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Restaurant Basics: 6 Quick Tips to Improve Customer Service

By Tricia Hoy

Your customers are your bread and butter, and while your food may be the initial draw, keeping them coming back takes more than the right menu. More than anything, customer service draws repeat business, and it doesn’t take a lot to impress.

Great service takes work, but it’s inexpensive—and essential to build a loyal fan base for your restaurant.

1. Teach Hospitality by Example

Encourage your staff to treat every customer as though they’re the first guest of the day. People pick up on a genuine greeting right away, and recognize immediately if you’re not sincerely at their service. 

 

2. Treat Your Customers as Guests

You wouldn’t be rude to a friend or family member visiting you in your home. How welcoming are you to patrons in the restaurant? Do staff rush through orders? Forget to smile or offer a personal greeting? Have you cleaned up for company? A clean establishment and professional staff play a big part in welcoming guests, as first impressions are based on visual cues.

In a webinar on Pizza Marketplace, Red Savoy's Pizza CEO Reed Daniels talked about creating a real connection with customers, and how important it is to be authentic:

"One of the things we rolled out recently is when someone walks in, or someone calls on the phone, we say: Where are? Who are you? and How are you?"

"And so the first few times we do it, people are like "Why is this pizza place asking me how I am?" 

"Being able to connect with that guest and say, “How are you” and giving a damn about the person that is choosing you tonight? What if they say “actually you know, we have to go to a funeral for my dad died and I've gotta feed my family.” What an opportunity for us to know what's going on in our customers lives and do something about it. It is taking the time to actually connect versus be a transaction. That's what we're working on."

 

3. Go Above and Beyond

Great customer service isn’t just smiling and taking an order. Go the extra mile by offering guests something they weren’t expecting. It doesn’t have to be a big expense out of your pocket, but something that perhaps doesn’t come out of theirs. Enroll new guests in your VIP program. Use your POS to remember birthdays, and mail them a card.

 

4. Build Loyalty, One Guest at a Time

A loyalty program is an investment in the customers who keep you in business. Keep track of points they earn with their purchases, display the rewards they’ve qualified for, and make them feel as though they matter. Rewards build loyalty and frequency—and even order size. It’s the Loyalty Trifecta.

 

5. Speed up Service with Caller ID

In a delivery operation, the customer experience often begins with a phone call. That’s why a pizza POS system will integrate caller ID. Caller ID can speed the order-taking process dramatically—by 50 percent, according to Paul Knaysi, owner of Pablo’s Pizza in Grand Junction, Colorado. In fact, Paul called us to share that his pizza point of sale system had saved him so much time, he was able to cut back on staff despite a 33 percent increase in sales volume.

In the same webinar mentioned above, Reed also talked about how his system's caller ID has been used to personalize customer experiences: 

"What I always love is the caller ID popping up and you say “Hey Jan! How are you?” and Jan’s like “Hi…” and she’ll hang up, you’ll put in the order, and she’ll call back. It tells you Jan is calling back and there's an order in the system.

"And it's like “Jan!” and she just started laughing and she just was not expecting it. She was happy to not having to go through the rigmarole. So that helps a lot with just knowing your guests and maybe adding a little bit of that magic."

 

6. Previous Order History and Recall

People are creatures of habit, and your POS system’s order history lets staff to tap into that tendency to speed up order entry and improve service. Your POS should maintain an unlimited order history for every customer, and allow customer service staff to complete a transaction quickly and personally by recalling the guest’s last order, or selected items from any previous order.

Good customer service is about bringing customers back by sending them away happy. It’s an easy concept, and regular reviews can help you identify where staff may have gotten lazy or might be in need of a refresher. What are you doing to promote great customer service in your restaurant?

 

How to Improve your customer experience by shifting focus. Download the webinar


Posted on Wed, Oct 23, 2013 @ 09:10 AM.
Updated on June 30, 2020 @ 10:32 PM PST.

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Tags: customer loyalty, Restaurant Marketing

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