We all want the happiest customers. It’s their words that will make or break your business. Take a look at these 5 quick and easy ways to make sure your customers walk away from you business with a positive experience and with the thought that they would like to return!
1. Be personal - Your customers want to feel acknowledged and appreciated. Ask your wait staff to introduce themselves to diners they will be serving. Encourage them to engage in some light conversation depending on the type of customer/establishment. Listen to your customers and respond accordingly. If you get the vibe that they don’t really want to have small chit chat with their waiter and want to be left alone, then do so and don’t act overly familiar. (A restaurant in Kathmandu recently launched a “Staff Sociability” chart. Customers can decide whether they want their waiter to be highly sociable, sharing conversation and interesting news or maybe they want a ninja like waiter, who can’t be seen or heard at all! Taking things to the extreme maybe?)
2. Surprise! - Throw some surprises in to the mix. Randomly select different customers for free drinks/free appetisers etc. Change it up a bit – find a day/time that your establishment isn’t too busy, buy some cheap raffle tickets and hand them out at this specific time. Surprise raffle winners with vouchers, free kids meals, deserts, branded promotional goods from suppliers etc. Post about this on your social media channels too, to generate interest. This will encourage your customers to come back on the chance they may win again and it’s fun!
3. Keep it clean - It goes without saying that your restaurant/bar/lounge should be kept spotless but there are places that just don’t seem to pay attention to the smaller, not so obvious things. There’s more to keeping your place clean than just wiping down the tables or the bar.
Hair – nobody wants hair on their plates. Nobody wants strands of hair to be found on their table, stuck to their glasses or on their tea cups. Make sure your staff have their hair tied back or in nets if needed. Under and around tables should always be checked. Did a child (or adult!) leave gum under the chairs or tables? Did food get mashed in to the ground? Make sure everything is tidy before your next guests sit at the table. Your toilets should always be kept sparkling. Tedious a job as it is, have a check-list in your bathrooms and make sure a staff member checks them at least once every hour. Dirty bathrooms will make customers think where else in the building could be neglected in the cleanliness department!
4. It’s the little things - Silverware and sauces. Don’t leave your customers sat with their food in front of them and nothing to eat it with. Is there salt, pepper, oil, vinegar etc on the table? If your customer has asked for a specific sauce to go with their food, be it ketchup, mayo or your freshly made pepper sauce, make sure it’s there and isn’t brought out half way through their meal. If drinks are nearing empty on one of the tables you’re serving, make sure to ask would they like more. Is there kids at the table, do they need booster seats or high chairs? Being attentive to your customers will make them see you care!
5. Let them have their say - Leave review cards on your tables or have your staff ask customers at the end of a meal is there anything that could have been done better. Especially if you are a new business. Ask your customers for feedback and take it on board. If your customers have a complaint, fix it and assure them that it won’t happen the next time. It’s ten times better to take on the constructive criticism and have the customers return than letting the customers leave with a terrible impression of your company/staff/management skills. You don’t necessarily have to agree with your customer, but make sure you are attentive and listening to what they have to say. Don’t seem disinterested.