From the Archives: 3 Ways to Make it Right – Dealing with Customer Complaints
It’s human nature: no matter how good the food and service, every restaurant will experience some complaints. What sets successful restaurants apart is how they handle them.
There is no question—customers who report a problem expect a quick answer. A fast and positive response can increase customer loyalty beyond what it was before the negative experience. But ignoring customer complaints can cost you customers. Not only the complainers, but potentially their friends (real and virtual), family, and anyone who reads their negative reviews online. Check out these 3 tactics to dealing with customer complaints:
In the restaurant, untrained staff may act defensively and take complaints personally. A calm and professional response is important, so it’s wise to have a process in place for your employees to follow. Many companies train employees to use the BLAST methodology (Believe, Listen, Apologize, Satisfy/Solve, and Thank), or something similar, to respond to complaints. (See this Customer Service Magazine article for an overview.) BLAST teaches customer-facing staff to be open and sympathetic, show the customer they understand, and make it right.
Making it Right at the POS
The point of sale system may give you several options for compensating customers. This includes applying a discount or comp, or giving the customer a credit towards a future order. You also have the option to identify and discourage chronic complainers by adding a comment to the customer’s record in the POS system. Run a Customer Comments report to track comments by customer.
Customer credits also encourage repeat visits, so offering a credit can also give you an extra opportunity to retain a loyal customer. And in SpeedLine POS (v7.2+), as long as you make the time frame clear with your customer up front, after a generous time period, you can expire the credit so it doesn’t remain an ongoing liability on your books.
Remember: the “T” in BLAST is for thank. Always thank customers for taking the time and c and caring enough to give feedback.