When you travel or step out of your home, you’d like a decent service to make the trip worthwhile.
Occasionally, I am genuinely surprised by good customer service and can actually remember all the events when my kids and I enjoyed not only good food but also a nice chat and felt really cared for.
Over the past two months I have been talking to a lot of tourists who visited Tbilisi from different countries. Some felt that the customer service was average; some felt it was friendly but without servility, some had felt that they were intruding the waiter from a very important job when they asked for something and had felt terribly bad, some were blinded by the great taste of their food and didn’t care much for the service.
One particular response was quite peculiar: “I would say it’s one of careless disdain – servers in Georgia are generally much more interested in their own affairs than any needs of the customer. Of course exceptions exist, especially in more expensive settings, but Georgian servers pay less attention to the customer than any other country I’ve ever visited, and can be extremely hard to even get the attention of, walking back and forth in front of a customer waving to them without once casting a glance in their direction. It’s often necessary to go up to the counter itself in order to place an order or get the bill, while servers idle on their phones or in conversation with one another. Often an extremely frustrating experience.” (Digital nomad from Canada)
From my personal research, customer service in Georgia needs a lot of improvement. Here’s what I have summarized so far: at restaurants, about 30% of the time the waiter had forgotten an order and it never arrived. (Most of the one or two star reviews on TripAdvisor have no complaint about the food, but rather the service or the lack of it.)
I’d say my friends and I get actually good service at a Tbilisi restaurant about 20% of the time, bad service at least 50% of the time.
** “If you would like to truly understand how one can hate his/her job, you just need to order coffee at a random cafe in Tbilisi. First time you think your waiter had a bad day, feel bad and order another cup of coffee for them and try to cheer them up (of course in vain). Second time you doubt your own luck of meeting all the wrong waiters, third time you are reminded how un-special you are.” (Female in her mid 30’s)
** “First time you check into a hotel (and doesn’t matter how expensive) you feel like an intruder in someone’s home. Exceptions do apply, also depends how cute you are :)) but mostly when you use any kind of service in Tbilisi you have this rooted feeling like you are majorly inconveniencing someone.” (Visitor from the East Coast of the US)
*** “Average.” (Visitor form Singapore)
Since early July 2019 all Georgian media is focused on #spendyoursummeringeorgia call to action, trying to attract tourists from Europe and the US. But are the restaurants, that were thriving on tourists from Russian province, ready to serve the demanding and more traveled tourists from the west?
Well, the hospitality industry needs to reinvent itself big time, not just by spending excessive amounts on advertising but also educating the business owners to better their service, and, perhaps, pay attention to who they hire. Those working in the business know that not everyone is cut out for the industry and those that are often share characteristics that make them successful.
Customer service is what the hospitality industry is all about. You want to be sure your guests are having the best possible experience at your hotel or restaurant, return when they’re in town and recommend it to all their friends and family. Business is seriously affected when customer service is not handled well, especially now that guests have higher expectations for customer service than ever before and share about it on social media and leave reviews.
Let’s just hope that in 2020 we’ll have a new slogan and can comfortably use it #comebacktoGeorgia
If you’d like to share about your experience in Georgia, please leave a comment. Thanks!