February 15

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4 Easy ways to improve the customer experience

By Ian Johnstone

February 15, 2021


The difference between your customer service and your customer experience is how the customer feels both during their visit and after.  And does this experience encourage them to want to return or leave an never come back?

In this article, we will be looking at 4 easy things you and your team can do for to improve the customer experience.

Train your team often

Training is the key to success to enabling your team to deliver a great customer experience. The goal of your training needs to be to enable your entire team to be able to do their job right and to the standards of the business (including your casual and contract staff).

Anything less than you are only going to disappoint your customers.

Your inhouse training should be short, done often and easy to understand, and the majority should be delivered while your team are clocked on to their regular shifts. However, it is important to be aware that you need to use a blend of training methods to help everyone learn based on their own learning needs and learning styles.

Some simple on the job training ideas include:

  • Having regular menu tastings
  • Q&A sessions during pre-shift meetings
  • Playing games to test the team’s menu knowledge
  • Menu knowledge quiz competitions
  • Asking on the spot questions during slow service periods
  • Asking experienced employees to demonstrate how to do a task

Make your venue welcoming 

You have heard the expression you need to make a good first impression when you meet someone. Well, that rule also applies to your venue.

You need to make a good impression to encourage customers to want to walk through doors. Afterall would you prefer to walk into a venue that has the smell of stale beer and cigarettes with tables full of empty glasses or into a venue which is clean and tidy?

It doesn’t matter if you run a pub, a nightclub a café or a restaurant there are a few simple things your team need to do to create a welcoming atmosphere.

  • Keep the entrances clean and tidy of rubbish
  • Clear and sanitise tables and chairs
  • Place chairs neatly under tables
  • Write your menu boards neatly so they are easy to read
  • Use music to add to the atmosphere
  • Meet and greet people as they arrive

Seek Customer feedback

How do you know if your customers are unhappy, satisfied or amazed at their experience if you don’t ask?

But too often I hear

‘If the customer is unhappy they should say something’

The reality is that most customers would prefer not to complain, this is because they have learned through their past experiences (often in other venues) that complaining is a waste of their time, and will not achieve a suitable outcome or anything at all.

quotes 51 percent of customers

But it is no good just asking for feedback as the customer is paying. By then it may be too late to resolve the problem and win the customer over.

 This is why your team need to check for customer satisfaction during the customer's visit.

You can do this by

  • Observing the customers behaviour (i.e do they look like they are enjoying their meal/ drink?)
  • Checking for satisfaction discreetly and at the right times (i.e after they have had a few mouthfuls of their food or drink
  •  Change up the way you ask for feedback (i.e. how is the meal? Are you enjoying your steak? Has the chef cooked the steak to your liking?)

Resolve issue and complaints quickly

It is inevitable that eventually, you will receive a customer complaint (not too many I hope), so, your team must have both the confidence and competence to deal with each customer complaint.

Confidence is having a level of certainty of your abilities to do a difficult and challenging task, this often comes from:

  • personal experience (knowing what works and what doesn't)
  • knowing that their managers will support them with any decisions they make.

Competence is about being able to do a task and requires:

  • Knowledge of what to do to handle the complaint and being aware of what they are authorised to do, and when they need to escalate it to management.
  • Skills to be able to engage with the customer such as questioning, listening and problem-solving.

CHECK OUT OUR ARTICLE -  The 6 steps to managing customer complaints 

To help build your teams confidence and competence you can

  • Write a customer satisfaction guarantee that demonstrates what you are prepared to do to resolve a customer issue
  • Identify the common complaints your team may need to deal with
  • Identify solutions to these common complaints
  • Train your team how to deal with complaints
  • Roleplay how to deal with a customer complaint
  • Back your team up when they try to resolve a complaint (even if they do it wrong)

So, there we have it our 4 easy ways to improve the customer experience.   With a little bit of planning, you can enable your team to consistently provide great customer experiences. 

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?  DO  YOU AGREE, OR DO YOU HAVE A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE? If so then leave your comments and feedback below

Ian Johnstone

About the author

Ian is a Sales & Service Coach & Trainer with a background in over 20 years of 5-star Hospitality and Customer Services within Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates. He works with businesses to consistently achieve great results by designing and delivering interactive, engaging and memorable training programs, tailored to meet the needs of each business, their teams and their customers.

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