Customer Service Hero: Kristen Pilarek

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Keeping our clients and their delegates happy is a critical part of our business success at EEF Venues. 

Kristen Pilarek, Acting Food & Beverage Manager at Woodland Grange in Leamington Spa, is a shining example of a young person whose passion for service is having a positive impact on the team around her - and on the wider business.

27-year-old Kristen manages a busy food & beverage department which produces up to 500 covers every day at our award winning conference centre.

We interviewed Kristen to see what makes her an outstanding customer service champion.

What qualities do you need for your role?

I think that being meticulously organised is essential because this has a positive impact on my team. If they know they can rely and trust me, it gives them the confidence to do their job well too. What’s great is that when I am away they follow the same processes so this ensures consistency of service standards. Sharing good practice also nurtures future customer service heroes.    

What is the most important thing you do to make clients happy?

Listen. To engage with clients at each touch point is essential, and to do that effectively, you have to listen.  We all love the sound of our own voices but actually, it is the customer’s voice that matters. Tuning into their needs and wants is what makes them return.

What is the second most important thing you do to make clients happy?

Listen some more – and watch. Sometimes, a customer doesn’t have to say a word because their body language says it all. It’s important to be able to read people. At times, it takes instinct but it’s about knowing when and how to engage with someone to makes things better. Even a smile can make the world of a difference if someone is having a bad day.  

How do you ensure consistent standards?

Attention to detail is everything, particularly in a food & beverage environment. It’s the little things that count such as ensuring that the flowers on the table are fresh, the salt & pepper pots are full and the table linen is spotless. Great customer service is about creating a mind-set throughout the entire team to keep standard high.

Tell us about food at Woodland Grange?

Food at Woodland Grange is fresh, seasonal, sourced locally and all cooked on-site by our craft-trained brigade. We are fortunate to have EEF Venue’s comprehensive food development policy underlining everything we do to ensure that we are on top of the latest food styles, speciality diets and trends. Our menus are eclectic and we offer our delegates the freedom to eat in the restaurant, the lounge, the bar or in the comfort of their own rooms.

Sum up great customer service in one sentence. 

If something looks as if it’s going wrong, the easiest thing to do is to solve it.


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