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 Surrey Acquired by Paul Matthews

insight6 Surrey

Customer experience specialist Paul Matthews is expanding his insight6 franchise by purchasing a neighbouring territory, Surrey.

Battle-based, Paul has been building insight6 in Sussex since 2015, turning it into a thriving
customer experience (CX) consultancy. Working with 70 local businesses, including high-
profile clients across the leisure, hospitality, retail and professional service industries, Paul
has increased turnover by 550%.

insight6 provides businesses with first-hand insights into the customer’s experience utilising
its world-class research tool instantinsight, mystery shopping programmes and customer
journey analysis.

“I am thrilled to be taking the next step in growing my business. Investing in a new region was a big step against the backdrop of uncertain economic times, however, the need for businesses to fully understand their customers has never been higher, and enquiries have already increased during the first month of 2024.”

– Paul Matthews, insight6 Sussex and Surrey

Paul bought his first insight6 franchise after experiencing the benefits as a client whilst
working in the leisure industry. Regarding his professional background and new franchise territory, Paul said:

insight6 Surrey: Paul Matthews

“I spent 19 years working in the leisure sector managing high-end health clubs, and monitoring and improving customer experience was always a key part of my roles. CX was always a top priority in my previous role, and I invested a lot in measuring and improving CX. Having been an insight6 client for many years, when the opportunity to buy the Sussex arm of the business arose, it was the ideal opportunity for me to go out on my own and help other businesses.”

Surrey is an established and profitable region for insight6. The previous owner, Jim
will retire after building up the business over the last 15 years. He said:

“Having joined the company in 2009, then known as ‘Shopper Anonymous’, I’ve built up a fantastic client base and become a trusted business partner over the years. Helping a business improve and achieve its goals is rewarding, and I’ve enjoyed every minute. Paul is a fantastic CX Specialist, and I know businesses across Surrey will be excited to work with him as I head off into retirement.”

Paul added: “I look forward to building new relationships across Surrey and forging strong partnerships that drive success for all involved.”

If your business needs to understand its customers better or improve the experience, you
can contact Paul Matthews directly at paul.matthews@insight6.com or 07710 394729.