20 MORE Ways to Improve Customer Service
- When someone makes reservations, call back after their meal and make certain the occasion was great. If it wasn’t, do two things to make it right.
- If you see a guest without a smile, give them one of yours.
- Create pleasing personalities and voices on the phone.
- When it’s busy, remember: grace under pressure. Service-giving is emotional labor.
- Don’t fight, make it right. Any time you argue with a customer you lose.
- Set clear expectations for service-giving and communicate it all ways.
- Expect problems. Examine service challenges that arise weekly. Have a plan in place to resolve each one. Make sure your team members know what the plan is.
- To prevent recurring service problems, use the “5 Whys” method to uncover the root cause/effect of the challenge or process. Here’s an example: “Problem: Food is taking too long to get from kitchen to customer. 1st Why? The kitchen team is working too slow. 2nd Why? They’re mostly new. 3rd Why? Turnover is high in the kitchen. 4th Why? Managers have not been coaching the team or staffing properly. 5th Why? We bonus our managers primarily on keeping labor costs low and have not trained them on servant leadership (Root Cause). Solution: we will re-train our managers and kitchen crew, better communicate our expectations and re-assess our bonus system to align it to quality, speed and accuracy.
- Give customers more of the good stuff they remember from the last visit.
- Learn, remember, and use guest’s names.
- Give your team constant feedback on service progress. If you don’t measure it, it doesn’t matter.
- Make sure all customer-facing team members greet and treat customers with an Attitude of Gratitude.
- Make service a topic at all pre-shift meetings.
- Make pre-shift meetings mandatory, not optional.
- Every year when you plan your budgets also make a plan for improving customer service.
- Solicit relevant customer feedback while they’re in your restaurant by asking “What’s one thing we could have done better?” instead of “How was everything?”
- Always acknowledge customers promptly. Give them your full attention and listen to them.
- Explore and exploit every way possible to thank your customers: in-person, phone, letter, text, email, website, blog, gifts, quality, graciousness, value.
In summary, never get bored with the basics. Getting the little things right allows you to make the Big Things better.
You can follow Jim on Twitter @Sullivision and get his free monthly service enewsletter and product catalog at www.sullivision.com.