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Cashing in on Carnival

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St. Lucia has done it with their Jazz Festival and Barbados has mastered it with Crop Over. These are not just mere festivals.{{more}} These events are cash cows for almost everyone on the island. The success stems from excellent marketing and a unified effort by locals to ensure that everyone has a great time, even when buying something as simple as food.

In a few weeks, SVG will be bursting at the seams with tourists and Vincentians returning home. Everybody will be spending, and businesses need to launch a very strong customer service campaign to gain repeat customers to the island and to their establishments. It is common knowledge that it costs twice as much to get a new customer than it does to keep a current customer, so the effort is worth it.

People like to feel important, regardless of who they are, their socio-economic background or even where they are from. The tourist spending $100 on drinks wants the same feeling as the youngster spending $10-15 on a lunch. They want fast, quality, consistent service and, once they find it, chances are they will be repeat customers for this Carnival and more to come. If you now own a restaurant or bar or will own a food stall or street bar for Carnival, pay attention and don’t let profits fly out the window. Here are a few deadly customer service mistakes your business must avoid:

The service is too slow and the lines are too long. Even when there is no line, service can be slow at many places, but consider your patrons. They are tired from the jigging up and singing and they chose your place to eat; the least you can do is offer fast service. Long lines are a frustration to customers and a sure way to lose revenue, even if your place is popular.

Rude staff. Service with a smile can be difficult, especially when serving intoxicated customers. However, this is the nature of the industry. The staff should not let customers feel as if their request for service is a horrible inconvenience. A smile and simple manners are still expected.

Filth, filth all around. Trash becomes a problem fast. Designate one person to do a walk-through every hour or so to clean the restrooms and vicinity immediately outside the business, replenish the supplies, and rid the place of offensive odours and garbage.

The food is cold or not cooked properly and drinks are warm. In the haste to capitalize on the potential to make money, some major details often fall through the cracks. Take the time to season the food, cook it well and serve it hot with a cold drink. No exceptions. Make or buy extra ice if needed, as it’s frustrating to drink a warm soda on a hot Caribbean night because the fast food place ran out of ice.

Clueless staff. You and your staff should have a working knowledge of the island’s attractions and the Carnival schedule. Post the schedule in your business. You are not just selling food, but the island and all it has to offer.

Karen Hinds is “The Workplace Success Expert.” For a FREE SPECIAL REPORT on Avoiding Career Killers in the Workplace, send an email to info@workplacesuccess.com

Visit online at www.workplacesuccess.com

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