Leisure and tourism workers are simply not welcoming enough and need to up their game in preparation for the 2012 Olympic Games, according to a new survey.
The study by customer experience analysts Sidona Group showed that 59% of customers do not think the UK will be ready to deliver a world class experience when the UK comes under the spotlight next year.
The poll, carried out as part of National Customer Service Week, tested out perceptions of customer experience in hotels, restaurants and attractions and concludes there is a "clear need" for enhanced staff training.
More than 25% of those surveyed think hospitality businesses only deliver "acceptable" experiences while 57% of those polled think staff skills need improving. Some 16% say the product is "simply not up to scratch".
The poll also looked at the UK customer experience geographically and found that 57% of tourists say they get the best experience in the South West. That figure dropped to 20% when talking about London.
Customer experience director Sidona Group Anne Blackburn said: "We are obviously not quite there yet when it comes to making sure frontline leisure and tourism businesses deliver the sort of experience our visitors expect.
"With Visit Britain estimating that tourism outside London is set to benefit by £0.62 billion as a result of the Olympics, it is critical that we get the experience right if we are to benefit long term.
"Our survey shows that getting products and processes right is just a small part of the picture. With over 50% of an experience coming from the emotions staff evoke when interacting with visitors, and this could be negative - frustrated, neglected, disappointed - or positive - valued, cared for, pleased - it is vital the experience generates the positive emotions that leave lasting memories visitors will treasure and, most importantly, share."
She added: "Businesses must start to question how and what they are delivering to their customers and if they are going to benefit from summer 2012 they need to do so now."
By Dinah Hatch
Wednesday, October 26, 2011