In the any business, poor service is the silent killer. Because for every customer who bothers to complain, 26 other customers remain silent. And it’s 6-7 times more expensive to acquire new customers, than keep current ones. See more Customer Service Statistics*
Now, with summer winding down, is a good time to take a clear, objective look at your restaurant’s customer service. See if you can make little changes that can make a big difference to your business.
Look at your staff. The whole staff. Most customers only see the front of the house, but every employee plays a role. From keeping dishes clean and clearing tables to preparing the house special just right…every employee shapes your overall quality and attitude.
Review your reservation policy. If your restaurant takes reservations, it’s important not to book them too close together. Make sure your staff knows to spread out seating times to make customers with reservations feel that you’ve been waiting for them to arrive…and keep your kitchen running smoothly.
Encourage customer loyalty. Do you have regulars? Acknowledge them! Buy them a drink. Treat them to a dessert. Make sure they know that you appreciate their continued business. If you aren’t sure who your regulars are, start a loyalty punch card (inexpensive to develop and print) or use an online digital loyalty service.
Listen to complaints. No matter the reason, the rule is the customer is always right. Train your staff to: Listen patiently—even if there’s nothing that can be done. Apologize—it’s important to acknowledge the complaint. Make amends by finding a solution or offering compensation.
Ask for feedback. It’s vital to get bad feedback so you can improve AND keep the customer coming back. Train servers to ask. And to give the manager a heads-up if things are going poorly (or well!). Avoid letting a misstep or misunderstanding turn into a missing customer.
These ideas are just the tip of the customer service iceberg…but a good starting point. Keep in mind, the most successful restaurants all have one thing in common: the customer is king. So encourage your entire staff to treat all customers like royalty…and your restaurant will transform to a place that customers treasure.