Can You Increase Customer Satisfaction with Technology in Your Restaurant?

Mabh Savage
March 16, 2020
Mabh is a professional food, health and nutrition writer with over a decade of experience in the food and hospitality industry, working at every level from mixing cocktails to management.

There’s a pervasive belief that restaurant customers are more likely to share a bad experience than a good experience. There is some truth to this, however, at last 38% of customers are sharing their experiences both good and bad- just not with the restaurant. They’re on social media telling their friends about it or leaving reviews on TripAdvisor.

According to a Market Force Information study, 75% of people will look up reviews on social media and review sites before even considering booking a restaurant. In this same study, 1 in 5 diners had a poor experience, and it's known that over 95% will not complain openly while at the restaurant. This is a cause of endless frustration for restaurants who, of course, cannot improve their services if they don't know what’s going wrong.

Top Problems Cited by Diners

· Long wait times

· Food quality less than expected

· High price

· Poor value (customers may be happy to pay a premium for an outstanding experience)

· Inefficient service

· Unfriendly/rude service

All these issues are easily addressed by the restaurant management team- if they know about it. Waiting until the review appears online is too late. By this point, the review will have been shared, viewed, and talked about multiple times. This damages customer loyalty and lowers the chances of new customers trying the restaurant.

Restaurants need to be able to collect feedback swiftly, before even the most loyal customers leave the restaurant. There are two key reasons for this:

· If the customer has a problem but doesn’t feel like they’ve had an opportunity to share it, there could be a chance to fix that problem before they leave.

· The feedback gets collated and dealt with immediately, before the same problem potentially affects another customer.

Instant Feedback

The only realistic solution is to invest in real time feedback via new customer satisfaction technologies. Customers love technology. They’ll have used Facebook to tell everyone where they’re going tonight. They’ll have searched online for reviews of your eatery. Asking a customer to share their views via a digital screen isn't going to surprise them, and it could lead to improved customer satisfaction.

It’s important to remember that customers love to share their opinions. They really do. They just don’t always feel comfortable speaking their opinion to the wait staff or maître d’. In fact, the majority of people will avoid confrontation.

Having technology take the place of this interaction makes it so much easier for the customer, for the following reasons:

· The customer has the fear of confrontation removed.

· The customer is familiar with the technology presented to them.

· The customer wants to give their opinion. By encouraging them to leave their dining experience feedback, you’re creating more happy customers.

This last point is important. Customers love to feel that service providers value their opinion. Plus, if a customer has an outstanding issue, they are more likely to speak out about it before leaving if they truly believe the restaurant cares about their experience. Use this technology to get text message alerts notifying you of any customer complaints in real time, allowing you to perform service recovery before the guest has even left the restaurant.

Collating the Data: In Real Time

When you encourage customers to give feedback on the spot, it opens up so many opportunities for the restaurant. Imagine all that feedback from a busy Saturday night dinner service, collated and displayed on a screen in your back office area. Suddenly you can see how many customers left delighted, how many are less than impressed, and more importantly, why. This allows you to see what your most important metric is when it comes to improving customer satisfaction in your restaurant.

Keep an eye out for trends. Does customer satisfaction dip whenever a particular server is on the restaurant floor? Or maybe it jumps up significantly? That’s a chance to have a conversation with that staff member, either about a warning, training opportunities, or a raise. Keep your top talent happy and productive, and manage any issues swiftly without letting them fester. Set up a server incentive program, based on the information you’re receiving daily from your instant feedback.

Did a certain dish get sent back multiple times? Was it cold? Overcooked? Get the details on the day, talk with the chef and find out what the problem was. You might discover that certain dishes are too tricky to get out onto the floor quickly when your restaurant is full to the rafters. Changing the menu not only keeps regulars intrigued and excited, but it can help you manage the customer experience better, too.

Does nobody buy the steak? Is it too expensive? Real-time feedback could let you know this straight away, so you can adjust your menu pricing accordingly. Measuring your customers' reactions to your dishes in real time could be a real game changer.

Real-time feedback allows you to really build your restaurant's strategy carefully. This takes the place of jumping from one task to another without any cohesive plan. Use the trends to decide where your restaurant needs to go next. Are customers complaining about the wait time for a table every night? Maybe it’s time to expand or re-plan the seating area. These are the kinds of opportunities you could be missing out on without the right customer satisfaction technology.

The Bottom Line: Future-Proofing Your Restaurant

Technology is the future. Ongoing technological advances mean customers expect efficient ways to interact with their favorite services. Installing customer satisfaction technology now means that by the time it becomes a standard feature in restaurants all over America (and the world), you will have been ahead of the game. Talk to an experienced third-party who can take care of your customer satisfaction technology needs with powerful, feature-filled, real-time feedback platforms. Humm can help. Contact us today and find out how we can help you with your restaurant’s objectives.