Despite your best efforts to ensure customer satisfaction, it's impossible to please everyone all the time. Customer complaints are a result of non-met expectations. However, what truly matters is how you handle these complaints.
We'll guide you through effective strategies for both preventing and addressing customer complaints in the restaurant business.
Benefits of Customer Complaints
Rather than considering customer complaints as harmful, viewing them as valuable can help you grow your business. Here are the advantages of embracing customer complaints in your restaurant:
Menu and Service: For instance, if you receive multiple complaints about a dish being very salty, you can revise your menu descriptions.
Guest Experience: The number of customers who vocalize their complaints is relatively small compared to those who silently leave and never return. By effectively addressing one customer complaint, you can elevate guest satisfaction for a larger group of customers than you may realize.
Guest Expectations: Complaints and critiques from guests help you gain insights into their expectations.
How to deal with customer complaints
Here is our five-step procedure for handling customer complaints:
Stay Calm: When addressing a complaint, it's crucial to maintain calm and to think about the voice, as it may come across as defensive or confrontational.
Listen: Pay close attention to the guest's concerns. In order to effectively resolve the issue, it is important to understand what happened.
Show Empathy: Put yourself in the guest's shoes and demonstrate understanding for their situation, even if the problem may seem minor.
Apologize: While it may seem obvious, offering a sincere apology is of utmost importance. Avoid shifting blame or making excuses.
Resolve: Each complaint will necessitate a unique resolution. The appropriate solution may involve a simple apology or could require compensating the entire table by covering their bill.
Frequent Customer Complaints in Restaurants
Take a look at these instances of customer complaints along with our suggestions for addressing them promptly:
Cleanliness: It is common that complaints in restaurants relates to cleanliness. With heightened expectations for workplace hygiene, it is vital to uphold a consistent sanitation regimen in your establishment.
How to Respond to an Uncleanliness Complaint
If you have to deal with an uncleanliness complaint, apologize to the customer directly, explain how you are going to fix the issue, and then do it. This could entail sending cleaning-staff to the restroom or clean up elsewhere. Depending on the scale of the issue, you may need to compensate the customer's bill.
Poor service: The quality of customer service can suffer when faced with a staffing shortage. Regrettably, a single misstep by an employee can have a detrimental impact on your restaurant's reputation, particularly if dissatisfied customers express their complaints on social media platforms.
Handling a Customer Service Complaint
Give the customer your full attention and express a sincere apology for the negative experience they encountered due to bad customer service. Reassure the guest that you will take appropriate measures with the employee involved.
Gather Perspective: Once the immediate situation is under control, arrange a suitable time to speak about what happened as a follow-up. This step allows for a comprehensive understanding of the situation and fosters support and growth.
Order mix-ups: Receiving the wrong order or when a guest is missing an ingredient requires immediate action.
Addressing Order Mix-ups
Resolving order mix-ups promptly is crucial. Immediately forward any missing orders to the kitchen for immediate priority." If a guest must wait for their dish while the rest of the table is already eating, offer a complimentary soup, salad, or side dish. Since the meal failed to meet the guest's expectations due to the mix-up, it is advisable to remove it from the bill if necessary.
Dealing with Slow Service
In an ideal scenario, every customer would be promptly seated, served drinks without delay, and receive their meals in a timely manner. However, we understand that during busy shifts, even minor issues can trigger a chain reaction and slow down the overall service process. When service slows down, it is crucial for the staff to be ready to engage with guests and address their concerns.
How to Respond to a Slow Service Complaint
A backed-up kitchen affects the whole dining experience. A good advice is to talk to the guest, tell them the kitchen is buzy and keep them happy with small talk. If they need to wait very long offer them something for free. If the guest seems very disappointed with the time schedule remove the dish from the bill.