Dealing with regulars

Regular customers are something that people in a wide range of hospitality jobs will be familiar with.

It might be that man who comes into the coffee shop every morning for his brew, or the woman who often tends to bring her friends to dine in your restaurant.

Sometimes, it can be appropriate for those in public facing roles to change their behaviour a little bit where this sort of customer is concerned. Here are five thing's it's worth considering where regular customers are concerned.

Look out for the regulars

The strange thing is, you might not even notice someone is a regular for a while – though they might know who you are.

Because customers see you in the same context every time they visit, they'll quickly associate you with your place of work and know if you've served them before. They may even recall past conversations.

But while you're serving people at work, you see many more faces as part of the same working day and talk to many more people, so you may not as instantly recognise regulars.

Keep this in mind, incase someone starts chatting to you at work as if you've talked before. It could be you've overlooked someone who's a bit of a regular!

Pre-empt their choices

People may feel pleased if you show you remember them and their choices – the type of coffee they normally go for, for example. It helps them feel like you are paying attention to them as a customer.

That said, if you're going to ask someone if they want 'the usual?' be sure to phrase it in an open way, so they don't feel like they're being hemmed into their past choices when they might want to change things up.

If someone has ordered the same thing only once or twice, it might be a good idea to avoid preempting their choice, until they've shown the habit is a little more lasting!

Remember, we're not all into familiarity

Strange as it seems, not everyone wants to be treated as if they are recognised when they come for a drink of coffee. It can actually feel off putting to some people, who may have come to your establishment to feel alone, and dislike small talk.

It's down to your intuition as someone serving to try and spot these people. The right technique with them may be to carry on being friendly, as you would be with any customer, but not place too much emphasis on referring back to the fact they are in your venue often.

Learn to deal with time-fillers

Some customers, on the other hand, love a chat so much that they may end up nattering to you for a long time, when really you need to be moving on to other tasks. Knowing how to deal with this type of customer is all part of a public-facing job. Politely telling them that you must be getting on with another job should do the trick! You can always ask other workers how they approach the same customers, as they may find these people like a long talk, too.

Berkeley Scott is a specialist recruitment agency to help source hospitality recruitment jobs.

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