5 Tips to Take Your Customer Service to the Next Level
It doesn’t matter how good your food is—if your customer service stinks, your bar or restaurant is in trouble. Your customers have tons of choices for where they can eat or drink, and if you’re going to convince them to part with their hard-earned money, you’ll have to show them some stellar customer service. But how do you provide service that’s above and beyond other places? Read on for a few tips on how you can take your customer service to the next level.
1. Listen to your customers.
If you want to know what you can do to provide great customer service, why not go straight to the source? They’ll be able to tell you exactly what you need to know. Luckily, social media makes interacting with your customers easier than ever. Ask your Facebook or Twitter followers what they think you can do to provide great customer service. Pick and choose what you think are the best ideas and see if you might be able to incorporate them in your business. And be sure to respond to and thank everyone who takes the time to answer your question.
2. Make it personal.
Personalizing your service makes your customers feel extra-special. Take Brooks Brothers, for example. They may be a clothing retailer, not a bar or restaurant, but they still exemplify great customer service. The store sent a handwritten thank you note to a shopper, who then told everyone about the great customer service experience he had. A personal thank you lets your customers know that you appreciate their business. You may not be able to write a handwritten thank you for every meal you serve, but think about what you can do. A special note of gratitude when you get a catering order? A personal message on the receipt? Remembering a customer’s name when s/he comes in? Personal touches make the difference between so-so and stellar service.
3. When you mess up, make it right…and then some.
If you mess up a customer’s order or ruin the meal, an apology is in order. But don’t just stop at sorry. Go above and beyond to make customers happy by offering not just to replace the meal or drink, but to buy the next one, as well. This won’t cost your company that much, but it will generate lots of goodwill. Remember that when customers are unhappy, they tend to complain publicly…via Twitter, Facebook, and Yelp. If you want the comments about you to be positive instead of negative, be over the top with your apologies.
4. Involve everyone.
Yes, your servers spend the most time interacting with customers, so it’s important that they provide top-notch service. But they aren’t the only ones who talk to customers. Make sure everyone in your restaurant, from hosts to cooks to bussers, knows how important customer service is. Hosts should be able to provide guests with a warm welcome and a great first impression, cooks should remake meals or make corrections without complaint, and bussers should be able to help customers when needed. Sometimes, the unexpected interactions are the ones that leave the biggest impression on customers.
5. Anticipate customers’ needs.
One way to really show customers great service is to be proactive, not reactive. Don’t wait until customers ask for refills, more napkins, or condiments to bring them to the table. Instead, make sure your servers notice and predict what’s missing. Refill drinks before customers have to ask. Bring them things like steak knives and ketchup if you know they’ll need them. Refill the bread baskets when they start to get empty. Little things like these will make customers feel taken care of.
The bar is higher than ever for great customer service, but you don’t have to be overwhelmed. By following these tips, you can go above and beyond in your service and keep your customers happy!