Customer service is the foundation for success in hospitality. It not only helps to ensure that your business meets the expectations of its customers but can also provide a way to distinguish you from the competition. If you’re keen to stay in the sector for the long term, mastering great customer service will be essential.
Comprehensive customer service
The experience that a customer has of your brand begins the moment that they walk through the door of your restaurant. So, it’s key to ensure that you’re focused on delivering the best possible service at all times. That may mean training staff in how to greet diners, ensuring tables are served and cleared properly and steering clear of any actions at the end of the meal that might make diners feel like you want them to leave.
Be aware of wait times
Customers don’t like to be kept waiting and this will significantly undermine your customer service performance if this is what your business does. There are a number of points in the customer service process where waiting can be problematic. For example, waiting to be seated, waiting for food after an order has been placed and waiting to pay. These delays all erode a positive customer experience so are essential to eliminate, whether you use something like ePOS technology to speed the process up or focus on staff training instead.
Don’t shy away from issues
Problems arise and mistakes are made – this is just the reality of any business that is dealing with the public. It’s important to have a policy of taking responsibility for mistakes and focusing on handling any issues as quickly as possible. The best way to approach a situation where a complaint has been made or something has clearly gone wrong is to:
- Acknowledge the issue
- Train staff to listen without interrupting and use non-confrontational body language
- If a mistake has been made, apologise for any inconvenience or discomfort that has been caused as a result
- Ensure that your staff understand how important empathy is in this kind of situation, as opposed to blame
- Finding a solution to the problem as quickly as possible is the best way to maintain positive customer service
Issues often present an opportunity for your business to shine as long as they are dealt with in the right way.
Ask for feedback
One of the simplest and easiest ways to get an idea of whether your customer service is positive – or where improvements could be made – is to ask your customers for feedback. Comment cards, email surveys and face-to-face questions all work.
There is a whole range of technology available today to help improve restaurant customer service, from offering online ordering and free wifi to integrating an ePOS system that allows for mobile ordering and payment taking.
Customer service is key to any business, especially if you’re looking to build a loyal customer base. Just a few improvements could make all the difference to the experience that your customers have.