Customer feedback can be a goldmine of insights or another addition to your already expanded trash can – depending on how you see and treat it.
If you come across this article, you are probably running a customer-facing business and know the importance of having their opinions about your service.
Especially in the post-pandemic world, most brands understand that they need to pay attention to feedback if they want to grow a sustainable customer base and business.
This article discusses the importance of customer feedback and tips on how businesses can manage them effortlessly.
Why is customer feedback important for restaurants?
Customer opinions are vital for restaurant and other food businesses as it gives them insights into their operational processes and how their target audience perceives the same.
It is one of the critical enablers in helping brands improve customer experience, satisfaction, and ultimately, customer loyalty.
Studies report that 71% of customers rely on testimonials before visiting a restaurant. This stat singlehandedly proves the importance of collecting positive feedback for your services.
So, how do restaurant brands effectively manage feedback without coming off as a nuisance to the customer?
Here are some reasons customer feedback is vital for restaurants –
It aids in decision making
While there is a lot of data for managers to collect, unfortunately, most of it is being wasted.
Only a handful of restaurant owners pay heed to the data, such as customer feedback, that would enable them to ramp up their performance.
If you delve into customer testimonials, you can garner insights regarding their needs and use them to improve your decision-making.
It helps improve products and services
A restaurant business often comes under the scrutiny of the public. While it can deter some from trying new things, it can propel others to innovate and make the necessary adjustments to fine-tune the experience.
When you request customers for feedback, they often provide insights enabling you to devise new product and service possibilities.
In addition, these can also act as a catalyst and will allow you to improve your existing offerings to improve customer experience.
It lets them know that they are valued
By requesting clients for feedback, you allow them to be a part of the process and make them feel valued.
Listening to their voice and using them to better your products and services is one of the ways to tell your loyalists that you care.
It gets you reliable information
To start with, customer feedback surveys are an excellent source to get the contact details of your visitors. Additionally, if you place ads on social media, most people are not likely to pay attention to what they feed. In contrast, regular customers' opinions can be a reliable source of information.
When you engage in free-flowing chats, you can cover the topics that you feel would be most relevant for both parties.
Helps you build customer relationships
Asking for customer feedback and responding is also a way to grow your customer contact list. The data helps you establish an ongoing relationship with customers by inviting them repeatedly and sending them information on your offers/deals, etc.
Having a customer’s contact information ensures that the relationship extends past the single dining experience and continues even after they leave the venue.
How do restaurants get feedback from customers?
Here are some tips to help you ace garnering customer feedback like a boss –
Send customer surveys
One of the best ways to garner maximum customer feedback is by sending customer survey requests.
But before you send them out, make sure you clearly define your goals, keep them precise, provide variety, and offer incentives to woo people into writing their honest reviews.
Build a community
If you want to build a loyal customer base, the first thing is to provide an identity for them. Then comes support, networking, and communication.
For all these to be meaningful, a restaurant needs to build a community forum.
It helps the members feel a sense of belonging and allows them to be transparent about their thoughts and get unbiased feedback.
Invite face-to-face feedback
When in a restaurant, you can tactfully get into conversations with customers who don’t feel that you are invading their private space.
Once you have set the tone right, you can ask them about the items they have tried, what they feel about the overall ambiance, and if they have any suggestions for improvement.
Most managers do this when the customers are about to pay their bills and are at a hand’s distance from leaving their premises. These free-flowing conversations often provide the most meaningful customer feedback to restaurant owners.
Other excellent techniques
In addition to the ways mentioned above, several additional options can help you effortlessly generate trustworthy customer feedback.
One of the popular ways to do it is via online surveys that you send over the customer’s email id or post on the website. In the past, businesses have also posted them in the newspapers, which is a fading act.
Web analytics is another way to understand different aspects related to customer feedback. You can ask about their opinion on aspects like dishes most preferred, peak timing, age group that likes visiting your places, and more.
How to manage restaurant customer feedback like a pro- Tips
Now that you are acquainted with the importance of customer feedback in shaping what you do and how you do it, check out these tips to manage it effectively:
1. Use feedback management apps or feedback management system
In the past, restaurants used to distribute hand-printed forms among their customers and request them for feedback.
Technology has made it possible for these forms to be easily sent to the customers after orders, whether it be via direct messages, emails, or scannable QR codes.
Your workforce can invite the customers to express themselves while your team process the payment.
Momos provide branded QR codes or website links to aid easy collection of feedback.
2. Create a loyal following on blogs and review platforms
If you want people to know you, you must make your presence felt.
Commenting on relevant social media threads and dedicated platforms, such as food blogs and review websites, would enable you to garner valuable feedback and cater to the issues in such reviews.
3. Create online customer surveys
If unsure about one or more of your customer service aspects, you can roll out an online customer survey form that caters to these questions.
You can place them on your website or send them over as emails or messages to the customers who may be interested in giving their feedback.
Make sure you do not sound too intrusive while curating these pitches, or else more customers will choose to ignore you rather than providing their honest opinions.
4. Integrate operations and mobile POS system
Today, POS is a much more versatile solution than it was when it came into the picture.
For example, restaurant brands can use them to analyze the performance of new recipes and dishes. They can also be utilized to generate specific feedback to understand what customers like about them and what needs improvement.
5. Monitor insights on Analytics (Data Analytics for restaurants)
Data analytics has taken significant strides across businesses, and the eatery business is no different.
Specific analytic tools can be deployed and customized for individual restaurants to get real-time data on various factors like delivery, reviews, etc. They are also able to consolidate different channels of feedback making it easier for restaurants to understand and act decisively.
Some analytic tools, like Momos, also offer sentiment analysis with a detailed summary and breakdown by stores/outlets/items/categories, etc.
6. Arrange Community group discussions
A thriving community needs active discussions regularly to stay alive. These discussions can also be priceless for businesses trying to understand customers’ opinions about them and their offerings.
7. Analyze your email list and subscriptions
An email list can tell a lot about your business and how people perceive it. If people are happy with their experience with you, you will see your email list growing exponentially.
In contrast, if you emanate a subpar or an average experience, you will barely see your email and subscription list growing.
8. Ask for feedback in different categories
You can sometimes move from overall feedback to product-specific or service-specific feedback requests to understand if any aspect needs an overhaul. It would provide granular insights and propel customers to feel valued, thereby improving loyalty for your business.
Feedback from restaurant staff and service
Currently, the restaurant business is less about food and more about the overall experience they are able to devise. Your staff and their service are an integral part of the overall experience you create for your customers. So, you can shift your focus to them and request specific feedback to understand how they are performing.
Feedback on menu
You can request specific feedback about the types of items on your menu and ask people to suggest welcome additions.
Feedback on food quality
In addition to the items on the menu, you can also talk about the food quality and if the customers are happy with the experience.
Feedback on ambiance
Ambiance plays a vital role in the overall customer experience being positive or negative. You can request specific feedback to understand if the atmosphere is on par with the expectations of the people visiting your place.
Momos Surveys automatically include all these parameters to enable you to collect data on customer feedback. So you can just set it up in 1 click to go live!
Want to stay on top of the game and avoid being beaten by competitors? Pay attention to the customers’ words and treat them as the supreme source of information and improvement.
Doing so will make your clients feel valued and prevent yourself from falling off the radar.
It will also give you ideas regarding improving your business and making meaningful changes to improve the overall experience.
The article is a part of our comprehensive series on “How to Respond to Your Restaurant’s Food Reviews?”
Need to effectively grow your restaurant business while managing customer feedback? Reach us at Momos.