Breakdowns do happen and understanding that these situations do occur is
the first step to turning them around. These situations are uncomfortable, but,
by taking the right steps, complaints can be ironed out and even create raving
Angry customers can be turned around and become loyal. Without a doubt,
the right people hired and the culture in place are essential. Here again
employee satisfaction plays a key role.
The term of ‘happy employees lead to
happy customers” might be overused but it is bang on. Key competency drivers
required are open-minded, patience and service excellence and ensuring the
culture observes principles of empowerment.
“DOING THE RIGHT THING”
Empowerment fixes the issue before it escalates and becomes more destructive. The principle of “Doing the Right Thing” by everyone goes a long way in turning issues around.
• Start with apologizing. “I’m sorry” needs to be heard and it does not carry a cost.
• Listen to the customer and avoid being the sole talker. Even taking small notes can project that you are paying attention to their concerns.
• Always place yourself in the customer’s shoes and view the issue from their perspective. Never be defensive.
• Take ownership of the issue irrelevant of who caused it.
• Review the issue and offer your explanation. Avoid informing the customer that they are wrong (if they are wrong) and focus on the issue. In some cases, there might be a need for a broader review such as going into the kitchen and checking related equipment and methods and talking to other employees if the issue is re-occurring.
• The issue needs to be fixed. Most are real time issues and have to be fixed as soon as possible and on the spot. Especially in light of social media and restaurant rating sites. Catch and fix the problem right and then.
• Always include a follow up with the customer to gauge their evaluation and/or brief them on an update. This shows to them you are concerned and are dealing with it. A follow up correspondence after the visit helps immensely.
• Ensure you have a process in place to track issues and formulate trends that aid in permanent fixes.
• Ensure you have a guide in place with sample issues that might require some type of compensation in place if required such as free dessert, comp meal etc.
For more information: www.orhma.com