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How to improve the quality of service: 5 simple tips

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Believe it or not, one of the most effective ways to improve the performance of your restaurant has little to do with your concept or kitchen. It depends on the quality of service. Providing excellent customer service in a restaurant is one of the most important factors in creating a positive relationship that will make you want to come back to you again and again. Without a high level of service, the chef's brilliant dishes and catchy decor will not delay visitors for a long time.

An important question begs: how to provide excellent customer service? To a certain extent, it will depend on what kind of institution you have, but there are certain methods that will prove effective for restaurants of any style. Here we will take a closer look at 8 sure ways to improve customer service at your restaurant. Start using these tips in your business and see for yourself how your attendance and the total profit of the institution can benefit.

Employee training. One of the most important steps in providing excellent customer service is a preliminary step: train your employees. Careful and proper training ensures that your staff at the highest level provides guest services and deserves their own salary.

Training involves more than just transferring knowledge of the technical aspects of your work to your employees. You can also use this to introduce and strengthen the corporate culture, explain how to adhere to the etiquette defined in the institution and consider specific situations. Train employees to help them provide excellent customer service.

Cheerful greeting. There is no greater trouble for a client than entering a restaurant in which you are ignored and not knowing where to go. This is confusing and makes them feel like an unwanted guest. Not a very good start to the evening!

Make greeting a priority so that staff joyfully greets every customer who walks through the door of your restaurant. This will allow not only to start visiting the guest with a good note, but also instill simple respect and good manners at work for the hall staff. Such a trifle as proper greeting is an important stage at the beginning of the path to quality service.

Inform customers about waiting times for available seats. If customers come to your restaurant and are faced with the problem of lack of available seats, your employees should always inform them of the waiting time. After all, if the guest is in the dark about how long he will have to wait for his table, this will negatively affect his mood and, possibly, will affect his choice in favor of another institution. Make sure that you are extremely honest and accurate in assessing the waiting time of each arriving guest. If you can, give guests the opportunity to have a drink at the bar - this will brighten up their expectation or write down their phone numbers to let them know when their seats are available.

It is not always possible to exclude the client’s expectation, therefore informing about the deadlines and ensuring maximum comfort will help them calmly wait the necessary time. A rude attitude or saying “it will take some time” is very dismissive and can cause a negative reaction from customers.

Quick response to complaints. This is one of the most effective ways to avoid conflict. But when it comes to dissatisfied customers, it is important to quickly deal with their complaints. It depends on whether the complaint is made in person, by phone, or online.

Always listen to the client to the end before reacting. This will allow you to fully analyze the situation on your part and make the right decision for a particular problem. Do your best to come to a decision as quickly as possible.

Even if you cannot always come to a decision where the client will be satisfied, you can always show respect, be responsive and kind when the client complains about any problem.

Give freebies. Sometimes, making gifts, you can significantly improve the quality of customer service. It doesn’t have to be something big - a free dessert or a small snack is perfect for this. A small gift from the establishment can really make customers feel valuable guests and create positive associations with your restaurant. This will give them a sense of care and attention to themselves, which will make them the most receptive to your food and service in general. Using gifts will be able to further improve your service.

Seek customer reviews. Clients can often provide valuable information on how to improve the quality of customer service and customer service specifically at your restaurant. You can ask them for advice or comment in several ways. One way is to place the review forms in the lobby of the establishment, another way is to provide a review form and a pen when the waiter takes the order. If you are sending out e-mails, you can also ask for advice in one of the letters.

This is a guest guest guide to make your work easier. Take the advice carefully and be prepared to make changes based on customer feedback.

Interact with customers from social networks. Customer service takes place not only inside your establishment. You can plant the seed of customer relationships through social interaction on the Internet. Social media can help connect with potential customers and make them think about your establishment when they want to visit a restaurant.

For example, if a customer leaves a laudatory comment about a photograph of your new dish on Instagram, thank him for the tip. If a blogger publishes a post about your restaurant, express your gratitude to him (consider giving him a presentation from the restaurant as a thank you). Interacting with customers in the virtual world can help in the real world of relationships.

Pay special attention to regular customers. If you have a restaurant, you know that customers often leave and do not return. Part of this is that they are not in your city all the time, and another part is simply the nature of the business. But if you have guests, reward them for it. A small gesture: a random dessert for free, or a second drink with you as a gift. These kinds of customer service gestures will make them want to come back.

Conclusion: in the restaurant business, good service often comes down to a series of kind and caring gestures towards your customers. Taking this into account, inculcate these subtleties to your staff and your restaurant will be perceived as an institution in which customer care comes first. Customers see and appreciate this, which is a sure way to convince them to come back again and again!

Relationships are more important than report numbers

Measuring the quality of service, the entrepreneur is faced with SLA (Service Level Agreement - literally "service level agreement"). This term came from ITIL (IT Infrastructure Library, the standard for organizing the work of companies - initially only in IT, and now in other areas), where the quality of service is reduced to measurable indicators and their acceptable values.

Almost always in the SLA appears “reaction time” (standard response time of the customer service to the customer’s request) or “decision time” (standard time to repair the breakdown or malfunction of the customer service). If the percentage of violations is not high in the monthly report of the head of the service department on compliance with SLA, the service is considered “quality”.

Here lies a serious mistake. You can successfully fit into the framework by showing formally positive reports. But if customers are not satisfied with the quality of the responses or with indifference (“this problem is not on our side, everything works for us, contact the provider ...”, etc.), they are unlikely to be satisfied with the report - it contradicts their personal feelings.

For operational control, it is necessary to obtain and analyze the applicants' subjective opinion - to conduct a survey about their satisfaction after each application (automatically, if the helpdesk system allows it, or by the call center). And in the long run to build strong relationships, delving into the real problems of the client - from those related to your services to all current ones. Moreover, any of these problems is your opportunity to capitalize on its solution.

Do not keep the customer in the dark

If you often fly, you probably had to wait for a delayed flight. To languish without departure information is exhausting. Any uncertainty is frightening and unnerving - especially in a critical situation for you.

Therefore, it is important to provide the client with all the information about the progress in solving his problem, to be as open as possible. Upon receipt of the application, inform the planned date of the decision. Notify about the next stage of the solution (it is good if the selected helpdesk-system supports automatic notifications and provides access to the client portal).

The customer service should not be a black box where client requests are sent and from where, after some time, a ready answer arrives. Your openness will show the client that each of his applications is important, and he will be able to plan his time, and not sit waiting for a decision.

Ignorance about a customer problem is your problem

If it is difficult for the customer to report his problem to the service department - this is your flaw. There is no bureaucracy in interaction with the client - “applications on the form”, “official notes” or forms with a dozen fields. Chats, instant messengers, simple feedback forms on the site, email, identification by phone number when calling the call center - the client’s message should be received in any way convenient for him. Choose a helpdesk system that supports multi-channel communication with the client.

Be not a contractor, but a partner

The client may ask for any changes in the composition or format of your services. If they go beyond your standards, you can: refuse (lose a client), agree (lose a profit) or agree, but with an increase in value (save a profit, losing customer loyalty).

The correct answer is to figure out what caused the request. The client comes with his - not always optimal - solution to the problem. You can offer a more suitable one - with the participation of related business processes of the client company, with requirements for other contractors, etc.

Become a partner and consultant for the client (as far as your knowledge and skills allow) and, whenever possible, go beyond what contractors usually do.

Do not forget about the contract

Partnerships, trust, going beyond the formal framework - all this concerns the normal mode of work. For long-term cooperation, do not forget to “lay straws” in case of conflict. A contract with clearly defined obligations and liability is the last argument that can protect you from claims and compensation claims.

1. Hire the “Right” People

You can train skills for a long time, it is much more difficult to teach mood. This means that when looking for personnel to serve and communicate with customers, you need friendly, open and “customer-oriented, and these should be key requirements when choosing a candidate? The ability to solve problems and prevent the aggravation of some problems of clients is an excellent quality for any employee . When interviewing candidates, you can ask what they will do in a particular situation to see and understand how they can help you keep customer satisfaction as high as possible.

2. “Gather the whole team in one bus”

If you want your level of work with clients to be high and worthy of excellent, make sure that your employees treat this as a priority matter from the very beginning of work in the company. Include “customer service standards” as a key part of your training. It should be natural and simple. If someone is experiencing chronic communication difficulties and does not seek to improve the level of customer service - either find him the right place or simply “drop off” from the bus, otherwise this person will simply constantly interfere with you moving forward.

Employees simply need to know how to communicate with customers, listen to customers and respond accordingly. If your priority is fast and efficient customer service, think up some explanations in advance in case of service delays and some solutions that you will offer customers in this case.

Among other things, if you understand that excellent customer service is the key to business success, why not stimulate it. What about prizes and rewards for employees who are the best at it?

3. Give customers the right tools

Sometimes it’s not always possible to quickly help a client with some information about your services or working conditions, so it’s useful to have important information always at hand.

You can create specific web pages to explain some points, pages where the client can describe his question or make a complaint. You can even add a FAQ section to your website, which you can fill out with answers to customer questions. It helps and saves a lot of time.

4. Focus on the customer

If you think that your customers do not always get the best service, it may be worthwhile to draw up a simple plan and customer service process that will help make your business more focused on their needs and expectations.

List for yourself what customers want from you. Using this list, consider what would be necessary to provide the best customer service in every situation. Answer the question - what do you think is the best?

Draw conclusions and make real decisions on changing processes, training schemes, internal rules and procedures.

5. Be active

Instead of just reacting to what’s not going according to plan, what about identifying customer problems before they arise or become real?

To make sure that you are doing everything right, all you really need to do is ask your customers. You might even want to ask them one or two additional questions about what improvements can be made in your service or maybe something is missing from your customers. Draw conclusions and make changes to your internal processes and services, review the training plan.

Always quickly and adequately respond to messages on social networks, very often customers leave feedback here.

Conclusion: if other people see that you are striving for improvement, care about customers, and the same professional in their field, your business will go with guarantee in a year and they will recommend it.

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