The Key to Customer Communication
The restaurant industry evolves alongside trends and customer expectations. Whatever new technology or revenue streams your business decides to try, it’s important to provide adequate customer communication. Keep your best patrons in the loop and demonstrate how you’re prioritizing the things that matter to them.
For example, COVID-19 completely changed the standard approach to business. Now, as diners prioritize convenience, safety, and speed, restaurants need to find new ways to engage without face-to-face service. When orders go awry or experience doesn’t match expectations, quality customer communication is crucial for retention and loyalty.
Restaurants have fierce competition. Combine that with the natural uncertainty of COVID-19, and your business needs to compensate with a fortified plan of action.
- Start with SMART goals to set a quality strategy to follow from here on out.
- Create a mission statement, if you don’t have one already, to refer back to when you’re struggling.
- Include a call-to-action at the end of your messages, like “Call us now!” or encouraging guests to order online.
- Choose a channel that works for you. Some restaurants prefer newsletter marketing, while others find they make more profit by leaning on social media.
When you know why you’re conveying specific messages, your restaurant has more thoughtful conversations that properly represent your brand and what you stand for. With face-to-face interaction impossible and unsafe, customer communication now takes place over text, phone calls, email, newsletter, social media, and even online review sites. Your business and its goals should grow in the same direction as your patrons, no matter where they go.
If guests don’t get the service they expect, they’ll go to your competition instead. Transparency matters, and so does frequency; customers like to know what’s going with their orders. Provide up-to-date information and immediately notify them if anything changes.
- Update your business profiles and social media whenever you add a service, like delivery. Let customers know if you alter your hours, open another location or make any other changes that affect them for better or worse.
- Be open about how you protect guests from COVID-19. If you have a virus outbreak, have to close or newly reopen, keep them in the loop. Tell guests what new sanitation measures you’re installing and other plans you have to prevent an outbreak from happening again.
- Put trackers into your online ordering system so guests can watch their food’s journey all the way to their door. From preparation to when it’s in the oven down to the route that the courier takes, customers’ concerns will be eased. Send SMS messages if anything goes wrong to inform them of the delay. Satisfaction will increase merely by keeping them up-to-date.
Open communication doesn’t just mean you talk, and they get the message. Listening skills also matter, like the ability to answer their questions or concerns professionally. Stay open to criticism, learn from your best customers precisely what they want out of their experience, and then prove your dedication by genuinely adjusting to meet their needs.
Listening and open conversation shows your best customers that you care, that you appreciate the time they’ve spent with your establishment when they had so many other restaurants to choose from. Find your competitive edge simply by being straightforward about what’s going on behind the scenes. In uncertain times, your guests will thank you.
Consistent, strong messages breed loyalty. After all, most customers want to know the best way to support local businesses right now while keeping themselves and their families safe from coronavirus. Make a system for customer communication to help guide your staff through common questions they may face. Improve every guest’s experience by creating a standard for handling everything from complaints to compliments.
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