Finding the right person for the right role is expensive. The average cost of recruitment is estimated to be around £4,000 per position. In customer service industries, where jobs are often seen as temporary, the costs accumulate quickly.

In hospitality, operators are facing additional hurdles. Recruitment is at a low, and careers in the industry are actively discouraged. The possibility of life outside the single market may see some of these issues carried over to other customer service industries.
Getting the right people in the door is difficult, and keeping hold of them is even harder. So how can you maximise the ROI on recruitment?

1. Establish a Pattern of Development

Customer services roles aren’t always considered long-term careers, just jobs. Establishing a pattern of learning and development amongst your teamdemonstrates that there’s opportunity for progression, shifting your team’s mindset from that of transient job seekers to career trailblazers.
Any training you offer needs to be interesting and insightful. Gamify it, through badges and rewards, for example, to make progress tangible. Include team members in the learning process, create them personalised learning pathways that align with their goals and ambitions, and guide them through the key development milestones.

It may seem counter intuitive to maximise staff ROI by increasing the investment, but can you afford not to? Once you’ve gone to the trouble and expense of finding the right people for your team, keeping them and getting the most out of them is the next big task.

And as a bonus, the better training means general customer service skills will improve, alongside team motivation to stay.

2. Increase the return

Get the most out of every team member by maximising the sales they’re generating.

Better training and support will play a part in this (our research shows that 96% of guests believe staff training has the biggest impact on their spend), but a lot of it comes from attitude. While no one wants to be a pushy sales person, suggesting premium products and offering extras that will genuinely enhance their experience is good for customers and the bottom line.

It’s not a matter of aggressively upselling to every person who walks through your doors; just encourage staff to make customers aware of what’s available to them, and ensure that the team is able to talk confidently about the value of everything you offer. As your sales grow, so does the ROI on recruitment.

3. Invest them in the company vision

Demonstrating your support of your staff is only half the battle – the other half is getting them to support you, too. Your team needs to be engaged with your brand. If they don’t see what’s special about your company and why it’s worth sticking with, there won’t be anything to prevent them finding better offers.

To invest team members in the company vision, it’s simple – communicate it! Be open with your employees about your plans. Explain their role in the company mission. And make sure your brand identity is clear and consistent in everything you do, so they can see the passion in your business.

4. Foster a reward culture

If employees feel their contributions are being overlooked, it won’t be long until they’re off somewhere their efforts are appreciated.

Raises, public recognition… even just a handshake and a sincere “thank you” can encourage staff.

Several of our clients ask our Mystery Diners if any staff member went above and beyond during their visit, alerting them to incidents of extraordinary service that would have gone unnoticed. It’s also common practice to provide rewards for teams that have had high scoring visits, which also has the bonus of incentivising good customer service. Show that you care about and value your employees’ work, and you’ll find them working for you longer.

5. Focus them on the customer

It’s not just staff loyalty you need to think about. In any customer service-focused industry, your mind needs to be on the customer at all times, and it’s loyal customers that yield the highest returns. In hospitality for example, the 15% of guests that are loyal account for about 30% of all visits, and there’s been plenty of research across other industries showing similar results.

Customer loyalty is a matter of consistency: one survey found that 47% of customers would switch to a competitor after a negative experience. If customers can depend on you to consistently deliver them a good experience, however, they’ll return time and time again.

Establish a strong, detailed operational framework for staff to work to, and regularly measure their actions against the framework to ensure that your staff are delivering reliability to your customers. If your team can convert casual customers into loyal ones, the ROI from staff will keep increasing even after they’ve left.

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About The Author

Managing Director of HGEM

Steven Pike is the Managing Director of HGEM, a position he has held since 2008. HGEM is the authority in Guest Experience Management, helping hospitality businesses to measure and close the gap between actual and intended guest experiences. He has also been an organisational change consultant for over a decade, with a particular focus on the use of learning technologies. Steven has experience working in a broad range of business sectors, plus an MBA from the University of Bath. His focus on the needs and behaviours of customers was shaped during an early career with Waitrose.