Filed under: Restaurants, Running a better business, Survey Feedback | Tags: customer experience, customer feedback, customer service surveys, feedback follow up, guest-services
No matter how hard you work at making your business run well, there will be customer complaints. Some customers will keep their complaints to themselves. Others, though, will express their concerns to you through your Guest Satisfaction Surveys. If your customers are willing to be honest with you and share their issues with your business, they likely expect two things: problem resolution and personal follow-up.
Today, let’s focus on the latter. Many customer surveys ask for contact information for businesses to get in touch with guests after guests lodge complaints. Failing to follow up with a dissatisfied guest may result in a lost customer and a bad reputation. Handling customer complaints is best done with simple courtesy:
1. Listen: Read their comments fully and closely. If speaking in person, do not interrupt. They have something to tell you, you need to hear it.
2. Say Thank You: Always, always, always say thank you! Follow up with any customer complaints. Respond to them in whatever medium they provide you contact information; the more direct the better. If they give their phone number, call them. Let them know you care.
3. Apologize: If you care about your customers’ experience, you need to apologize. Do not rest on rationalizations and excuses; apologize for your customers’ subpar experience with your company. Make the apology sincere.
4. Show Respect: Consider the customers’ feelings and opinions when seeking a resolution. Work together to find the answer. Ask what the customer would like to have happen – the customer may expect less than you think.
5. Send a Note: Follow up with your customer and thank them for their input. Let them know how you made appropriate changes. Customers will often respond positively to your focus on making them part of the solution.
Your customers will appreciate your good manners and strong follow-up. Moreover, they will share that good experience with others. Just as an unhappy customer can keep potential customers away, a satisfied customer will relate that experience with others. Prompt, sincere follow-up is critical to address guest issues.
Filed under: Restaurants, Running a better business | Tags: customer experience, customer feedback, negative customer feedback, Training employees
As the old saying goes, the customer is always right. It may make perfect sense to you as a business owner, but how can you explain that concept to your employees when sharing negative feedback? Further, how can you translate that into an appropriate response by your employees?
First, being able to obtain candid, prompt feedback from your clients is only as valuable as your ability to respond. Of course, expressing clients’ complaints with staff can be the hardest task. Failing to share the feedback will hamper change but addressing the issue can offend your staff members. Tact and respect are the keys to bringing sensitive issues to the table. When addressing customers’ complaints with your staff:
- Consider: about whom or what was the complaint lodged? Your customer could be upset with one employee or disappointed with a product or service handled by several members of your team. Meet with solo offenders individually, but don’t be afraid to gather a full group to address larger scale issues.
- Check with your front line of defense: your employees. Do they recognize the problem being raised by the customer? Were they aware of the issue?
- Listen to your employees’ responses. After all, you hired them because you believe they are skilled at what they do! Their opinions count. Do they think the complaints are reasonable? Your employees’ response is vital. While a good employee is concerned about customer appreciation, they may be able to offer a fuller picture of the customer’s experience.
If your employee agrees with the customer’s complaint, it’s time to discuss strategies to make a change. What does the employee recommend? What do you recommend? Are there examples of similar problem resolution strategies in your company? In your industry? Ask your employee what staff can do differently in the future to prevent this from happening again.
If your employee doesn’t recognize the validity of the complaint, consider who is right – platitudes aside – your employee or your customer? If you believe your employee is right, stand up for him or her with the customer. If you stand by the customer, explain why to your employee. In a one-on-one setting, make it clear what you see about the employee’s performance that is an issue. Again, consider potential solutions to work with your employee to resolve the situation so your employee knows you care about his or her contributions.
Remember to use tact and respect when working with your employees. From entry level to senior management, a business is only as strong as its staff. Making everyone feel like part of the team is crucial to having employees buy in to your mission and meet your company’s standard of service.
Filed under: Surveys | Tags: customer feedback, customer satisfaction score, customer service surveys, real-time survey reporting
Customer experience is important to you. You make that clear by how you run your operations. Are you moving your customer satisfaction scores in the right direction?
At your business, complaints are handled quickly and professionally. You offer your customers ample opportunity to express their concerns through customer experience surveys. You have a means of logging that information, following up quickly, and making changes where necessary, with a near-immediacy thanks to real-time survey tools. But what do you do with surveys in the long run?
Real-time reporting allows you to look at individual surveys and aggregated data for immediate review or a broad overview, as necessary. Take advantage of your reporting tools to look at customer experience reports for a fuller analysis. For example, Survey On The Spot allows you to look at trends in your customers’ reviews to track your progress. Look at results for specific days or employee shifts or take a longer view, seeing how your customers’ experiences get better or worse as you try to make changes to adjust your workflow. Survey On The Spot data is easily viewed online and can also be exported as a spreadsheet or pdf.
The best part of having your survey data available and easily manipulated in spreadsheets is the tracking tool. You can highlight positive trends and try to replicate successes. Your employees who receive the best feedback can be recognized and rewarded for their services. New employees’ impact on clients can be shown through customer experience surveys completed for visits during their working shifts. Eliminating menu items, changing administrative check-in procedures, or reorganizing a showroom all can have an impact on your clients’ feelings about your business. You do not even have to include specific questions about those changes to be able to see in the surveys how they play out for clients.
You can also learn more about what you haven’t been asking your clients. Seeing the feedback over time may make you realize follow-up questions that are worth asking. Adding in those inquiries may also change your customers’ perceptions of you: something else you can learn from analyzing your survey trends!