Customer service


Employability Skills 4/4: 

Customer Skills


Prepared by SARONIS S.A.

March 2020


NESET NEETs’ Empowerment for Sustainable Employment in the Tourism sector, is a 3-year project, funded by the EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Youth Employment which aims at supporting on a large-scale transnational basis the sustainability of youth integration in the tourism labour market in the NESET beneficiary countries (BCs), by creating conditions for NEETs’ employment and entrepreneurship in various forms of tourism, incl. alternative tourism.

The NESET beneficiary countries are: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Romania, whereas Iceland is involved in the project’s implementation as an expertise country.

The Project’s approved Proposal stipulates, among others, that a number of training Modules will be produced to support a Training course addressed to trainees with NEET characteristics in the partner countries. The Modules produced, deal with various types of skills considered to be associated with efforts aiming at strengthening young persons’ skills and upgrading their performance while working in tourism related jobs. One of these Skills’ Groups is “Employability Skills”, while two more Groups, i.e. “Social and Communication Skills” and “Tourism related Entrepreneurship Skills” are also included in the NESET range of training topics. SARONIS S.A. is the Partner coordinating all procedures associated with these Skills Groups’ training material preparation.

Four Employability Skills Related Modules have been produced by SARONIS S.A., for individual skills in that Group i.e. Teamwork Skills (1/4), Problems Solving Skills (2/4), Time and Stress Management Skills (3/4) and Customer Service (4/4).

SARONIS would like to acknowledge Professor Joseph Hassid’s contribution in coordinating these Modules’ Preparation.


March 2020


The present Module has been prepared solely for training purposes. Its text does not necessarily claim originality, as, besides the authors’ own contribution, it is also based on material from various other sources considered to be relevant, useful for training purposes and transferable. This is dully acknowledged in the text in various ways. The authors however accept responsibility for any failure to fully record all such instances in the text.

Employability / Customer Service

Learning objectives

Section 1. Employability Skills – What are they? Why are they important? *

Section 2. Customer Service Skills*

2.1. Customer Expectations

2.2. Complaints are Opportunities

2.3. The top-five basic services a customer needs at a restaurant

2.4. Videos on Customer Service




Employability / Customer Service

Learning objectives:

After following this Module, participants should be able to:

  1. Define Employability Skills – What are they? Why are they important?
  2. Understand their meaning of Employability Skills and how they help.
  3. Appreciate the importance of Customer Service in the Tourism and the Hospitality industry, in general.
  4. Identify key issues of Customer Service in Restaurants.

Section 1. Employability Skills – What are they? Why are they important? *

At first you may consider Employability to be a rather vague notion of having something to do with one’s preparation (“becoming able”) for a first job. In fact, Employability is a word that can be used in different contexts and with different meanings.

An appropriate definition would be that: “Employability is a set of achievements – skills, understandings and personal attributes – that makes people more likely to gain employment and be successful in their chosen occupations. This benefits themselves, the workforce, the community and the economy”.

Employability, is not just about getting a job! Much more than that, it is about a much broader set of skills and attributes that will enable a person to remain competitive and be successful throughout his working life.

Getting appropriate and sufficient training in a certain subject or vocation can surely give you an advantage in your future career. For a start, you’ll be able to apply to jobs which specify that you must have attended (and successfully completed) certain training course(s), and the subject you studied or the grade you achieved may be relevant to some employers. However, even if you have a good degree and a relevant subject for the position you apply, you will most likely be competing against others who have the same or similar qualifications. Employers generally view Employability Skills along with technical skills as highly desirable attributes for employees. Employability Skills can assist employees to gain jobs, perform effectively at work and win promotions. Employability Skills can also lead to success in other domains of life. In other words, employability skills are useful as they are transferable; they can be adapted to varying situations!

Therefore, it is one’s employability, the unique mix of skills, abilities and personal qualities that the person has, which will make him/her stand out from the crowd!

The world of work changes very rapidly. One’s career is likely to involve many different job roles and employers, and even if one stays in the same job it is likely to change its nature over time. Your education and experience may make you eligible to apply for a job but, to be successful in most roles, you will need skills that you are likely to develop over time. Some will be specific to the job, but the vast majority will be so-called ‘soft skills’ that can be used in any job or employment sectors. These soft skills are ‘employability skills’: they are what makes you employable.

Viewed from the potential employer’s point of view, while, as a general rule, employers are willing to teach someone the job-specific skills required, such as how to operate particular pieces of machinery, or use particular computer packages that are very specific to that role or company. However, they usually want to see that you already have the other ‘soft skills’ before hiring, because they are much harder to teach.

To conclude:

Employability is not something that can be easily ignored!  Thinking about your employability from an early stage is likely to increase the chance that you will be successful in your chosen career!

To make things clearer, let us consider the meaning of some of the so-called employability skills which people surveyed during the surveys conducted, among young persons and tourism industry employers, in the content of the NESET project, were shown to be top priorities:

Communication skills, which enable employees to interact with clients, colleagues and suppliers of products constituted, either as final products that their employing firm sells in the market, or as materials or intermediate products used in the production process.

Problem solving skills to respond appropriately to technology advancements and to determine techniques and equipment to use for the firm’s product.

Planning and organising skills to organise commitments and plan work activities.

Organisational skills to source appropriate equipment   and materials, and ensure all gear and equipment is in good working order.

Numeracy skills to calculate and estimate material quantities to be purchased by the firm.

Technology skills to use efficiently required equipment, tools and materials.

Self-management skills to review and reflect on own performance and set goals to improve production and management techniques.

On the Table below, the meaning of a wider range of employability skills is defined, together with example of how these skills may help employees to carry out specific tasks. The skills selected for further elaboration in the series of Training Modules prepared are highlighted.

Employability skills – Their meaning and how they help

Type of Employability Skill                Its meaning                   How does it help?
Social and Communication skills The ability to explain what you mean in a clear and concise way through written and spoken means. To listen and relate to other people, and to act upon key information / instructions. I participate in an employees’ group appointed by the firm’s management to discuss and produce recommendations on an intended revision of working hours. My communication and interpersonal skills help me greatly in presenting and supporting my views on the specific subject.
Problem solving skills The ability to understand a problem by breaking it down into smaller parts, and identifying the key issues, implications and identifying solutions. To apply your knowledge from many different areas to solving a task. As part of a team of technical personnel, I had to evaluate the information of a map and the weather forecast to decide which the best route to a set checkpoint was.
Initiative and self-motivation Having new ideas of your own which can be made into a reality. Showing a strong personal drive and not waiting to be told to do things. At a temping job over the summer, the manager was not around to see me on my first morning, so I introduced myself to the other team members and offered my services until my manager arrived.
Stress and Time management Handling stress that comes with deadlines and ensuring that you meet them. On a house building project, we ran out of essential materials shortly before the delivery deadline. We all feel very stressed and available time to address the problem is very limited.
Organisational skills Being organised and methodical. Able to plan work to meet deadlines and targets. Monitoring progress of work to ensure you are on track to meeting a deadline. I was part of a group of firm’s employees in charge of organising the annual meeting of sales people from the entire country. This   organising committee had to devise a project plan so that we could keep on track with planning.
Teamwork Working well with other people from different disciplines, backgrounds, and expertise to accomplish a task or goal. I am part of my firm’s interdepartmental team that meets every month to discuss various issues. We often do activities as teams.
Ability to learn and adapt To be enthusiastic about your work, and to identify ways to learn from your mistakes for the benefit of both you and your employer. In the engineering department of my firm we had to make certain parts move as fast   as possible as possible on a conveyor belt. I couldn’t make mine go any faster so asked for help to improve the shape of the part containing tray – it went substantially faster on the next attempt.
Numeracy The ability to use data and mathematics to support evidence or demonstrate a point. Our Oversees Projects’ Manager guided us through an activity to build a road to help communities in a foreign country. We calculated the road cost per mile and if it didn’t reach the next town, we had to redesign it to fit the budget.
Valuing diversity and difference Knowing the value of diversity and what it can bring. Understanding and being considerate of the different needs of different individuals. Getting involved in activities, which involve people that are different from you in terms of age, gender, nationality, race, disability etc.
Negotiation skills To take on board other people’s feelings and express your own requirements in an unemotional clear fashion to achieve a win-win outcome. I had to present a new version of an existing piece of equipment, to a panel of clients, and negotiate the new higher prices, arguing that the additional cost would be absorbed by the new version’s higher productivity.

To obtain more insights of what are “employability skills” and why they are important, we recommend watching an interesting and quite inspiring series of videos some of which are explicitly related to employability skills in general. The rest are of a more general content, having to do with modern teaching and training methods and organizational aspects. We particularly recommend watching the first 4 videos (of more than 10 that the series consists of). The titles of these 4 videos are:

  • Introducing Employability Skills (3.36 minutes)
  • 5 Essential Skills of Employability (3.28 minutes)
  • Employability Skills video (5.08 minutes)
  • Employability Skills Demo (6.17 minutes)

The link to the videos is:


*Yorke, M. (2004), Employability in higher education: what it is – what it is not, The Higher Education Academy/ESECT

Section 2. Customer Service Skills*

Customer Services is directly related to Tourism because Travel Industry is based on Money and without customer there is no Income. Good customer service is required at every part of tourism either it is hotel, restaurant, travel agency, flight etc. Regardless of how rude and demanding the customer can be it is more important to keep positive attitude and be friendly with the customer.

Tourism is the industry in which passenger contact us to get what he/she dreams of for their holiday. Travelers at the end of the day go on a vacation to relax and to have a good time. Every airline, railway company or travel agency emphasize a strong customer service as to those who get service are more likely to return for their future travel arrangements. If tourists get good service in a well-known hotel then they will consider that hotel chain first whenever they will travel again and would recommend it to others within their social circle. Similarly, if the traveler gets good service from any specific airline or travel trader then he will consider being a frequent customer with that specific service provider and in turn will generate future business for the serving companies, including,, and, etc.

Poor customer service can ruin the reputation of that hotel, restaurant, airline or a travel agency. If customer gets bad experience then neither he will use that supplier again nor will he advise anyone to use it again. So directly that supplier will lose that customer revenue in future and indirectly he will lose the prospective client which could get them a lot of business in the future.

Customer care is an essential part of the hospitality industry.

Tourism is the industry that helps a country to get economic stability.
Tourist generates business in a country and plays a key role in achieving the socio-economic goals of development plans of the nation. Good customer service ensures more opportunities for business for the service providers. Customer care is the base of any industry and its growth. It helps us develop a loyal customer base and improve relationships with our customers.

Tourism is such a wide industry and customers have many alternatives available for their requirement. The modern customer is well informed and needs full value for his money. In case of inconvenience, they do dial Toll Free Number of the customer care support of the company in rule. In such a competitive industry, it is very difficult to make him a loyal customer and a satisfied customer. Loyal customers come back again and again which promotes the business through of word of mouth, all goes with a good and strong customer support. By building a long term customer base, we can reduce the cost of looking new customers. Good service helps to turn customer into ambassador of our business. They will buy our product and service regularly and will give valuable feedback which will generate more revenue to the supplier in his good or bad time.

Keys to good customer service:

  • Understand customer need.
  • Make him feel special or important customer for the company.
  • Deal with him patiently.

To conclude,

Customer service and care is the backbone of the Tourism Industry and will always play an important role for its growth

and development! 

Source: Importance of Customer Service in Hospitality & Tourism

by Scott Morgan; Reviewed by Michelle Seidel, B.Sc., LL.B., MBA; Updated January 25, 2019

Whether someone is traveling for business or pleasure, the level of customer service she receives on her trip will help determine whether she comes back for another visit or warns her friends to avoid your business in the future. Travelers, after all, have a ton of options when they leave home. Top-notch customer service is often the difference between choosing you or choosing your competition. And most of the time, it doesn’t cost you anything extra.

2.1. Customer Expectations

Travelers, particularly those on vacation trips, want memories they can look back on with a smile. When it comes to hotels and tourist destinations, guests expect staff members to be courteous, helpful and friendly. They also want staff members to be knowledgeable about the area and attractions. Remember, many travelers are visiting your area for the first time and are unfamiliar with it. If your staff can direct people to attractions and sites, they will help guests create those memories they crave.

The Online Effect

Modern travelers are very Internet-savvy. They find and book trips, destinations and hotel rooms on their laptops and smartphones. When they look for ideas on hotels and activities, the experience they have with your website is important. It’s the first impression they have of you.

If your website looks uninviting, is outdated or difficult to navigate, they’re moving on. They also tell the world about their experiences with your business on online review sites. When guests book online, they often choose businesses that have the best customer feedback within their budget. Bad feedback about customer service can be extremely damaging, and if enough guests have bad experiences with your business, word will spread rapidly.

Positive Attitudes

Apathy, complacency and employees who complain in front of guests can sour their image of your business forever. Excellent customer service begins and ends with smiling staff members, positive attitudes and helpful, friendly tones. This is important for individual employees as well as for teams, such as those who help guests check in – desk clerks, concierges and porters.

These employees are the face of your business that guests will most often see during their stay. Their cheerful attitudes will greatly influence the joy guests take in their visit. And don’t forget about happy goodbyes, too, as it’s easy to rush or dismiss customers on their way out, but it’s the last impression they’ll have of your business. If you want it to be a good one, make goodbyes as pleasant as hellos!

2.2. Complaints are Opportunities

One of the oldest axioms in customer service is that the customer is always right, even if he’s 100 percent wrong! This is not just about making customers happy and keeping them from visiting your competitors, it’s also an opportunity to learn what shortcomings or problem areas your business might have. Courteously helping a guest solve a problem often creates a loyal patron more willing to return in the future. Consider complaints as feedback from consultants who are trying out your business. Then do whatever you can to correct anything they found lacking.

Recommendation: Search on the Internet for more specific material related to the following key themes:

1 Improve Guest Satisfaction in the Restaurant Industry

2 Customize an Online Guest Book

3 The Top-Five Basic Services a Customer Needs at a Restaurant

4 Social Media & the Hospitality Industry


*Adapted from:…1.3..0.275.4438.0j32j2……0….1..gws-wiz…..10..0i71j0i67j0j35i39j35i39i19j0i131j35i362i39j0i131i67j0i13i30.efoGZXIN0iI&ved=0ahUKEwjztKW9rpTnAhUnUhUIHQiYAA4Q4dUDCAs&uact=5

2.3. The top-five basic services a customer needs at a restaurant

 (Adapted from:

If you are planning to start your own restaurant you need to know that there is so much competition around you and you need to be the best in your locality to gain your customers trust. You need to be in a position to serve your customers in such a way that they will come back to your restaurant. Making delicious food is an integral part of running a restaurant, but it does not stop with that, you need to ensure complete customer satisfaction to have a successful business.

The following are some of the basic services you need to provide your customer at your restaurant:

  • Greeting your customers:

You need to instruct your staff to greet your customers as they enter your restaurant so that they will feel welcomed. If they are not greeted, they might even walk out and eat at another restaurant. Politely smiling at them and welcoming them into the restaurant will give them a positive vibe. You can instruct the waiters to guide the customers to their tables to make them feel acknowledged.

  • Clean Environment:

People are very much concerned about their health and expect their food to be healthy and not contaminated. Having a clean restaurant will make a great impact on your customers as it is deeply related to their health. You need to make sure that your restaurant has clean plates, spoons, glasses, chairs, floors, restrooms etc. Just because most of your customers might not visit the kitchen, it does not mean that you can keep it unclean. You need to have a clean kitchen so that the food you provide will not be contaminated.

  • Hire good chefs:

You might have the perfect ambience and the cleanest hotel, but if your food is not good, then you will never see your customer again. Food is something will fill your customer’s stomach and mind. They get a sense of satisfaction when they have a good meal and they will certainly feel happy about it and will want to come back to your restaurant to enjoy the same meal.

  • Timely service:

It is not good to keep your customers waiting for a long time. Most of the customers who walk into your restaurant will be hungry, and you need to make sure that you provide them what they ask for in a very little time. If you keep them waiting for a long time, they are going to get frustrated, and they might even walk out of the restaurant.

  • Hospitality:

Your customers should feel valued from the moment they enter the restaurant till the moment they depart. They need to be acknowledged immediately, and it will be nice if their orders are taken with a smile. Make sure that your waiters do not indulge too much in the customer’s personal space as they might feel uncomfortable.

2.4. Videos on Customer Service

We suggest watching three videos in which experts on customer service talk on various aspects of their profession.

  1. “A defining Time for Human Connection in Customer Service”, Presenter: Salina Scardina

2. “How I stole great customer service – with pride!”, Presenter: Lisa Ekström

  1. “Employees first, customer second“, Presenter: Vineet Nayar




For the specific type of Skills: EMPLOYABILITY / CUSTOMER SERVICE, which the series of sessions you are going to participate aims to upgrade and for which specific Learning Objectives have been set, HOW would you rate your existing knowledge?

My knowledge is practically non-existing



I know very little

I consider my knowledge to be moderate I consider my knowledge to be rather adequate I claim to have a very good knowledge
1 2 3 4 5
MODULE 4/4: Employability / Customer Service
·         Learning Objective 1
·         Learning Objective 2
·         Learning Objective 3
·         Learning Objective 4

Learning objectives:

  1. Define Employability Skills – What are they? Why are they important?
  2. Understand their meaning of Employability Skills and how they help.
  3. Appreciate the importance of Customer Service in the Tourism and the Hospitality industry, in general.
  4. Identify key issues of Customer Service in Restaurants.


For the specific type of Skills: EMPLOYABILITY / CUSTOMER SERVICE, which the series of sessions that you have attended aimed to upgrade and for which specific Learning Objectives had been set, How do you NOW rate your knowledge?


My knowledge is practically non-existing



I know very little


I consider my knowledge to be moderate

I consider my knowledge to be rather adequate I claim to have a very good knowledge
1 2 3 4 5
MODULE 4/4: Employability / Customer Service
·         Learning Objective 1
·         Learning Objective 2
·         Learning Objective 3
·         Learning Objective 4

Learning objectives:

  1. Define Employability Skills – What are they? Why are they important?
  2. Understand their meaning of Employability Skills and how they help.
  3. Appreciate the importance of Customer Service in the Tourism and the Hospitality industry, in general.
  4. Identify key issues of Customer Service in Restaurants.


Having attended training sessions aiming at helping you upgrade your Employability / Customer Service skills, how do you rate the various elements of your training?

Very Poor



Acceptable Very satisfactory Excellent
1 2 3 4 5
Training Material
·         Training Handouts distributed
·         Multimedia presented
·         Other resources suggested
Training Methods Used
·         Face-to-Face lectures
·         Group Activities & Discussions
·         Customised Learning Platform
Trainers involved
·         Knowledge of the subject
·         Level of preparedness
·         Effectiveness in knowledge transfer