We all know in Hospitality and Tourism businesses that customer service is one of the key areas of your offering. It’s always at the forefront of the owner’s and the operator’s minds, as bad customer service can be disastrous for a business of any size. We know we need to achieve great customer service in our venues each and every day, but how do we measure that our customers are happy and have enjoyed the experience of being in our venue?
For every 1 customer that complains, there is potentially 9 others that don’t say anything, they just don’t come back…
Gauging your customer service, and in turn the return on investment for customer service training of staff, or investment in staff leadership skills can sometimes be a grey area. Here are some key metrics you can use to measure the level of customer service in your business.
Customer retention and repeat customers
This one is a given, but if you have regular repeat customers you know that you are doing something right with your customer service. Customers who are happy with your service are likely to stick around, and keep coming back time and time again.
Customer satisfaction data gathering
Yep I know data gathering doesn’t sound fun, but should be part of your overall business and marketing planning. You can do this in many ways to gauge your customer’s interests; through surveys, competitions that get people to provide feedback in your venue and online, and ways for your customers to rate their experience.
This valuable data has another purpose. From a marketing perspective it gives you great insight in to your customers likes, dislikes, age, and demographic too in some cases.
Compare to competitors
Are your competitors slammed and packed to the rafters on a Saturday morning brunch and you’re struggling to fill your tables? This may be an indication of a few things, but customer service could be a reason why potential customers are picking your competitors over you. This means it’s a good time to take a step out of your business, try and see it like a customer would, and adjust your service level and offering to suit.
Average service time
Part of providing great customer service is serving your customers in a timely manner. If you can serve your customers quickly and efficiently, they’re more likely to be pleased with the experience. So for example, if you’re able to keep the time it takes from initial order to getting food to the table to a reasonable timeframe, that goes a long way to providing good customer service. If you are having longer than average wait times, it could be down to things like training, or menu issues that might need to be addressed. Whatever the cause, long wait times effects your customers’ experience.
Resolve complaints and bad experiences
Got a bad review online or on the restaurant floor? You can analyse how these complaints are being handled as examples of good and bad customer service. How are your team responding online or in person, and how satisfied are the customers with the result/ outcome of the complaint? This will provide valuable help in managing your customer service. No matter how great your company, there are bound to be issues and complaints. If you’re able to solve them quickly and in a way that makes your customers happy, that’s an indication of good service.
I spend a lot of time analyzing how businesses interact with customers over complaints, and I am often horrified at how some business owners react. Always keep in the forefront of your mind to be professional when dealing with complaints, especially online and in writing. No matter how absurd you think they may be, they have the potential to blow up in your face if you get in to a mudslinging match.
And last but by no means least….
Cash flow is a key indication of great performance for many different reasons. Customer service is such an important factor and it can have a really big impact on your bottom line. If your service is bad, it can drive customers away and decrease referrals. On the other hand if it’s good, customers are far more likely to come back, to tell their friends, and this will have a big impact on your company’s overall cash flow and profits.
How to achieve good customer service is probably one of the key things people ask me when I meet with them. How do I get it? How do a train my staff for it?
As much as getting that customer service mix right is crucial, so is tracking your results to make sure it is working, and addressing areas that need some refining from time to time.
Love to hear your thoughts, KB
Kate Bickford MD & Owner - BK AGENCY: