As a proud restaurant-owner, knowing your customers better on an individual level has to be your top priority. It’s not just about personalized meeting, greeting, and seating, but also about acting on interesting insights into their unique needs and preferences – in food, service, and ambience to craft a truly delightful and memorable dining experience for them.
Know your customers
To curate a dining experience that your diners love, you must know your customers well. Gathering their feedback is the first step to that. It will highlight the areas that require work. It also reveals the unique needs and preferences of individual customers that you can tap into, to surprise and delight them, earn their long-term patronage, trust, and loyalty.
But getting customers to provide feedback is a challenge. Studies suggest only one in every 26 customers bother with feedback forms – either because it’s too much effort, or because they believe their feedback won’t be acted upon. Besides, It’s a delicate balancing act to extract actionable insights, without coming across as nosy and intrusive.
Here are some smart techniques to circumvent some of the challenges and successfully extract valuable customer feedback:
Design an effective feedback form
1. Minimize The Customer Effort
The objective is to engage as many customers as possible.
- Break the form into 3-4 wieldy parts (or stages), making it easier for the diners to fill.
- Use multiple-choice queries and associative/comparative questioning techniques. Incorporate key questions like “How likely are you to recommend this place to your friends?”
2. Digitize The Form
Digital forms can be filled out on-premise. It makes the process quicker, more interactive, and less tedious. Not only does it reduce customer effort, but it is also beneficial for the restaurant.
-Reduces printing costs: The restaurant can change the design elements as well as the questions anytime without having to print new forms again and again.
-Enables Instant Grievance Redressal: If the restaurant has received a bad review, the feedback app instantly notifies the manager or the owner, and they can gratify the customers with discounts and offers to make it up to them on the spot.
Give them compelling reasons
From special discounts on their favourite dish to complimentary helpings of their favourite dessert on their next visit, gratify them every time they provide their feedback. This also serves to drive repeat visits.
You can also run an online survey on a similar concept- Put up modified versions of feedback forms on your social media pages and relevant online fora. Offer gratification for respondents – deals and discounts on their next meal – which will also drive greater footfall at your restaurant.
Add a personal touch
You, as the owner, your partners or senior associates, must take personal initiative to chat with customers over dessert or coffee, to understand their likes and dislikes. Candid chats around various aspects of dining out can get you better insights into consumer preferences. You can then get staff-members to transcribe the insight you’ve gathered onto the feedback form. Over time, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of which customers to target – regular patrons, influencers, and opinion leaders.
Going beyond the Feedback Form
1. Organize special events to gather customer feedback
Invite customers to events at your restaurant wherein a part of your event can be dedicated to gathering feedback. Get market research professionals to conduct group discussions and/or one on one interviews, to explore what’s going well and what needs fixing, and take action accordingly.
2. Conduct social media listening and monitor online review sites
Customers tend to freely voice their issues related to eating out, on social media platforms, and online restaurant review forums. Hence regular monitoring and analyses reveal valuable customer insights from these entirely neutral sources. For you to do that, your restaurant must have an intuitive app and website as well as social channels. Apps like inresto’s WhiteLabel Solution can help you do just that and more.
Remember, your customer is your restaurant’s raison d’être (the reason for growth). For your customers, however, you start out as just another restaurant. As the owner, it’s your business to turn ‘just another’ to their favourite one.
It’s therefore, absolutely imperative to know your customers and to use that knowledge to create memorable dine-out experiences. You can convert every first-timer to a regular then a loyal customer and finally to an active advocate of your brand.
Who knew taking feedback can be so versatile yet fun & easy. Adopt these ways in your restaurant today and connect with your customers. You might make great connections along the way. 🙂