Five Ways to Get Valuable Customer Feedback on Your Restaurant
When you’re the small business owner of a restaurant, cultivating and listening to customer feedback is crucial to your success. Here are give ways you can get valuable customer feedback on your restaurant.
Talk to New Customers upon Arrival
It’s always important to welcome customers into your restaurant. It makes them feel valued, and it gives that personal touch that’s so appreciated. When your new customers arrive, it’s a great time to quickly get a little feedback from them. Your conversation with them should be very short – they’re hungry, after all. After you’ve ascertained that they’re new (“Is this your first time dining with us?”), ask them this question, “What made you decide on us?” This will give you important insight into what is driving people into your restaurant.
Ask Customers for Feedback with the Check
After people are finished their meal, check in with them again, and ask them directly how everything was. Hopefully they’ll give you some feedback here, but most of the time, unless they have a big complaint, they’ll tell you everything was good. You can also take this opportunity to hand them comment cards (along with a pencil or pen) that they can fill out and leave on the table before they go. Make sure they’re short cards with few questions, because the write-in answers are usually the most valuable. You could also provide them with a link to an online survey with the promise of a discount on the next meal if they fill it out.
Closely Monitor Online Reviews
Hopefully you’ve claimed all the listings for your restaurant on websites like Yelp and Google Local. Now it’s time to monitor them closely for reviews. Set up notifications so that you’re emailed every time someone posts a new review. You want to see them as soon as possible so that you can respond quickly if anything negative is written. While negative reviews can be hurtful, they give you the opportunity to show your customer service skills and learn so you can make needed improvements. Also pay attention to what people are most pleased with – and keep doing it.
Send Surveys to Your Email List
Hopefully you also have an email list for your customers. You can collect their email addresses in your restaurant, on your social media pages, and on your website. Don’t, however, send emails without permission; you might annoy or upset people. Periodically send a short survey out to your entire email list. Ask them to answer a few questions and tell you about their experiences. This should produce a healthy response, but offering a coupon or discount is always a good incentive to get more answers.
Provide a Form on Your Website
Your website should also contain a “contact us” submission form. You can allow people to anonymously send comments through your website, but you can also require them to leave contact information if you choose. It’s important to offer your customers many different ways to give you feedback, and some people might prefer to use the website form. Provide a contact phone number, too, just in case.
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