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Customer Experience in the Restaurant Industry

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With the dining scene quickly becoming more competitive than at any other point in history, it’s up to individual managers to improve the customer experience at their restaurants. Good experiences can often translate into higher retention rates. In spite of the fact that CX concepts seem tied to Silicon Valley and presentations given by corporate moguls, it’s becoming a hot topic in the world of dining as well.

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Think about the last time you personally ate out. Ask yourself if you had any problems with the payment system or someone making a mistake when taking your order. These are the kinds of issues that turn many customers off to certain types of restaurants.

Fortunately, there’s no reason these can’t be corrected in good time.

When restaurants first started to switch over to digital technology, the mass media lauded the changeover as the end of all ordering problems. Unfortunately, even the best POS software for restaurants is only ever as good as the person operating it. In many eateries, people aren’t adequately trained to work with the programs their businesses use.

Extreme cases have included businesses that don’t run the right kind of POS app, which in turn inhibits the ability of clients to pay. For instance, some people may want to pay with a widget on their phone or use a credit card that’s not normally part of a standard network. Without the right technology, restaurant owners can’t take these kinds of payments.

Granted, these cases are normally quite rare. They do translate into lost business over time, however, so managers should keep an eye out for them. Training and onboarding is usually the number one thing to keep in mind when trying to resolve payment-related issues, so this is where a majority of businesses will want to start.

Improving Staff Engagement

Perhaps the reason businesses need to start here is because staff engagement is such a problem at many places. This is quite obvious in the world of fast food, but it’s an issue in the casual and fine dining worlds as well. When customers walk into a restaurant, there’s a chance that they’re already having a bad day.

Considering how people leave unnecessarily negative reviews on social sites, there’s also a chance that they’re entering your place of business with some preconceived notions. If your staff doesn’t engage with them right away, then they might end up accepting whatever they thought of your place as true and never want to eat there again.

One study suggested that over two-thirds of all customers are willing to pay more if they receive great service. The fact that they even have to say this indicates that they find something about their current experience lacking.

Improving engagement, therefore, can help to increase the chances of customer retention as well as lead to increased revenue from new clientele. Unfortunately, places that do have excellent customer service have a tendency to promote this fact.

Just like negative reviews can create preconceived notions in a customer’s head, this kind of promotion can lead to a scenario where customers have unrealistically high expectations. Therefore, moderation is urged in all things.

Interestingly enough, people now trust customer reviews more than professional ones, so this promotion might not work in the first place anyway.

An End to the Professional Review Era

Around 25 percent more people turn to customer review sites like Yelp than they do professional reviews. In part, this is because people have the idea that other customers are looking for the same aspects of the dining experience that they are.

Drive-through restaurants are particularly susceptible to this phenomenon. People going through a drive-through lane are usually mostly concerned about the staff getting their order correct. They’re not going to pay attention to the ambiance considering that they’re outside. Therefore, a professional review probably won’t even hold their attention.

In fact, this renewed focus on what customers think versus what professionals write about an establishment may have helped introduce trends like self-service kiosks and walk-up windows. Both of these have increased customer satisfaction rates by ensuring that orders are filled correctly. When people work through a touchscreen menu, there’s little chance of them being misunderstood.

Poor past performance might even be the reason that around half of consumers are at least looking into using mobile ordering apps regardless of what food critics might say about them.

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Improving Customer Experience in Good Time

Some restaurants have focused on adding new beverages while others have expanded their offerings to include healthier menu options. Nevertheless, at the end of the day customer experience comes down to the human experience. Meetings are never fun to hold, but it might be important to hold one now so you can work out problems with your team and improve CX issues as fast as possible.

You may also like these Restaurant related article I have shared earlier:

Things Every Restaurant Needs

Are Online Restaurant Reviews Trustworthy

Effective Ways To Boost Sales From A Restaurant