Think about the best dining experience you’ve ever had. What did it involve? Great food, obviously, but what else? Did the hostess greet you promptly? Did your waiter go out of his way to answer your questions and serve your food quickly? Did the manager stop by to see how you were enjoying your meal?
If not, you probably felt your experience was lacking, even if you couldn’t put your finger on why. That’s because customer service is the most important element in a restaurant.
Don’t believe it? Check out these stats from a study conducted by Customer1.com:
- 89 percent of consumers will do business with a competitor following a negative customer-service experience.
- 13 percent of unhappy customers will tell at least 20 people about their bad experience.
- 86 percent of consumers will abandon a business after a negative experience. In 2007, only 59 percent of consumers would do the same.
- It’s five times more expensive to secure a new customer than to keep an existing one.
Negative Experiences Leave a Bigger Impression than Positive
Humans are social creatures, and we like to share our experiences with others. This is especially true if the experience is bad. In fact, consumers are twice as likely to share a negative experience than a positive one, according to a 2012 customer service study by American Express. Last year, Accenture did a study that found it takes 12 positive experiences to make up for a single bad one.
Why do we mention all this? Because in a world where a scathing social media review can go viral in a matter of hours, restaurant owners just can’t afford to risk bad reviews.
Fortunately, there’s a way to gauge each customer’s experience before they even leave their table. Digital survey tools enable restaurant managers to immediately identify and resolve any issue that upset a customer, thus avoiding a nasty Yelp review.
Whenever a patron records an unsatisfactory response to one of the questions, the survey’s main system sends an alert to the manager. He can then speak with the disgruntled customer to try and alleviate the issue. The manager might not be able to make up for what happened (like a waiter ignoring the table), but he can certainly guarantee the same problem won’t happen again.
When there are a dozen competitors waiting to take the place of a restaurant that falls out of favor with diners, this is more important than many people realize.
Vary the Survey Tool to Fit Your Needs
Survey tablets can be customized in any number of ways. Restaurant managers can even run multiple surveys, by shift or time of day, to measure different aspects of service (i.e. bar versus dinning room), or questions to gauge interest in new menu items. Custom surveys create nearly limitless possibilities for feedback and insight.
Even better, each manager has the power to print reports as often as he or she wants. There’s no more waiting for a third-party to process the information and send it over. With this system, the manager is in complete control.
Implementing state-of-the-art technology like digital survey tablets might be daunting to some restaurants, but the consequences of not doing so are far worse. Take the initiative to improve your customer service through these tools. You’ll be able to better serve your customers, and they will be more than appreciative.
Find Out More About Gathering Customer Feedback
Complete the form below to download the free eBook, The Power of Instant Customer Feedback, for more detail about why it matters what customers think about you.
Jason Barge is a marketing manager at LRS and an expert in communications for the hospitality industry.