How to Handle Customer Complaints in 7 Simple Ways
Customers often indicate serious issues with service, food, or dinner policies that owners and managers need to know. How you deal with these complaints will determine if the customer visits back to your eatery or not. The following effective tips will help you handle complaints.
When restaurant service is at its busiest, complaints seem to pour in like raindrops. It is tempting to avoid them and take minimal actions, but handling the complaints professionally and resolving them quickly provide an opportunity to build a strong customer relationship. You can also turn unsatisfied diners into repeat customers by handling complaints effectively.
Order gets forgotten, food gets burned, or new server forgets the protocols during rush hour. No matter what is the reason for the complaint, try to please the customers and send them back home knowing that the problem they faced is not typical of the restaurant. Let them know that as an owner of the establishment, you value their comments. Customers who complain often tell others about the problems they faced and many also convey how they were treated fairly. Experts at a leading seafood restaurant share a few practical tips to help you handle next complaint and make your customer smile.
Acknowledge the Complaint
Start by introducing yourself and tell your designation or position in the restaurant. Listen actively and acknowledge the complaint in a sincere tone. Apologize for the inconvenience and help to resolve the issue. A complaining person wants to voice the problem because he or she prefers to dine-in at your restaurant and does not want to face the same issue again. Don’t offer any solution without understanding and investigating the problem. The issue could be caused due to bad communications or misinterpretation, so don’t rush to compound the issue by failing to understand it.
Show You Are Concerned
Avoid smiling while listening to the complaint. Turn the corners of your mouth down, slightly furrow your brow in the centre, and make a solicitous facial expression. This will show the customer that you are concerned about the issue. Exercise compassion and patience even if the customer is yelling rudely or using profanity. If they are boisterous, try to direct the customers into a private setting of the dining establishment where you can listen to their tirade without disrupting the other diners and drawing negative attention.
Take quick actions to resolve the issue while customers are still in the restaurant. If that is not possible, make sure to get the contact information of complaining customer while promising to follow-up. Teach your staff the process of managing disputes, handling complaints, and making amends. If there are any legal ramifications, make sure the staff members immediately record the incident. Therefore, your restaurant will have a written document that future managers can use to refer back.
Monitor the Online Reputation of Your Restaurant
Many complaints are made anonymously through surveys, social media comments, online reviews, and other forums. Monitor digital media and social media networks for negative information and complaints. The online reputation can affect in-house dining because several customers prefer to rely on mobile searches for reviews.
Encourage the Customers to Speak Up
Many people avoid complaining because they fear that the complaints will only reach apathetic, harried staff members or they don’t want to waste their time. Try to create an atmosphere where it is easier to lodge the complaint. Get your servers, cashiers, and managers to ask sincerely about customer’s dining experience. Conduct online surveys or provide complaint cards for people who want to voice their opinion anonymously. By getting an overview of customer’s dining experience, the manager can resolve issues for those customers who don’t file any complaint.
Resolve Complaints Without Compensations
Not every complaint is about financial reimbursement. Usually, people complain because they want respect and attention more than compensation. Avoid offering a financial incentive or a free meal to placate the customer. Overly generous gestures could result in unfounded complaints. However, if the complaint is regarding food, removing the item from final bill makes sense.
Several issues are difficult to be resolved immediately such as those due to force majeure (a fire, a typhoon, a technical issue, or any calamity). Make sure you restaurant managers follow up with your customers to make them fell that you value their opinion and trying to solve the situation.
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