Great Customer Service – not just being there

A great dining experience is not too difficult a model to fulfil … or is it?  You have forked out for the best chef your budget could stretch too, taken a large capital investment to make your space the best in town, engaged a great marketeer to promote exciting initiatives, your social media presence is totally on page – so how do your front of house team match up to the excitement, planning and hype?

Many people, both in business and socially, always talk about their experiences: the food being innovative and ‘on trend’ (yawn) but when it comes to service this is when the conversations convert into passionate dialogue – both good and bad.

Great customer service should be a ‘given’ but are front of house teams engaged, empowered, disciplined and trained? If not, a customer may forgive and try once more but are likely never to cross the threshold again …. more alarmingly they happier to tell of their dreadful time – probably embellished with exaggeration.

Five Top Tips for Great Customer Service!

1. Say Hello and Wave Goodbye:  a muttered greeting with no eye contact is a turn off and not the best start for a customer who is wishing to spend their money with you – it probably will close 50% of the potential sale.  A warm, sincere greeting will set the mood for a memorable occasion … the customer will expect this but will receive it with delight.  Never, ever, forget the farewell there is no better way to leave a lasting memory, setting up a return visit!

2 .Positive Language: redirecting a conversation from a negative to a positive puts the focus on the proposed solution …. never argue with a customer.  When the outcome becomes centre stage, it will reduce the probability of the customer becoming upset.  If done well the customer will become an advocate for the organisation.

3. Mise en Place – it’s all in the planning: The restaurant is set, the team is briefed, chef has discussed the menu, staffing levels match expected volumes; what could go wrong.  A great set up will ensure a smooth dining service and demonstrate a professional image – one that makes the customer the number one priority. Poor planning will result in three things poor service, poor customer feedback and loss in revenue.

4. The Personal Touch: Understanding your customer will make you stand out from the rest.  Teams must listen not just hear. A returning customer will be amazed if a personal request is remembered and actioned without the request being made. Encourage team members to delight and provide that personal touch … this is such a powerful action and often costs very little, if anything; it is all about being there for your customer.

5. Malleability: No two customers are the same and will have different personalities and of course expectations.  Front of house teams should be trained to manage surprises and sense customer’s moods and adapt accordingly.  Even returning customer’s personalities can change so being on the front foot with the ability to adapt is a key skill that should never be ignored and should be a core value of any training program.

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