AUTHENTIC GREENLAND, AUTHENTIC SERVICE
One of the precious things about travelling around in Greenland, is that you don’t have to try hard to get that ‘authentic’ moment. Tourists can find local experiences and have local interactions almost anywhere they go. Compared to more established destinations, tourism in Greenland has not developed to the point where there is a kitsch souvenir shop on the side of every street.
One of the benefits of going to a more ‘touristy’ destination, however, is that there are more goods and services available. With more competition, comes higher demand to constantly reiterate products and improve service levels.
The tourism sector in Greenland is small and niche, but it is growing. In 2014 - 2015 there was a growth of 24% of international flight passengers in Greenland, and since then, there was a steady growth of approximately 10% in 2015 - 2016 (tourismstat.gl). With this growth comes the need to improve certain standards that most tourists now come to expect when they go on holiday. Read: customer service. A dream scenario for Greenland could be holding to the authenticity of the place while being able to continually improve and offer better products and service.
TOP 7 CUSTOMER SERVICE TIPS
Visit Greenland collected some feedback from a different range of tourists who visited the country over the summer. Some of these people were press who were sponsored by Visit Greenland, others were regular tourists who were interviewed through the Greenland Mapping Project. Finally, some of these points were collected personally by the author, who played tourist in South Greenland this summer.
1 - Like your guest!
This is probably one of the most important customer service points when working in any experience economy sector. Do you like working with people and interacting with them? If not, perhaps tourism is the wrong industry for you. It doesn’t matter if you can’t speak the same language, because your body language will convey more than a thousand words could. A guest can feel if they are really welcome with you, or if they are just being tolerated.
2- Give a good first impression
A more practical development to point number one. Warmth and hospitality comes naturally to Greenlanders, and the challenge is to emulate this warmth with strangers that you haven’t met before. What’s important to know, is that a first impression can already begin to form before you meet someone physically. A client begins to form an opinion of you when looking at your website or interacting with you through a phone call or email. Make sure that you respond promptly with friendly and helpful information. When you finally meet, a warm smile, handshake and introduction of yourself and your service or facility helps kick off everything to a good start.
3 - Prepare your guests
Would you say it’s true that words are not used as much in Greenland, compared to other cultures? People who are new to a place don’t know much, so for them the more useful information you provide in advance - especially in regards to practicalities and logistics - the more helpful you seem. You can create templates with this information and reuse them.
When you meet, your guest will likely appreciate a small repeat of the most important information.
4 - Cleanliness matters!
Whether you are running a restaurant or a guest house, make sure that everything is as clean as possible. For example, during the summertime, there might be flies or bugs constantly dropping dead onto the windowsill. Customers do notice these details, so do put a focus on wiping them away.
5 - Know your product inside out!
Why, what, who, when, how. People might ask the strangest questions, but they do appreciate an answer. If you don’t know the answer, find out; and use it as an excuse to interact with them again. So train your guides and provide them with the basic knowledge and tools to succeed in your business. If you are able to answer why something is so and so, you’ll go up in their books.
6 - Go that extra mile
In a world where TripAdvisor ratings matter, many service providers strive to go that extra mile to get good ratings and feedback. Some small gestures go a long way like, for example, providing a personalised welcome card at an accommodation or providing late check out, if it is available. If it does not cost extra for you, and if it makes your guests even more happy, it’s a win-win situation.
7 - Personalise your story
Remember, YOU are the most important point of difference. It’s important to have good facilities and/or equipment, but after all basic needs are catered for, it’s usually the personal interactions that people remember. If there is any special touch that you can provide to make your guest remember and enjoy their stay further, do it and let them know why it is personal. For example, that the fish you serve for dinner was caught and prepared by you. Are you able to implement these points into your business?
CASE STUDY: IPIUTAQ GUEST FARM DOING THINGS THE RIGHT WAY
There are many companies doing the right thing, but we’d like to highlight one guesthouse providing wonderful customer service: Ipiutaq Guest Farm
Run by Agathe Devisme and Kalista Poulsen, this charming South Greenlandic farm provides good customer service, from thorough information prior to arrival to a meet and greet at the ‘pier’. Ipiutaq provides an introductory tour of the farm, which helps to provide bearings for the newly landed guests. In the stunningly clean guest house there is an information pack. Ipiutaq offers dinner with a personal touch and story. Where it makes sense they will organise an activity together with the family, for example fishing or hiking. Thank you for going that extra mile to make your guest experience great!
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