Eddie Stack: Interview with our CX Director for Ireland

Eddie Stack Interview on Hospitality CX

We spoke with insight6 Director Eddie Stack to explore how implementing customer experience (CX) strategies can help hospitality businesses survive and flourish.

The hospitality industry has encountered unprecedented challenges, from pandemic closures to recruitment shortages and the current cost-of-living crisis. Amidst these trials, maintaining a loyal customer base is crucial for businesses. Here, we interview Eddie about delivering exceptional customer experiences in hospitality and joining the insight6 team.

When it comes to CX, what should hospitality businesses keep in mind?

First impressions matter! From the appearance of your venue to the attitudes of your staff, it’s important to be nailing it from the get-go. CX plays a critical role in increasing ROI. Consider the ease of making reservations—do you offer an online form, and if your phone line accessible? Also, consider the view as customers approach—are your windows clean, and is the street outside well-maintained?

Next, focus on your team. Do you have the right people with the right attitude greeting your customers? And does your company culture support their success? Remember, unhappy staff can be easily spotted by customers, creating a negative vibe.

Are there particular challenges you see within the hospitality industry?

In many cases, owners and managers can be the bottlenecks. Caught up in the daily grind, they may handle every task rather than focus on strategy and team development. Conversely, some hands-off owners delegate operational tasks to managers, expecting them to oversee team development. Finding a manager who excels at operations and people skills is a tough task, necessitating a rigorous recruitment process prioritising customer and employee experience.

Mystery shopping can provide invaluable insights into areas needing improvement and help streamline recruitment. Check out our blog on “Secret Shoppers: Your Silent Success Agents” to learn more.

Can you share an example of a company that has impressed you with its CX capabilities?

Absolutely! A local furniture shop in Navan, County Meath, Ireland, stands out. It’s a family-owned and operated business that prioritises the experience of every customer. When you step in, you’re greeted warmly and offered a cup of coffee, creating a welcoming atmosphere. What impresses me most is their attention to detail in ensuring a consistent experience regardless of who’s assisting you. They’ve invested in their team culture, recognising the significance of always delivering a seamless and exceptional experience.

What’s the key to delivering excellent CX for a business?

The key lies in mastering follow-up strategies. When I consult with businesses, I often ask, “How frequently do you follow up with potential or existing clients?”

Typically, the response is limited, with businesses reaching out once or twice to new prospects. However, the reality is that consistent follow-up, sometimes ten or more times, may be necessary until the individual is ready to make a decision. It’s vital not to relent until you receive a definitive response.

Moreover, existing clients often encounter gaps in after-sales follow-up, particularly for significant purchases like a new car. While there’s a fear of appearing overly “salesy,” a simple check-in to offer assistance or ensure satisfaction is rarely met with negativity. Effective follow-up demonstrates care and commitment to customer needs, fostering stronger relationships and enhancing the overall CX.

Could you tell us about a bad customer experience you’ve had?

Certainly. I recently visited a popular restaurant in a bustling tourist hotspot and was excited to dine in. Upon arrival, we spotted a freshly cleaned table and approached it, hoping to be seated. The server promptly dropped off menus and departed without a word. However, after several minutes of waiting, no one returned to take our order. Feeling perplexed, I eventually flagged down the original staff member and requested to place our order, only to be informed bluntly that we had to order at the bar.

This experience underscores the importance of setting clear customer expectations. Had the server communicated that the restaurant operated on a self-service basis, allowing customers to order at the bar when ready, I would have appreciated the transparency. Unfortunately, the lack of information led to delays in our meal and frustration. It serves as a reminder that transparent communication is paramount in delivering a positive customer experience.

What drew you to Insight6 and the CX business ownership?

My journey towards insight6 and CX business ownership stemmed from my extensive interactions with business owners. Interacting with businesses highlighted the importance of customer experiences, igniting my passion for CX. Recognising its untapped potential in Ireland, I saw CX as a powerful tool for significant returns. This led me to envision a business focused on educating and upskilling Irish business owners. Insight6’s dedication to CX excellence perfectly matched my mission, making it the ideal platform to bring my vision to life.

What type of clients are you working with?

Hospitality is of particular interest to me at this time. I see a huge scope for CX to help these businesses thrive in a tough market. I also work with many professional sectors, such as accountants and solicitors, who do not have robust follow-up systems and rarely understand why they do not convert enquiries.

What is your favourite part of the job?

I thrive off success, and that is what I’m looking forward to most: helping owners achieve the best out of their businesses and profits.

A recent client – Liz Chisty, hand-woven Irish wool scarfs – enlisted me to increase her Trip Advisor reviews. As a local tourist attraction, her business was not effectively reflected by the number of online reviews left by visitors. We’re just about to launch a review programme to deliver additional Trip Advisor reviews when bus tours visit. We will enter each online reviewer into a draw to take home a luxury scarf. A QR code will be placed towards the end of the tour, allowing visitors to complete the online survey quickly and easily.

Eddie Stack, insight6 - connect on LinkedIn

About the author:

Eddie Stack is an insight6 CX Specialist based in Ireland. Please feel free to connect with Eddie on LinkedIn. Eddie joined our team in 2024, leveraging over 25 years of industry expertise. He has delivered business training across diverse roles and sectors, later leading his own Web Development venture. Eddie served nine years as an Executive Director for the BNI (Business Network International) across Ireland. Please feel free to connect with Eddie on LinkedIn.

At insight6, our unique and tailored solutions allow businesses to transform their customer experience cost-effectively, from end to end, with the dedicated support of a local specialist. To find your local Specialist to transform your customer experience, call +44 (0) 800 970 8987 or visit www.insight6.com.

For opportunities to join the insight6 team and run your business, visit our franchisee page.

insight6 leads the way in Customer Experience after rebranding from Shopper Anonymous

National Customer Experience specialists, Shopper Anonymous, has rebranded to become insight6.

The transformation from Shopper Anonymous to insight6 is complete.

A leading national provider of client feedback has announced that it has rebranded from Shopper Anonymous to insight6.

The comprehensive rebrand aligns the business to ensure it totally represents its full product offer of Customer Experience (CX) tools and support which it delivers to over 1200 clients.

The change for insight6, which has a Sussex based headquarters, comes after significant research into the needs of businesses in modern times.

Jonathan Winchester, CEO, explained the thinking behind the change: “Our customers spoke, and we listened. Our brand needed to better reflect how we behave and what we deliver. Without doubt this is the most exciting time of our development since we started the business 22 years ago.

“We took this opportunity to rethink not just our name, but our entire brand. We are proud to be ahead of the curve in a rapidly evolving industry, and our new brand identity, insight6, will now illustrate just how far the company has come. We shall continue to put our customers first and listen to what they need as well as being ahead of the CX development curve.”

Over the last five years, businesses within the professional, groups, and family sectors have started to use a wider range of CX tools as oppose to exclusively using the traditional mystery shopping service.

The new brand, insight6, reflects these changes in the market and the full range of services that it provides across the UK and Ireland.

insight6 cx directors

The insight6 team of Customer Experience Directors

Research also showed that there is a further need to support businesses locally. Each Customer Experience Director has built up a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience within the region that they look after.

insight6 is unique for six reasons:

  1. Customer Experience Directors are based across the entire UK and Ireland meaning clients have someone local, who knows the area, to partner with. As well as being CX experts they deliver world class training and mentoring and help business innovate and improve their customer’s experience.
  2. The CX products help businesses understand how their clients feel at all stages before, during and after the customer journey.
  3. Its feedback is easy for the customer to understand, through the new CX portal.
  4. It has developed a 6-stage process – icx6 – which helps develop the very best customer experience for clients’ customers.
  5. The team are sector specialists able to benchmark CX findings to help clients define where they are positioned in today’s market.
  6. Transformation comes as standard