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3 Ways to Improve Customer Service

Your servers won’t instantly gain the secrets to exceptional customer service just by standing next to the bakery display cases.  Your servers and wait staff need to be taught customer service just like you were taught (through trial-by-fire or coursework) how to manage. How do you do this effectively?

Define Customer Service

Exceptional customer service means different things to different people.  I, for example, judge a restaurant on how fast they get drink refills to my table.  Others judge customer service on how long it took to be acknowledged and seated. The class of clients you serve and your own ideas about customer service can guide you toward a customer service ethos for your restaurant.

Here are some metrics that you can use to determine the quality of your restaurant’s customer service:

  • How long does it take to be seated?
  • How long does it take for customers to receive their checks?
  • How long does it take to refill drinks?
  • Does the wait staff smile and seem like they want their customers to be there?
  • Can the wait staff explain all of the menu items?
  • Is each meal prepared correctly?
  • How long does it take to get out tickets?
  • Is the kitchen clean?
  • Do the chefs know how to cook all of the items on the menu?

Defining what’s important for you and your restaurant will draw attention to it in the minds of your staff. It will also give you metrics to measure your team by.

Talk to your People

It can take a bit for a new restaurant to gel together. Communication is of the utmost importance.  Choose a few metrics from your list of ‘what’s important’ and focus on those for a month.

Once you’ve decided what’s important for that month, have a meeting with the front and back of your house to better communicate your ideas. Talk about issues that are hindering you from the goals.

Set the Example

We talked about this in a previous article, but it bears repeating.   Your staff pays attention to what you’re doing.  If they see that you’re spending a LOT of time in the office and not walking around the floor, getting drink refills, and busting butt with them then they’re going to think that you condone letting things slip through the cracks.

It’s your responsibility to make sure that you’re providing exceptional service to your patrons.  That responsibility spans from the front of the house to the back of the house, and everywhere in between.   Every member of your team might not have that ‘sixth sense’ when it comes to customers, but it can be developed.

Thanks go to Wally Gobetz on Flickr for the Creative Commons use of the photograph.

2014-08-19 00:00:00
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