Achieving high marks in customer satisfaction is something that needs to come from every level of your organization. It must permeate your business from your training program to associate practices so all employees know what level of service is expected.
Consistently monitoring customer feedback is vital to gauging where your company stands and what must be improved. Accurately assessing your customers' feelings when they leave your restaurant will help you pinpoint what aspects of your customer service need to be enhanced or addressed.
Top restaurant managers may have their own tricks of the trade to score high customer service ratings, but can all agree on the following best practices:
Include customer service as part of your mission statement or tagline. Including a statement about your company's commitment to serving its guests indicates your level of respect for quality customer service.
Make training a priority. Even though turnover rates may be high and part-time employees often comprise the majority of your workforce, offer ongoing training options that work with varying time schedules. Emphasize the importance of staying up-to-date with company best practices and methods.
Entertain your guests. Welcome each guest by providing him or her with an atmosphere of relaxation and comfort. While you may serve hundreds of guests every day, it's important that each guest feels his visit was unmatched.
Offer customizable meals. Many of the top-performing restaurants have one important factor in common — all of their meals are made-to-order while the customer watches. Ensure that the quality of the food you serve and the way in which it's displayed is suitable for the public to view.
Measure feedback. Make sure you have a credible third party source that can evaluate your customer service from a guests' point of view. For example, mystery shoppers are often used to critique the guest experience, from the greeting at the door to the speed of service.
In addition to using mystery shoppers, many restaurants have turned to receipt surveys that provide customers an immediate opportunity to provide feedback from their visit. Incorporating Interactive Voice Response or Interactive Web Response surveys can be a valuable tool to obtaining customer feedback.
Many restaurants also monitor their competition to see what customer service tactics they employ. Getting a realistic look at how they function could serve as another tool in helping your company achieve its customer service goals.
Community outreach. Many of the best companies emphasize their community outreach to demonstrate that they are serving the public on a large scale. Taking part in volunteer activities, donating to food banks or giving funds to a charitable organization are just a few options.
Whatever tactic you choose to focus on, achieving a high level of customer satisfaction is something that once integrated into your overall business practices, should become an everyday occurrence.
Mike Mallett is the c.e.o. of Corporate Research International, a leader in mystery shopping and consumer response surveys. You can reach him at 419-422-3196, firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting www.corpri.com.