No business is immured to customer complaints, it is what you do to minimize customer complaints in your business that counts. The best method to significantly reduce complaints in your business is to train your managers/staff members in being pro-active.
What is Being Pro-active?
In the food service industry being pro-active means: to head off an issue before it becomes a problem. Training plays the biggest role in providing top notch WOW customer service to each and every one of your customers. To achieve this you should develop a stellar training program. Once you have developed your training program, then it is time to train management and the trainers in implementing the training program to every new hire and existing employee. If you are a start-up business, then I recommend that you have all new hires go through your training program. Set the expectations, tell your new hires that you expect them to be top performers. You are creating the core of your restaurant “your employees”, never settle for less, hire WOW employee’s not just okay employees. Having a well-trained employee will help reduce complaints, having an employee who has no clue will add to your problems. Being pro-active means in this particular case is, working the training program resulting in happy returning customers.
Training is an investment, not an expense
Invest in your businesses future. Commit to excellence, this should be your businesses motto. Never jeopardize training over your bottom line, think of it as investing into your company’s future. Some businesses place a tight leash on training hours resulting in below average employees who are not ready to wait on customers. These particular employees are poorly trained and typically provide mediocre or below average service, this will result in declining sales and customer counts and ultimately the closure of your business.
What is human interaction?
Communication or interaction between people. One great example would be the manager on duty in a restaurant conducting table visits to ensure that each guest receives top notch wow service. Its people being around other people, talking to each other or working together.
What is Guest Recovery?
A process of steps that are taken to address and correct a customer’s complaints. A manager or employee who turns a customer’s negative experience into a positive experience.
What is GLAD?
GLAD is the acronym for guest recovery
- Go to the guest: Go to the guest immediately and use eye contact
- Listen to the guest: Let the guest tell you why they are upset, never interrupt them, listen to them and hear them out.
- Apologize to the guest: Never give excuses such as: we have call-outs or we are busier than normal. All the customer wants is great service and great tasting food in a timely manner.
- Do what it takes to fix the problem with-in reason: Never let a customer leave without making an attempted in rectifying the issue. Most customers are not looking for compensation, all they want is to tell someone about why they are unhappy and that the problem was addressed and corrected.
Yes there are customers who are looking for a discount or a free meal, deal with these people on a person to person basis. You may have to discount a meal because the server or cook messed up. It all depends on the severity of the issue, if the complaint is because of food being served cold, then the manager should go to the table and apologize and ask the customer if they want their food remade. If the answer is yes, then the manager should personally either remake the food or notify the cooks that a priority remake is needed.
Don’t forget about the word of mouth, a customer who leaves your business unsatisfied will tell their friends, family and co-workers resulting in a large number of people who know about the bad experience. The word of mouth can work in your favor, if customers leave your restaurant saying the word WOW, then people will know and want to dine at your restaurant because they trust the information to be valid and because the information is coming from someone that they know.
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Another way to recover a guest negative dining experience is to empower servers to make sensible decisions in addressing customer complaints. As the complaints occurs it needs to be handled immediately, if you fail to address the complaint, then the customer may contact customer service to tell them about their issue. The biggest result of not addressing this issue immediately is the loss of repeat business which equals less revenue.
How to handle an irate customer.