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Statistics from Forbes indicate that customer service ratings are dwindling in the restaurant business. Fast food restaurant chains are doing relatively well, but the biggest names are not impressive. This means that players need to learn what satisfies their clients and implement these aspects fully in their restaurant chains. Simple adjustments in service provision can make the difference between mediocre and satisfactory customer service.
How to improve customer service
The reason why many fast food restaurants are topping service quality ratings is their emphasis on fast service. Society is becoming impatient with service providers. Attention spans are reducing, and people have less time for meals.
Consequently, when they eat out, many of them want to spend as little time as possible in these facilities. Therefore, restaurants that can provide meals in the shortest time possible will carry the day. People are willing to pay a premium for convenience. This explains why some of them even want restaurants to deliver their meals to them (Tice 13).
Clearly, time consciousness is an indispensable quality in hospitality. While it may not be realistic to make six-course meals in ten minutes, larger restaurants can learn from their fast food counterparts. They should try as much as possible to minimize customer waiting times. If buyers want to spend three hours in eateries, then eating should be their primary activity. Restaurant managers should not cheat their clients by wasting their time.
The hospitality industry is one of the most people-centered services. Therefore, the manner in which staff members treat their clients has a direct impact on customer satisfaction and hence repeat business. Employees need to extend courtesy to clients as soon as they enter this establishment. One way of demonstrating this quality is by acknowledging a client’s presence, greeting them and maintaining eye contact as the customer makes his order.
Attendants should pay a lot of attention to the customer. It can be quite frustrating to make a customer wait for a certain meal only to deliver the wrong one to them. If a client asks for something that the restaurant cannot offer, then it is their obligation to apologize for lacking the item and suggest other alternatives. Staff should refer to regular clients by name. They should remember their usual meals and ask them about it before they order; such individuals would feel special.
Additionally, when bringing the meal, restaurants should think about other tools that might be needed by the client. For instance, if a customer asked for a steak, then it would be a good idea to give them a steak knife. The restaurant manager ought to think about all the possible needs that clients might have. They should be proactive concerning all issues. In the restaurant business, timing is everything. After taking an order and delivering it, staff members need to know when to leave and come back.
Some clients abhor interruptions during serious conversations; therefore, if clients already have what they need, then a staff member should not try to sell them yet another dessert selection. Employees need training about how to anticipate client needs. This will assist them in increasing comfort levels and thus customer service.
Value addition is yet another platform that restaurants can use to give better customer service. In this regard, they can analyze buying patterns for clients and thus inform them about the latest addition in their menu. For instance, if a customer is fond of Latin American wines, the waiter may inform the person about a new label in the collection and give him a tasting.
A restaurant could also sing birthday songs for clients celebrating this momentous occasion. Alternatively, they could give them extra servings of a favorite meal on such days. Buyers would fell special and connected to the facility. It is such effortless offerings that differentiate one restaurant from another and drive clients away from the competition.
Successful restaurants are often the ones that do not overpromise and under-deliver. In this regard, if a kitchen is too busy, staff members should be honest with their clients about it. Time estimates for all food should be as accurate as possible. In unavoidable situations, attendants should suggest readily-available appetizers as customers wait.
If waiting is inevitable, an employee should not leave the customer hanging. He or she should come back as soon as possible and let them know that they are running late. Failure to give clients feedback creates a sense of abandonment. It may frustrate some individuals who may even leave the facility (Bouldin 8).
Customer service provision should not just be limited to the restaurant setting; restaurant administrators need to connect with their customers outside the facility. They can achieve this through the use of relatively new technology media as it is highly effective. Social networking sites are a creative place to investigate what clients are thinking about a certain brand.
dditionally, companies should look through restaurant reviews and other online websites that mention their name. If customer complaints appear to be consistent across several platforms, then management should take up the concern. For instance, if people are constantly complaining about the rancidity of the salad, then the company should take that as a hint and work on it.
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There is no doubt that restaurant employees cannot satisfy all their clients; however, if most of the reviews are negative, then the firm is not on the right track. Companies may also get customer’s contacts in order to meet their needs effectively. They may send them information about notable performances and such similar events. However, all customers must give consent before restaurants can use them as direct marketing tools. These methods will allow companies to know their clients and thus satisfy their needs.
Restaurants need to check on their clients from time to time as another simple way of service delivery. While the report mentions that employees should not interrupt clients, companies must also make sure that the food is up to standard. A good way of ensuring that this occurs is by inquiring about the state of their food a few minutes after serving them.
If there is a mistake, the restaurant will inform the attendant about it, and he or she can rectify the problem as soon as possible. If the matter is more complicated than usual, then the restaurant manager ought to approach the table and talk to the clients. A situation can quickly escalate into a crisis if inappropriately handled. Therefore, organizations should prevent the occurrence of crises by addressing mistakes as soon as they arise.
The worst clients are the highly dissatisfied ones, so restaurants should have tangible processes of dealing with them (Bouldin 8). Restaurants should have a strategy for compensating these individuals so as to dissipate their anger. One way of doing so is by refraining from charging them or at least discounting their charges.
An angry client has the potential to defame a restaurant’s name. These are the people who visit restaurant blogs and food review websites to give their opinion on one’s business. Once the information is out there, then the organization can do little to change it. If food dissatisfies a customer, but he or she got sufficient attention and apologies from the restaurant management, then that might calm him down. Effective customer service goes a long way in making up for dissatisfying products.
Restaurants ought not to compromise on the quality of food. They should endeavor to make their meals consistent in terms of quality. However, product quality does not just end in the kitchen. When serving meals, the organization should make sure that foods and drinks have the right temperature. For instance, hot food should remain as such and cold food should remain cold.
A lot of attention must be given to wines as certain standards determine how such drinks must be served. In close association with food is the condition of cutlery or other utensils. All tools need to be clean and consistent with high quality services. The last thing a customer would like is to find lipstick marks on a coffee cup or a messy table. Many restaurants have found that a simple issue like cleanliness can make the difference between customer satisfaction and revulsion.
Customer service is the way that restaurants and other similar businesses thrive. The key behind efficient customer service is to offer simple courtesies from the time the client enters the establishment to the time they leave it. Restaurants should respond to needs as soon as they arise and focus on value addition. These institutions must anticipate problems and deal with them in kind. The simplest improvements can make the biggest changes.
Bouldin, Todd. 2013. The five best customer practices. 2013. Web.
Tice, Carol. 2012. The best and worst in restaurant customer service. 2012. Web.