Customer Feedback: Make Sure It’s Helping Rather Than Hurting
Fair or not, Yelp and other public reviews matter, and a negative review can cost you time and money. Consider the implications that if one bad review were to keep only a single individual out of your restaurant every day. May not seem so bad. But think of what your average check is, now multiply that by how many days per year you’re open. Say it’s $10, and you’re open 350 days of the year. Wouldn’t you like to have an extra $3,500 for your restaurant? Now, what if you’re average check is $50 or $100? You get the point. Even just one customer being turned away due to a negative review online can affect your bottom line in a substantial way.
As things currently stand with many restaurants, guests leave feedback on social media platforms after they have completed their transaction with the restaurant. Positive or negative reviews are cataloged on the site of their choice, and there they sit in perpetuity. But what if you could change this dynamic, allowing for immediate and direct feedback?
A proactive approach allows you to address a guest’s concerns or complaints in real-time as opposed to having to go into damage control mode after the fact. Not to mention that when customers know that you’ve seen and are addressing their issues, they feel valued. So often times, even if a customer’s experience wasn’t the greatest, they’ll appreciate your effort and give your restaurant another try if they know you went out of your way to correct anything that went wrong.
Make changes on the fly
One of the main benefits to real-time feedback is that it allows you to change course if something isn’t going as it should. If a customer’s dish is reported to be lacking in taste, seasoning can be changed or added to improve the dish, so that not only this particular customer can enjoy their meal, but you potentially avoid other guests having the same issue.
Again, by taking a proactive approach to issues that arise and not allowing them to fester online, you show customers how much you truly value their feedback. It’s one thing to pay lip service to a customer complaint after the fact on a Yelp post, it’s another to show them exactly what you’re doing when they’re in the restaurant to address their issue.
Improve issues involving staff
Teachable moments can happen almost daily, and utilizing a guest’s feedback to identify areas to improve upon can be key to success. Perhaps hosts need to be more attentive or friendly when a guest walks through the door. Maybe you realize that more members of your wait staff need to be working on certain nights. The benefit of receiving this feedback is that you can take it in, recognize what is fixable, and go about finding the best way to correct any issues, many times right then and there.
Feedback doesn’t always have to be negative. Perhaps you received great feedback on a particular drink a bartender made. Not only can you praise the bartender for the work they’ve done, but perhaps you also have a new signature cocktail of the month. You can even advertise it to those patrons in your loyalty program.
You can’t please everyone
No one wants to disappoint a customer, but it will, unfortunately, happen from time to time. However, it’s how you respond that can make your restaurant successful. The key is having the processes and technology in place to help you help your guests.