Challenging economic times lead to higher stress levels than normal which can make customer service work even more challenging but also creates a need for better personalised service, proactive problem solving and service staff that listen to their customer’s needs.

4 Key Challenges for 2023

  1. One of the key challenges has been a lack of hospitality staff since the pandemic and the reduction of long term, experienced industry professionals with the inevitable impact on service levels. 2023 will therefore need to see greater investment in service training, up-skilling and a massive focus on retaining team members.
  2. Customers are going to continue to feel a squeeze on their pockets for some time which means that to retain and grow custom, great customer service and the feeling of an experience will be an increasingly important differentiator. The four key pillars of customer service (promptness, politeness, professionalism, and personalisation) will be what customers will want to see consistently delivered if they are going to part with their hard-earned cash.
  3. Many restaurants will increasingly be looking to reduce menu sizes. Partly in response to reduced skilled staffing numbers but also to help control food waste and the current unpredictability of supply chains. Reduced food waste will of course help control the impact of rising costs but also responds to the growing need to behave ethically and sustainably. There will likely be an increase in the option of an “elevated side dish” with the core dish being available on its own to balance value for money with the need to occasionally treat yourself. History tells us that in difficult economic times customers will still want to treat themselves from time to time!
  4. Tech will continue to play a growing part in service delivery but in a more balanced way. Customers want convenience and, in some arenas, there will likely be a growth in self-service options or pre-ordering and continued investment in websites/online menus as the use of mobile devices, such as phones and tablets, are increasingly the first impression a customer has of service. However, the balance will be a need for human interaction and the feeling of being treated well and treated as an individual.

Markets will start to improve

If you were to believe everything in the media right now, then you could possibly feel a sense of dread and impending doom and gloom for 2023. There is no doubt that there will be some challenges ahead but overall, I personally believe that markets will start to improve in 2023 compared to the past few years and although there will be some rocky moments, the service sector will, as always, continue to evolve to cope with changing circumstances.

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