Customer Service Hero

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For the last ten years, Akmed Ali, venue support services supervisor at EEF Venues’ Broadway House in Westminster, has been quietly making his mark on this AIM Gold accredited venue.

His role involves everything from ensuring that meeting rooms are set up to clients’ requirements to property maintenance, technical support and administration. But that’s just for starters; what Akmed actually does, day-in, day-out, is keep our customers happy. The smile on his face says it all. We caught up with him to share his thoughts on why he is always on a mission to please customers.

What qualities do you need for your role?
Flexibility is essential; you simply can’t be a clock-watcher or tie yourself down to rigid hours. I know it’s a cliché to say that you have to go that extra mile but it really is all about having the right attitude. Great customer service is about saying ‘yes’. It’s about finding solutions and putting yourself out for customers. A love of the job and a positive work ethic help too. Being calm and diplomatic are also essential qualities for my role.   

What is the most important thing you do to make clients happy?
I treat each and every customer as an individual and make them feel important. This is a people business and everyone likes to be treated well, from the moment they arrive right through their venue experience. I don’t view my job as playing a role. This is a huge part of my life so I take it personally in that I throw myself into it by building relationships and rapport with customers. I find that the more open I am, the more customers respond and enjoy their experience at Broadway House. 

What is the second most important thing you do to make clients happy?
Listen and try to understand their needs, challenges and objectives, - and never, ever say no.

How do you ensure consistent standards?
Industry bench-marking schemes like AIM and BDRC ensure consistency and we are fortunate to have all of the resources of the EEF Venues’ group behind us to keep standards high. But a lot comes naturally too. Our regular on-site team meetings, shared goals, personal targets and on-going appraisals keep us all united in aiming for the highest standards of customer service excellence.

Give one example of going beyond the call of duty for a customer?
A client arrived approximately half an hour before her presentation was due to begin, and much to her horror, released that she had left all of her presentation notes in her hotel. She needed to stay at the venue to greet her delegates so I hot-footed by train to Mayfair, retrieved the bag from her hotel room and returned to Broadway House in double quick time! She was extremely grateful and I was only too happy to have been of assistance.

Sum up great customer service in one sentence.
For me, great customer service is about treating others as you would like to be treated yourself. If you achieve that, your customers will go home happy and come back.  

 500 BE Ali
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