As the cost of living continues to rise in the UK, there’s immense pressure for organizations in hospitality to balance ever-shrinking profit margins with inflating prices, in order to encourage customers to keep on returning. And it’s predicted that this uncertainty is here to stay, with 42% of those working in hospitality expecting the lack of economic growth to be a concern for the next three years.
This is further compounded by the fact that pubs, bars and restaurants are also closing at an all time high, with the last quarter of 2022 being the worst on record for closures. But amidst the magnitude of factors forcing the closure of some of the most beloved eateries in the UK, there is a weapon that holds invaluable potential; customer feedback. When used correctly, customer feedback is capable of helping restaurants reshape their offerings, giving them a fighting chance to survive this challenging period.
Understanding the value of customer feedback
Customer satisfaction refers to how happy customers are with your products or services. Ensuring customers are happy with their entire experience at your restaurant can give you the opportunity to build a loyal fan base that keeps returning, helping you to better navigate the uncertain state the hospitality industry is currently experiencing. Customer feedback is an excellent way to collect information on how your restaurant is currently performing, and can be collected in various ways, including:
- Customer satisfaction surveys
- Word of mouth
- Social posts
- Reviews on sites like trip advisor
Customer satisfaction surveys are usually the preferred form of collecting feedback, as they can usually be sent through email within an hour of a customer’s visit or completed at the table in the restaurant. They also give you the ability to ask structured questions that can help dig a little bit deeper into their feedback, as well as being able to receive them immediately and gain responses from a variety of people with mixed views.
Using customer feedback to your advantage
By harnessing the power of customer feedback, you possess the key to unlock a deeper understanding of your customers, underpinned by data. Armed with this invaluable insight, you can steer your business towards unparalleled excellence, through data-driven decision making that hits the mark every single time.
Here at Yumpingo, our customer experience management platform can help you do just that. Our platform can seamlessly integrate with your POS systems, where team members collect customer insights through the use of tablets and emails.
The customer experience management platform also calculates NPS (Net Promoter Score) and sentiment scores, to give you data-driven insights that will help you improve your business. These insights could relate to:
- How good each dish was
- Whether their server was friendly/knowledgeable/attentive/fast
- How their overall experience was
- The cleanliness and ambience of the restaurant
To learn more about how we calculate these scores, read our blog about guest sentiment and NPS.
The benefits of customer feedback
It gives you better insight into your audience
The harsh reality is that customers already expect the businesses they interact with to pre-empt their needs, with 70% of consumers admitting they’re more likely to purchase exclusively from brands that understand them. While you may already have an idea of what your audience likes, getting feedback can give you valuable insight into how they really feel and behave. For example, they could give you more of an idea about the types of people that dine at your restaurant and what they want to experience. This will allow you to curate the best possible dining experiences, helping to keep and attract new customers.
Andreia Harwood, Marketing Director, for The Restaurant Group explains how guest sentiment data can help drive sales, even with your existing customers, by using Yumpingo, “on a more item-level basis to see how the dishes are performing. And on top of that, what we’re looking to do is actually have that integration with the CRM, use the data to then get them to upsell.
“So whenever we’re targeting our guests that have visited and asking them to come back, instead of serving the same dish they had previously, we’re able to upsell, [by saying] ‘We know you like this. Why don’t you try this next time?” “So it really helps make a personalized experience digitally for our customer.”
It helps teams develop their skills
When you start gathering feedback about your team’s performance, you can spot any positive and negative trends that may be impacting the business. The reality is that customers are more than willing to give feedback, with 85% of people saying something if they’ve had a good experience and 81% if they had a bad experience. Respondents’ answers can help employees understand their strengths and weaknesses (according to the customer), giving them insight into the particular areas they can improve in.
When sending out surveys, you can ask questions about how their meal was, as well as staff friendliness, wait time and performance. This can later be used to enhance staff productivity and customer experience, as well as the quality of the food and drink you serve. At the end of the day customer service can make or break dining experiences, showcasing the importance of acting on the feedback you get.
It helps you improve your products and services
Identifying pain points within your menu gives you the opportunity to understand exactly what dishes need improving and how. This valuable feedback also ensures that you make changes based on facts and not assumptions, helping you make the best decisions for your company.
For example, survey responses could help you make changes to prep processes or even help you understand what your peak times are. Getting insight into these things could help you reduce wait times and improve customer service and satisfaction levels. Remember work smarter not harder!
It helps you start conversations with unsatisfied customers
Research shows that 83% of customers agree that they feel more loyal to a brand if they respond to and resolve their complaints, highlighting the importance of getting reviews, even if they’re negative. It can often be difficult or uncomfortable starting conversations with disgruntled customers, however using surveys could be an ideal way to navigate the situation while still gaining invaluable information. Even making the most granular changes can help you make a huge difference to customer expectations and experience. They can also help you avoid making any price increases that deter your customers.
At the end of the day, when the economy improves, restaurants struggle to take the opportunity to decrease their prices and take advantage of increased positive guest sentiment. Restaurants that miss out on that positive sentiment can lose the advantage of making quick improvements to their company’s bottom line based on customer feedback.
Ultimately, guest sentiment can help you assess aspects of your business like pricing, menu items and service procedures and allow you to make quick changes to anything that isn’t working to reduce the risk of gaining unsatisfied customers.To learn more about how positive sentiment could benefit your business, read our blog about menu margins.
How customer feedback can make a difference
Customer feedback can be easily and effectively implemented into operational changes, menu adjustments, staff training and services to improve overall business processes. These can be introduced by those in senior leadership level positions as well as managers to help really drive the importance of utilising customer feedback throughout the whole business. Having those in higher positions shouting about the effectiveness of this type of feedback can encourage others in the company to find new ways of improving business operations.
Ultimately, customer data is gold dust, but only if it’s collected and analysed properly. Despite there being several factors causing restaurants to struggle, customer feedback can help future-proof and offset some of the challenges they’re currently facing. To discover more about how Yumpingo can help you learn more about your customers and how you can improve your business, get in touch with us today.
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