How to Nurture Great Restaurant Customer Service with Tech Tools

How to Nurture Great Restaurant Customer Service with Tech Tools
Colin Munch

By Colin Munch

Your customers are busy and probably frequent your restaurant for the sake of speed, which means it’s hard to get them to slow down and share their customer experience with you. The fact is, most customers won’t send feedback unless a business has done something exceedingly well, or--more commonly--exceedingly badly. So it can be difficult to know how your employees are performing when you’re not hovering over them.

So how do you get customer feedback in the first place?

Before you can highlight great restaurant customer service, you have to hear about it. There are many different ways to acquire customer feedback, both positive and negative, and each have advantages and disadvantages.

Ideas to Elevate Your Restaurant Customer Service

Email surveys

The most common is the email survey, sent to clients after using a service or product, like after a stay at a hotel. These tend to be long, with many questions, which allows for more in-depth responses; but the rate of return can be quite low as clients can’t be bothered to fill them out. We’ve all balked at filling out an email survey, even from a company we like. Often, companies will provide incentives to customers to fill these out, like the chance to win a giftcard.

The shorter and easier the format of the feedback form the better. If you use a Toast POS, for example, their system combines the best of both these approaches by putting feedback prompts right on their terminals and Toast Go handhelds, allowing customers to provide feedback right at the point of sale. Is one particular employee consistently getting a thumbs up from every customer? That’s worth celebrating with the entire team, especially once it’s been identified exactly why they’re making customers so happy.

Toast has a ton of other useful customer tracking features, including allowing owners to send custom messages and promotions to customers. Read more here!

Take the effort out of great restaurant customer service

Feedback forms are great, but even a detailed accounting provided by a customer doesn’t give the full picture. A feedback system that’s advanced, such as Toast, is connected to specific bills so that supervisors can easily identify employees receiving positive feedback. Using Solink, a platform that integrates with your cameras and POS, a manager or owner can easily find the date and time of the positive experience. Solink then allows users to search through the video in HD and from multiple angles, with a handy overlay of their order right on the screen.

Solink even allows users to overlay transaction receipts right on top of video captured by the location’s existing security cameras, giving insight into what, exactly, the employee did that was so superlative.

Solink isn’t just essential for highlighting good behaviour, it is exemplary at discovering all kinds of business insights such as theft, accidents, and customer trends.

Sharing positive feedback examples

Once you’ve reviewed your customer responses and the Solink-highlighted footage that gives you visual context for the event, it’s time to use your newfound examples to motivate and train your staff.

Be active on social media

Being active on social media will not only promote your restaurant but also let your customers know you care and want to hear feedback. Encourage your customers to follow your social media channels and post about their experience. A great way to be active is by replying to all comments and direct messages in a timely manner. If customers see you're engaging with them on social media, they are more likely to return, share their experience and spread the world.If someone sends you a glowing review via direct message you can even post that and publicly thank them. This will encourage others to do the same.

Reinforce positive actions and praise great work

Don’t wait for a performance appraisal, share the clip right away! Sharing examples of exemplary customer service helps to reinforce the behaviour with the staff person in question, and can even act as a motivational training tool for other staff who view it. This is one of the reasons Solink provides you with an easy sharing tool, allowing you to clip and send a great customer moment with anyone you like.

Use an internal messaging system for motivation

What’s better than email? An internal messaging system with integrated smartphone apps. Owners can use 7shifts’ employee messaging service to share that great video to everyone on their team, instantly. Praise your star employee right inside the app you’re already using to stay in touch with your team, and encourage teammates to celebrate each other’s successes.

7shifts is an employee management tool that allows owners to save time & money and gain control of their business. While the network of apps and tech in business is vital, it can be confusing for employees. Learn how to prepare your staff and customers for a smart restaurant

Peer feedback as a great indicator

7shifts’ role in this isn’t over. It’s now the employee’s turn to give some feedback, with built-in tools to rate their own shifts. The restaurant manager log book in 7Shifts lets managers keep an eye on team satisfaction and track trends in employee feedback. Managers use these feedback reports to highlight potential moments worth being shared with the rest of the team, and so the cycle starts all over again. The entire team benefits when employees at all levels feel encouraged to celebrate good habits with each other.

Of course, tech isn’t everything. Making personal connections with employees ensures they will take advantage of these tools in the first place, and makes it much easier to take action on the data gathered by your technology. Doing research into employee loyalty and creating incentive programs can help capitalize on the positive experiences highlighted in these steps.

Keeping an open dialogue with employees on all topics is essential, even the ones that can be hard to talk about. Solink has a great guide to discussing employee theft to take the awkwardness out of a topic that is vital to buisness success.

Keep ‘em talking

No matter how good the food, how trendy the decor, or how prime the location, customer experience reigns supreme. Identifying and celebrating great customer service by your employees goes a long way to reinforcing good behaviour and will do wonders to strengthen your brand, and keep everyone happy!

Start using 7shifts today

7shifts is the all-in-one labor platform built for restaurants to simplify employee scheduling and labor management. Easily manage your teams’ schedules, timesheets, communication, tasks, tips and more– all in one place with 7shifts.

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Colin Munch
Colin Munch

Colin is a writer, storyteller, and curious person. He has never worked in a restaurant, but he sure does go to them a lot.