November 29 2014 – Robert Fiumara
When diners decide to go out to a restaurant for a meal, they expect certain things: quality food, excellent service, and value. When these three criteria are met, guests often return and recommend your establishment to their family and friends. But inevitably, problems and complaints will occur. When that happens, good customer service can make the difference between a satisfied customer and one that won’t return.
Listen and Take Action
The first step in receiving a complaint from a customer is to listen. Your first line of customer service defense will be you waiters, waitresses, and other front of house staff. Train all employees on how to receive a complaint in a polite and compassionate way. This means that your employees should listen to the issues in full, without interruption, before deciding what action should be taken. Sometimes, a customer just wants their voice to be heard and acknowledging the issue they have is enough to resolve the issues, without taking it to management or an owner.
Apologizing and Correcting the Problem
After listening to the complaint, both the front of house staff member and manager or owner should offer the customer an apology. It’s important for there to be some offer of ‘compensation’ and this can come in many different forms: remaking or replacing the meal and offering it to the customer at no charge; offering a free drink, dessert, or appetizer; assigning a new server; or giving the guest a certificate for a free meal during the guest’s next visit.
It’s also important to thank the guest for their business and ensure them that the next visit will go much more smoothly. Now, after all is said and done, your goal as a manager/owner is to ensure that the problem is addressed with your team in a way that doesn’t place blame, and corrected so that it doesn’t occur again. This could be as simple as enacting new processes to ensure that ingredients are replaced in the kitchen in a timely manner. But, make sure that the problem is addressed quickly with your staff – don’t leave it to linger over a few days or weeks – or it’s likely that it won’t be addressed at all.
Whether you’re a manager, owner, chef, or purchasing agent, you need to make sure that your staff have the latest in fashionable and affordable apparel. Check out Fiumara Apparels line of chef coats, shoes, and back of house gear for all of your restaurant apparel needs!