Improving Customer Service: Training and Retaining the Best Talent
Customer service isn’t merely a skillset – it’s an art form. While routine training on workflow and regulations is customary, restaurant managers who want to run a respected and successful establishment need to shine in every way. Beyond food, your customer experience and service will make or break your restaurant.
Traditional hiring methods suggest hiring someone with two years experience and allowing them to continue to do what they’ve learned elsewhere. Simple, right? Not exactly. For a top-notch staff that provides above-and-beyond customer service, follow these effective guidelines.
The Person Trumps the Résumé
It’s true that experience on a resume is a good sign. But it’s not everything. When you’re looking for the truly best talent, you want to find exuberant and compassionate personalities with impeccable communication skills and tons of patience.
Often, you’ll notice an interviewee will tend to disengage or seem robotic in an interview, and though they check out on paper some red flags should come up. Spend some time getting to know them as a person.
In fact, new hires and first-timers are more likely to give their all during a typical day of work than someone who’s become comfortable with serving. Look for candidates who are expert listeners and excited to work at your restaurant, specifically. Seek to build a family, so your customers feel at home when they enter your restaurant.
Outline Your Excellence
Employees in the kitchen know exactly what to do because it’s an oiled machine – there’s a fundamental system in place. With the servers and wait staff that interact with the customers directly, however, there commonly isn’t sufficient social training for them to feel confident handling out-of-the-ordinary situations.
They shouldn’t merely focus on getting the order right and refilling the drinks – for the best customer service, the way they handle the conversation should be incorporated into their training as well.
Create a conversation guidebook, and make it a focal point of training. Have new employees attend specific training for how to defuse conflicts and stay in every customer’s good graces. This may seem like an investment, and it is – an investment for better service overall, and happier customers that will come back and buy more.
It’s more difficult for employees to consistently deliver top-notch customer service in your restaurant when the general workflow is full of unnecessary steps. Invest in enough dishes, silverware, and cups so inventory is never an issue.
In addition, switching to a digital dining system like Buzztime streamlines the checkout and ordering process, allowing customers to order food and pay for their meal via tablet. This greatly frees up your wait staff to serve everyone with a smile. Fewer tasks translate to higher quality service.
When customer service is treated as a priority instead of an afterthought, the reputation of your restaurant or bar will soar. Stick to a winning formula by taking the time to seek out the right employees, and giving them the tools for success with digital dining tablets.
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