Review websites such as Yelp and UrbanSpoon have made it easy for restaurant-goers to broadcast their experience to hundreds or thousands of people. Unfortunately for restaurants, human nature makes us more likely to register complaints than compliments.
This leaves the restaurant, if it is lucky and alert enough to notice complaints quickly, scrambling to correct the problem internally while assuring the public that it was a one-time slip-up.
However, more restaurants are discovering a way to catch problems before angry customers find the Internet and broadcast their complaints to the world: Digital survey solutions that give customers an easy way to offer feedback before leaving the table.
At-the-table survey tools have a response rate far higher than comment cards and online surveys. Best of all, they offer restaurants the opportunity to find out about bad customer experiences immediately, empowering managers to personally intervene on the spot. Management also gets early insights into systematic problems with operations or specific staff members.
The Experience of Tucanos Brazilian Grill
Tucanos Brazilian Grill, with eight locations across the country, reports that a digital survey solution from LRS has dramatically increased the response rate to its surveys.
Mickey Padilla, director of development, said Tucanos previously used comment cards but never looked back after switching to LRS survey tools. Customers are prompted to rate their experience with an easy-to-use device that arrives with their check. On average, Padilla estimates, a whopping 80 percent of customers respond.
If a customer records a negative rating, management is immediately alerted via mobile device and can then speak with the customer and assess the situation. That keeps the customer from leaving angry and increases the odds of him returning. It also allows the manager to fix whatever went wrong.
“If they have negative responses, we hear about it right then and can address it right then,” Padilla said. “No other company really does the instant manager paging, and that’s the biggest benefit.”
Another Benefit: Measurable Results
Another major benefit of the instant survey tool is that it allows management to compile and measure data over time. Results can be accessed whenever needed for analytics that help improve the customer experience by measuring customer perceptions about operations, staff, product and environment over time. Padilla says Tucanos monitors the survey results weekly.
Digital surveys are suitable for a wide range of industries beyond restaurants. They’re being used in healthcare facilities, where they adhere to HIPAA guidelines by instantly and anonymously gathering patient feedback. They’re also being used in retail service settings, such as auto repair shops, spas and hotels, where guests can leave feedback during the checkout process.
Businesses who use the tool say customer satisfaction is up. Meanwhile, they are spending less time dealing with negative comments online.
Skip Cass is the chief executive officer at LRS and an expert in operational efficiency and creating a memorable guest experience.