You know the importance of customer service as a business owner.
Customers have many choices regarding where and what cafe to visit. This means that one bad experience could change a customer’s perception about your restaurant.
New trends and technology make it possible to provide exceptional customer service to all guests. These are seven ways you can take advantage of the latest trends to enhance your customers’ experience.
Step 1: Hire Great Staff
Finding and keeping the right staff is one of the greatest challenges for restaurant owners. The quality of your customer service is directly related to the quality of your staff. It is not easy to find a great team.
Finding great talent begins at the top when it comes to hiring. Efficient managers will be hardworking and able to handle stressful situations. Managers will need to be able to support staff in unpredictable customer interactions, along with the day-to-day operations. Your restaurant will be a success if you provide excellent customer service to unhappy customers or last-minute group reservations.
Top managers can also attract the best staff. The most contact with customers will be made by front-of-house staff. Therefore, each employee must be interviewed and trained.
Restaurant owners use incentive programs to motivate their employees to recruit top-quality candidates. These programs are effective but it is not easy to hire based on referrals. Online postings, more traditional hiring methods, will bring in more applicants but require more screening.
Experienced new hires can be great, but it is not uncommon for unexperienced applicants to surprise you. A positive attitude and a strong work ethic can help you quickly gain customers. These inexperienced employees can become your top performers quickly if they have the right skillset and training.
Step 2: Provide Proper Training
No matter what skill level, proper training is essential to successfully onboard any new employee. A solid training program will build customer service skills and reflect your unique culture.
“The trade-offs between quality and speed of service are a challenge for the restaurant industry.”
Mentoring and shadowing are effective ways for new employees to know your business. This will allow new employees to interact with senior staff and see their service brand.
If you set expectations with your new employees, guests are more likely to experience great customer service.
Step 3: Incentivize Loyalty
Fast Casual recently published data showing that 27% of first-time guests return at least once after being informed about a loyalty program for hospitality businesses.
Loyalty programs encourage guests to return via points programs, tiered incentive or gamification experiences. It is now easier than ever for programs to be implemented that were previously difficult to create.
Customers who frequent your business can earn rewards through points systems such as Belly. Starbucks is a well-known example of a tiered system that rewards customers based on how many times they purchase.
Gamification programs such as McDonald’s Monopoly Challenge provide customers with an incentive to engage with restaurants through game mechanics to enhance their customer service experience. This promotion attracted new customers and increased McDonald’s sales by 5% during Q3 2013.
Some POS providers make it easier by allowing you to create a loyalty program within the POS system.
Revel Loyalty and Maitre’D are just a few of many POS providers that allow customers to create loyalty programmes with their existing technology. These companies provide easy-to-customise technology that you can integrate into your business.
Step 4 – Automate your Restaurant Customer Service using Technology
The options for eating out are more varied than ever today thanks to the internet. A strong online presence is essential for exceptional customer service, as many people now check out menus online before visiting a restaurant.
Mobile ordering and online ordering are becoming more popular among hospitality businesses. It allows customers to place orders on-demand and offers them the opportunity to order delivery or takeout. Online ordering can help reduce wait times and avoid potential mistakes.
Shake Shack’s online ordering app allows customers to place orders and pick a pickup time. This puts the customer in control of the whole process.
Restaurant owners use technology to offer a unique customer experience, including online ordering.
Step 5 – Delivery
A recent survey found that 36% of millennials order delivery at least once a week. This means that you must provide excellent customer service to diners and customers ordering out.
Some restaurants handle delivery internally. Others outsource delivery to third parties. Deliveries are provided by companies such as OrderLord and BringIt, which offer a great experience for customers.
Restaurants offer delivery trackers that allow customers to monitor their food in real time. Domino’s launched a GPS Driver Tracker in 2015 that allows customers to track the progress of their pizza orders. Customers can track when their order leaves the store and the expected arrival time. They also have access to the driver’s profile who delivered the pizza. Customers who are hesitant about having food delivered to their homes will find comfort in this personalized experience.
Dominos goes the extra mile to ensure customers are satisfied and retain them by providing excellent service at every stage of the process.
Step 6 – Ask for feedback / Talk with your customers
As the restaurant industry evolves, customer feedback can be a powerful way to improve your business. Although managers often find the time to speak to customers throughout the day it can be not easy to gain deep insight from them quickly.
Traditional comment cards are still useful, but technology makes it much easier to get feedback from customers. Google and Yelp offer customers the ability to leave reviews on third-party sites, and Facebook allows you to reach customers and monitor reviews.
Many customers share their feedback freely, but some businesses offer incentives to get more in-depth insights. You can encourage customers to share details about their experience by offering a discount or reward.
Step 7 – Make changes & Implement new policies
Training and policies must be adapted to ensure exceptional customer service.
Communication with your staff from the top is key to all these changes. Some managers retrain their staff frequently, while others prefer to communicate the changes during quarterly staff meetings. No matter what approach you choose, your customers will see the benefits of every new change you make.