provides the best service possible to their visitors, also providing an efficient service. All staff undergo Chester Zoo’s training programme which includes Presentation and personal appearance, they are explained the aims and Chester Zoo’s mission statement, they are taught how to communicate effectively, the importance of their own role in the organisation, specific departmental training, they are also trained to handle complaints procedures efficiently.

Some new staff who may have never worked in this type of environment and can easily adapt to their requirements. Training helps to build up the staffs team-working skills as a part of their training course, even where staff have good customer service skills it will be necessary from time to time to provide additional training. In this programme, the staff both train and use their team working skills to play group activities and games. Chester Zoo has both strengths and weaknesses because firstly their staff play the more individual roles within the zoo.

The training that staff receive is good but only if the training is put into action when actually starting their working roles, therefore if the jobs like cleaning out the animals or feeding it helps them to get on much better as a group. Training is a strength in terms of providing customer service for Chester Zoo due to the amount of training they are provided with, by Chester Zoo. The employees are then well trained to a high standard and can work independently and dependently to achieve the best possible service for the visitors.

It is essential that Chester keep their staff fully trained therefore making them fully capable to make sensible decisions when dealing with customers. Premises The premises also affect customer service. There are two main aspects of the premises of a business that are most likely to be of a particular concern to customers. These are where the zoo is located and how the zoo is laid out. Location The location of a business will be important to both internal and external customers. For external customers, their main concerns will also be how easy it is to get to the business and also if there is, how much parking is provided.

They would also expect to have other attractions nearby that they may like to visit. Easier access could be provided, Chester Zoo already have a small scale map on the back of leaflets which contains the major motorway links near and around Chester, which may prove to be useful to external customers who are travelling by road. Chester Zoo also gives directions to get there by public transport (buses routes and trains etc) from places like Bache Railway Station and also from Birkenhead, Liverpool, Ellesmere port and Cheshire Oaks.

This type of information is mainly useful to new customers at the zoo as generally the older customers know there way around. Some visitors know their way around. Some visitors may just want to use the route giving them the most convenience whether this is the fastest or the cheapest. External customers may also want to make a weekend out of the trip and may therefore want to be local to other attractions as some customers may have a distance to travel. Chester is a major city and directions for the zoo are noticeable especially from the main roundabout with a clearly labelled signpost directing all visitors to be zoo.

Some other attractions within the local vicinity of the zoo are the Blue Planet Aquarium, which is only two miles away; the main city of Chester is not that far along with art galleries, museums, parks, castles and golf courses etc. There are virtual tours and other special features that can guide the visitors on the internet. In the zoo, there are methods of transport, which help the visitor to look around the zoo with the help of a monorail that travels all around the grounds of the zoo and the waterbus ride.

Overall the location of Chester Zoo is a strength because they consider their visitors as individuals and as individuals they all have their own needs and Chester Zoo has researched these needs of their current and potential customers and therefore have succeeded in trying to meet the needs of these individuals therefore gaining the loyalty of their visitors and increasing repeat business into the zoo. Layout of premises The layout of most businesses can have a major effect on the service provided to customers.

This is most easily seen in shops where customers expect to have easy access to the goods and to be able to find their way around without having to ask for assistance. Customers main expectations are for Chester Zoo to have a main entrance as it make the organisation look more professional and the amount of visitors that visit during peak times would need a main entrance. In all restaurants and around the zoo, Chester Zoo’s visitors are mainly families with young children and they may need toilet facilities nearby. The toilets may need more than just a few cubicles to stop long queues forming.

In order to help the visitors the layout of the animals must be in some kind of logical order within each section. In Chester Zoo, there are a number of shops and restaurants, kiosks etc selling practically everything a visitor may require. These little outlets are very well spaced out from each other. The layouts in these premises are also placed in a logical order. Aspects like shelving and the space between products were taken into consideration too, because when these businesses are busy pushing and shoving may occur and to minimise this they have spaced out the products enough to decrease goods falling around.

All restaurants, shops and kiosks must be kept fully stocked at all times instead of turning away business. The tills are situated near the doors of the restaurants and shops in order for visitors with limited amount of time do not have to waste time, also the staff who are working on the tills can keep an eye on everything going on. The menus are put everywhere noticeable to the visitors clearly with what they have to offer and what prices they charge nearby. The staff there are friendly and approachable, which helps to improve the atmosphere of the restaurant.

The restaurant is clean and hygienic and they provide a fast service. There are plenty of seats in various group sizes dependant on how big or small the groups are there is inside and outside seating even when busy. Chester Zoo uses their location and layout aspects as an advantage as they do all of the above, signposts to maps etc helping visitors to get around. There are also numerous amounts of toilet facilities, shops, restaurants etc. However, their weaknesses are that the toilet facilities do not have sufficient number of cubicles making long queues for the visitors.

Overall the layout of the zoo is successful therefore a strength to the organisation and meets the requirements of the visitors, by improving their shortage of seating problems would mean less or even no waiting around for the visitors. Every now and then there should be big maps of the whole zoo and a little pin pointer to show the visitors where they are at the minute in comparison to where they might be going to. As the visitors are continuing to walk around the zoo it is important that there are signposts that reassure the visitors that they are walking the right way to get to where they want to be.

Providing quality products and services For most customers the quality of the product or service is a major factor in terms of what they want from a business. Value for money and after care service are some key features that customers might expect from quality products or services. Value for Money When customers buy a product or service they expect its quality to reflect how much was paid for it. For the majority of people looking at the price it is seen as the main measure of quality, but at the same time customers want a bargain. As well as this, they expect value for money.

Most products are advertised to perform a particular function and if the price is acceptable to the customers and it does perform that function effectively, they will feel that they are getting value for money. I believe that not all the features, events offered by the zoo are value for money. I think that Chester Zoo’s weaknesses are that families on lower income salaries may not be able to afford going to the zoo often. A family ticket would cost i?? 35 however a single adult ticket is charged at i?? 10. 95 and a child for ages 3-15 i?? 7. 95, this maybe expensive for low-income families.

However, their strengths are that compared to their competitors their prices are quite low. Overall value for money at Chester Zoo is a strength mainly due to the amount of customer service provided which mainly improves the zoo. Chester Zoo are providing an eventful day out for the whole family and although this does come at an extortionate cost it does equate out to approximately i?? 50 excluding food throughout the day which would then cost extra and therefore increasing the price of the day out and the children may wish to purchase goods from the gift shop. After-Care Service

It is essential that when Chester Zoo have provided their service and if their visitors were dissatisfied with their experience at the zoo, then instead of Chester Zoo ignoring it and thinking that it is done now and they can’t change their customers opinions. Nevertheless, this is where they would go wrong and they can turn these negative opinions of these dissatisfied customers into positive opinions by providing them a complimentary day out on behalf of Chester Zoo ensuring that this experience will override their past experience hoping that it will not leave their visitors with an unpleasant view of Chester Zoo.

However according to Chester Zoo this scenario should rarely happen as they are a charity based organisation and will therefore not succeed to be a thriving organisation if they continuously give out complimentary tickets to their visitors. In order to minimise this they have put in place an internal complaints procedure that all their staff are aware of and follow in order to prevent any ill feelings. After-care service would also consist of a written form of communication to pass the information with the complimentary tickets to the dissatisfied visitors.

To conclude that after-care service is used as a strength for Chester Zoo and this is better for them and their customers as they would not have to experience such a unpleasant experience. Overall Chester Zoo have excellent after-care service and will therefore minimise any possibilities for their past visitors to refuse to go back again to visit the zoo, this is important that Chester Zoo realise that it is in their best interest to keep as many visitors as possible happy as they cannot literally afford to through away business.