Customer service and customer complaints go hand in hand when it comes to the restaurant industry. Having the phrase “the customer is always right” as one of the most famous phrases for the service industry, just shows how important it is for a business to know how to handle customer complaints and offer the best customer service they can give.
Being in an industry that’s focused on customer service, it can be challenging to find ways on how to keep your customers happy. Handling customers’ complaints while trying to achieve customer satisfaction is another level of its own especially now that the processes of service have changed.
There are added factors that affect the customer service of a restaurant business, restaurant owners need to make sure that they can handle customer complaints of an unhappy customer.
Starting from listening to the customers, identifying their concerns, acknowledging the damage, and stating the possible solution to the problem should be gracefully done by the staff.
Establishing a standard for customer service is a must, every restaurant staff and employees should know what type of customer service you want them to provide. It should be aligned to the working culture and philosophy of your restaurant business. They must know the proper procedure when handling different types of customer complaints.
Read along as this article talks about different types of customer complaints, and complaint management to help you provide the customer satisfaction that you and your whole team wants.
BASIC TIPS FOR BETTER CUSTOMER SERVICE
- Acknowledge the problem.
- Use your restaurant policies as guidelines.
- Listen to your customers.
- Never argue to your customers.
- Be effective and efficient.
- Be proactive.
- Be patient.
MOST COMMON CUSTOMER COMPLAINTS AND HOW TO HANDLE THEM
“ARE WE NOT AN IMPORTANT CUSTOMER?”
These are the type of customers that will think you don’t seem to care about them and their concern (if ever there is). They want to feel that they are prioritized and that you value them as your customers.
How to respond: Listen. It is important to listen first to the customer complaints and let them know that they are heard. Show sincerity as you talk to them and prove to them that you value them as your customers. Let your actions speak for you.
“WE’VE BEEN WAITING FOR HOURS NOW!”
Though there are decent reasons why customers should wait for their table, some are just not a fan of waiting. But this type of customer complaint is usually present because the reason for waiting is not properly communicated.
How to respond: Acknowledge the problem and don’t put the blame to others, such as the management. Communicate to them on why they have to wait and that you’re doing your best to accommodate them as soon as possible. Don’t forget to thank them for their patience (should they choose to wait).
“WE GOT NO RESPONSE FROM SOMEONE WE’VE TALKED TO!”
Trying to run a restaurant is a very demanding job for everyone, it is just that your customers still expect you to provide the optimal customer service to them. This is because they know that your staff are trained in this type of working environment.
How to respond: Strengthen your customer relationship by apologizing as it took some time to assist them. Let them know that you’re ready to assist them with their needs.
Show them that you’re capable and you’re determined to solve their customer complaints. Ask the name of the previous staff that they talked to but don’t bad mouth your co-worker.
Tip: Give a heads-up to your co-worker to let them know that the customer complaint they heard needed additional assistance.
“OTHER RESTAURANTS SERVES BETTER FOOD THAN YOURS.”
Customers have different preferences and love to compare dishes from every restaurant that they’ve tried. Though it’s not as aggressive as the other customer complaint, it is still important to let your customers know that you listen to them and that their opinions matter.
How to respond: Leave an impression that you’re willing to step up your game. Avoid losing a customer over a small issue, and take this as an opportunity to do better for your customers and your restaurant. This is also a great chance to establish a positive customer interaction that would help increase customer satisfaction.
BASIC TIPS FOR BETTER CUSTOMER SERVICE
Handle customer complaints with ease with these actionable tips for better complaint management.
ACKNOWLEDGE THE PROBLEM
Customer complaints can be categorized as a minor or major concern for the operations, but no matter how big or small it is for you, your customer still took the trouble of letting you know about their concern.
This only means that they’re expecting you to help them with their concerns. Learn to acknowledge such concerns, and let them know you’re willing to help them solve it.
USE YOUR RESTAURANT POLICIES AS GUIDELINES
Dealing with customer complaints is a case to case basis. These are different needs that can be solved by different procedures. Should your staff feel cornered, let them know that they still have the final say and just let them explain what led them to make such a decision.
This is why it is essential to make sure that your staff and employees are aligned with your philosophy and vision for it to reflect on their decisions.
LISTEN TO YOUR CUSTOMERS
Easier said than done. To avoid getting more customer complaints, and to make sure that the complaint is to be solved properly, it is important to listen carefully to your customers. The inability of a staff to listen and just assume what the main concern of the customer may lead to a more dissatisfied customer.
Restaurants are fast-paced establishments, and though it takes time to listen to your customers, it is very much needed to offer them the customer satisfaction you’re aiming for. Let them have a positive experience.
NEVER ARGUE TO YOUR CUSTOMERS
Rude staff is always a huge no for every establishment. Things may get heated, but it is important to avoid an argument with a customer.
Keep in mind that no matter how laughable their complaints are, it is still your job to look into it and try to solve it. Apologize on how things went, and you may win a returning customer for your restaurant.
BE EFFECTIVE AND EFFICIENT
Stay productive while trying to solve a customer complaint. Focus on solving the concern with as little time and little work involved. The last thing you want is to be held back by a single complaint all throughout your shift.
Be sincere and ask them questions to get to the bottom of their concerns. Your customers would appreciate that you’re taking your time just to assist them with their concerns.
If you’ve received a customer complaint, don’t rush into solving it. Get into the bottom of the issue before you take action or else you might be worsening the situation.
Take your time in fixing it, and making sure that you addressed their concerns properly.
HAVE A RELIABLE CUSTOMER SERVICE TEAM
Establish a team that would be focused on answering and addressing different types of customer complaints.
Customers also prefer if they have a number that they can reach out to should they have a concern about your restaurant.
As the businesses adapt with the changes brought by the pandemic, customers have undergone a huge transformation as well. With the growing number of food complaints from the consumers, it is crucial to know the basic steps to gain and maintain customer satisfaction.