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A beginner’s guide to being courteous in English when working in hospitality

Welcome to this beginner’s guide to being courteous in English when working in hospitality! Working in the hospitality industry can be both rewarding and challenging, especially if you are not a native speaker of English.
This guide is designed to help those who are new to the industry and are looking for tips on how to show polite customer service when communicating in English.
With the right strategies and understanding of English politeness rules, you can learn to effectively communicate with English speaking guests. Keep reading to find out more!



Greeting customers

When working in hospitality, greeting customers is the first and most important step in providing excellent customer service. It sets the tone for the entire interaction and can make a big impact on how the customer perceives their experience.
In English, the most common greeting is simply “Hello” or “Hi.” You can also add a polite title such as “Sir” or “Madam” to show respect. It’s important to make eye contact and smile when greeting customers, as this helps to create a welcoming atmosphere.
If the customer greets you first, be sure to respond with a friendly greeting of your own. You might say something like “Good morning, how can I assist you?” or “Hello, how are you today?”
Remember to adjust your tone and style of speech depending on the customer. Some guests may prefer a formal, polite greeting while others may prefer a more casual approach.
Paying attention to these cues will help you to build a better rapport with your customers.
Overall, greeting customers is an essential part of providing good customer service in hospitality. By being friendly, polite and attentive, you can make a positive first impression that sets the tone for a great experience.

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Saying please and thank you

It may seem like common sense to say please and thank you, but it is a key element of showing courteous customer service in the hospitality industry. Using these words will make your guests feel appreciated and valued.
When asking for an order or making a request, always begin with “please”. For example, “Can I please take your order?” or “Please let me know if there is anything else I can do for you.” Using this word shows that you are polite and respectful.
When your guests make a request or ask for something, always respond with “certainly” or “right away” and thank them for their order. For example, “Certainly, I will get that for you right away. Thank you for your order.”
Additionally, remember to say “thank you” when your guests compliment your service or after they have paid their bill. A simple “Thank you for dining with us today” or “Thank you for your kind words” goes a long way in making your guests feel appreciated.
In summary, always use “please” and “thank you” when interacting with your guests. It shows that you have good manners and that you value their business.

Listening to customers

In any hospitality job, listening to your customers is an important part of providing great service. Even if English isn’t your first language, there are simple steps you can take to make sure you understand what your customers are saying and show that you’re actively listening.
First, make eye contact and give your customer your full attention when they’re speaking to you. Avoid distractions like looking at your phone or talking to a colleague while they’re speaking.
Next, don’t be afraid to ask your customers to repeat themselves if you didn’t catch what they said. You can say something like, “I’m sorry, could you please say that again?” or “I’m not sure I understood, could you clarify?”
If you’re still having trouble understanding, try paraphrasing what the customer said back to them in your own words. This can help you confirm that you’ve understood correctly and shows the customer that you’re taking their concerns seriously.
It’s also important to use active listening techniques, such as nodding and making affirmative noises like “mm-hmm” or “I see”. These small cues show the customer that you’re engaged in the conversation and encourage them to keep talking.
By actively listening to your customers, you can provide better service and build positive relationships with them. Even if English isn’t your first language, taking the time to listen and understand shows that you’re committed to providing great customer service.


Dealing with complaints

No matter how good your service is, there will always be customers who are unhappy. Complaints are a part of working in hospitality, but how you handle them can make all the difference in ensuring a positive customer experience.
When dealing with complaints, it is important to stay calm and listen attentively to the customer’s concerns. Use phrases such as “I understand how you feel” and “I apologize for the inconvenience” to show empathy and sincerity.
Next, try to find a solution to the problem. Ask the customer what they would like to see happen, and offer possible solutions that are within your power to execute. If necessary, escalate the complaint to a manager or supervisor.
Remember to stay professional and never argue with the customer. Keep the conversation respectful and focused on finding a solution.
After resolving the issue, thank the customer for bringing it to your attention and for allowing you to assist them. Follow up with any necessary actions, such as filling out a complaint form or offering a discount on their next visit.
By handling complaints with patience and professionalism, you can turn a negative situation into a positive one and ensure a happy customer.


Saying goodbye

When it’s time for your guests to leave, it’s important to make sure they feel appreciated and welcomed back.

Here are some polite ways to say goodbye:

  1. Thank them for their visit: You can say something like, “Thank you for coming. We hope you had a great time.”
  2. Invite them back: Let your guests know that you’d love to see them again. You can say something like, “We hope to see you again soon.”
  3. Offer assistance: If your guests need help with anything, be sure to offer your assistance. You can say something like, “Please let us know if there’s anything else we can do for you.”
  4. Use polite language: Always end the conversation on a polite note. Use phrases such as “Have a great day,” “Take care,” or “Enjoy the rest of your day.”
Remember, the way you say goodbye can make a lasting impression on your guests. So, be sure to end the conversation on a positive and polite note.

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