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How to Train Employees to Encourage Great Reviews | Superorder

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March 28, 2024

Cultivating a Culture of Guest Satisfaction: Employee Training for Review Success

In the hospitality industry, success hinges on a great customer experience. There's no better example of that than restaurants. Restaurants require a constant stream of happy customers and positive reviews to succeed. Failing to meet the mark can ruin your business, especially when customers turn to the many online review sites to share their experiences with others.

Countless touchpoints could negatively impact a customer's experience. For example, lackluster food or slow delivery service could sour the journey they have with your restaurant. While you can resolve those challenges to create more positive customer experiences, one approach that's making a huge difference in the hospitality industry is transforming the work culture.

A customer-centric culture puts guests at the top of the priority totem pole. Instead of having a corporate culture that puts products above customers, all decisions and strategies revolve around customer service and satisfaction.

In this blog, we'll discuss the importance of shifting your business toward a customer-centric culture and how you can make positive improvements that lead to long-term success.

Why is it Important?

Guest satisfaction is crucial to your success as a player in the hospitality industry. Restaurants do more than just serve food. They provide a full experience, and every facet of that experience can impact a guest's ultimate satisfaction. Your goal is to make customers feel that you provided great value. Otherwise, unhappy customers may spread their experience through reviews and word-of-mouth, harming your reputation and making it more difficult to attract new customers.

Customer satisfaction should be at the heart of everything you do as a restaurant owner. Products and profits matter, but they won't mean much if you don't have customers to serve! A customer service culture puts the needs and expectations of your guests at the forefront.

The approach can guide your decision-making, highlight metrics you need to improve and help you develop brand-new strategies for business success and a sky-high Net Promoter Score (NPS).

Putting customers first can lead to great success for any business, but it makes a substantial difference for restaurants trying to sell an entire package. Not only will a customer service culture help your team deliver a great experience through impeccable customer interactions, but it can also reframe what's important for every other operation.

That customer-centric approach can make it easier to avoid errors when preparing orders, delays when offering delivery service, dispute resolution when things don't go right and more.

Understanding Common Guest Expectations

The first step in adopting a customer-focused, high-performance company culture is to understand what your guests expect. Knowing what people expect from your restaurant allows you to develop strategies and model the customer journey to maximize satisfaction.

Guests expect a few core things from a restaurant: great food, exceptional customer service and relatively quick service. However, these are just the basic expectations. The real challenge lies in understanding the nuances and complexities of expectations that can vary based on the type of restaurant you run.

For example, some guests expect impeccable customer service and an impressive ambiance. They may also want a smooth online ordering process and fast delivery service.

It's important to remember that expectations vary from one restaurant to another. Guests visiting a fast-food joint expect much less from employees than in a fine-dining establishment, and people will let much more slide in a low-cost casual dining environment.

Consider your restaurant and the customer experience you're trying to sell. Put yourself in your guests' shoes to understand their expectations. But don't stop there. Shifting your company's core values to focus on guest satisfaction means not just meeting those expectations but exceeding them. This commitment to excellence is what sets high-performing restaurants apart.

Importance of Imparting Excellent Customer Service Skills

Good customer service is what matters most in the hospitality industry. The entire hospitality industry is customer-centric. You're providing a service and an experience that many other businesses offer. If you want your restaurant to rise to the top, you must give guests the best customer experience possible.

Impressive customer service can impact the overall success of the company, so you must ingrain that into your staff. Putting the customer first should be one of your restaurant's core values, and all team members must contribute to the common goal of providing exceptional customer service.

Customer service goes beyond putting on a smile, taking orders and waiting tables. It encompasses all customer interactions and impacts the larger experience for your guests. Good customer service means catering to your patrons' every need, working hard to ensure that dishes are prepared to perfection and that the overall experience is as perfect as you can make it.

Adopting a customer-centric culture in your restaurant is the ticket to guest satisfaction. When you prioritize your customers' needs, that focus ripples across every part of your operation. It translates to more accurate food prep, faster order processing and more. The result is fewer mishaps that could sour the customer experience.

Enhancing Employee Communication With Customers

One of the key elements to cultivating a customer-centric culture is improving how your employees interact with customers. Invest in training and development programs. Development programs should lean into customer service skills, focusing on how your teams engage with customers.

It should go beyond the ABCs of taking orders. A great customer service training program will teach employees how to make guests feel great while handling their needs to a tee!

Development opportunities can make a huge difference for your team. In addition to teaching valuable and necessary skills, a great training program can change how servers, hosts and other customer-facing positions approach their jobs.

Your frontline employees are the face of your business. Your job as a restaurant owner is to do more than put the right people in customer-facing positions. It's to train new hires and existing employees to develop exceptional customer service skills that elevate your business. Investing in development opportunities is investing in your team, and the payoff can lead to greater success, more revenue and lower employee turnover rates.

Empathy and Problem Resolution

Empathy plays a significant role in good customer service. When cultivating a customer service culture, you need people who empathize with others.

Customer complaints happen. Mistakes will occur no matter how much you invest in training and how well-run your back-of-house operation is. It's the reality of the fast-paced restaurant and hospitality industry.

What matters most is how your team members respond to incidents. With a customer-centric culture, your restaurant should go above and beyond to make things right. That means having empathy for the customer experience.

Every team member, from a CEO to a server, should empathize with customers' issues. Empathy allows you to put yourself in your guests' shoes and develop meaningful resolutions. Sometimes, a simple apology isn't enough to correct the situation.

When those situations occur, your team should have the skills, know-how and empathy to find a resolution that does make a difference. When developing a customer service culture, your goal is to make effective problem resolution second nature, ensuring that your team goes that extra mile to turn a negative experience into an outstanding one.

Creating a Welcoming Atmosphere

Of course, outstanding service doesn't stop with great interactions from your staff. You must also prioritize creating a welcoming environment. Customer loyalty hinges on whether or not guests feel valued and welcome at your establishment. Nothing will drive people away more than rushed or borderline rude interactions!

A customer service culture means making people feel welcome before they ever set foot into your restaurant. Ambiance, great decor and chill music make a difference. But your efforts should go beyond all that.

Greet customers with a smile. Guests should hear kind voices and an exciting tone when calling your restaurant to place an order or make reservations. The onboarding experience should be friction-free and welcoming when ordering on your app.

Many factors can forge a positive experience. Consider all touchpoints and embrace kindness, empathy and hospitality throughout the organization.

Providing Tools and Techniques for Managing Difficult Guest Interactions

Disputes, mistakes and substandard service are bound to happen at some point. As mentioned earlier, what's important is how you respond to those situations.

Your team members should know how to respond when difficult customer interactions occur. Train your staff on de-escalation techniques and problem resolution. You can also have protocols in place to resolve issues as soon as possible. That includes having techniques for frontline employees and going up the chain of command.

You can also implement technology to help with dispute management. Technology can make a big difference when cultivating a customer service culture. Advanced software can help you navigate both in-person and digital interactions to mitigate issues and avoid complaints. Some platforms can also enhance productivity by providing real-time alerts to order errors, allowing your team to address the problems before they affect the customer experience.

Problem resolution should be a top priority in a customer-centric culture. Train your team, develop strategies and techniques to address every worst-case scenario and do what you can to make things right for unhappy customers.

Implementing Feedback Loops

Leaning into a customer service culture shouldn't be a one-time thing. It needs to be continuous and ever-evolving. The restaurant industry continues to change, and patrons' needs and expectations will evolve over time. What works now might not work a year from now.

So, how do you maintain a customer-centric culture? The best approach is to create and implement feedback loops.

With a feedback loop, you gather customer insight to learn about what your restaurant does right and what needs improvement. It's a way to get honest feedback from your patrons while identifying areas of your operation that need improvement. Focus on the customer experience and gather opinions with customer surveys.

Use what you learn from surveys to train customer service teams, adjust protocols and more. Then, continue to gather feedback to see what customers think of the changes. That continuous feedback loop can benefit customer service teams over the long haul.

It helps your restaurant perfect the customer experience in every way while allowing you to stay ahead of the curve.

Employee Recognition and Motivation

Don't forget to recognize the hard work of your customer service teams and employees. A big part of having a customer service culture is acknowledging that your employees are integral to the overall success of your business. Frontline employees are the face of your restaurant, and their performance will impact guest satisfaction more than anything else.

Strive to foster growth and empowerment in your team. A team that feels valued and motivated will go the extra mile to maintain your customer-centric culture and drive your business forward. Consider the importance of performance reviews, a tool that not only recognizes strengths but also identifies areas for improvement, leading to personal and professional growth.

Acknowledge the good they do and offer professional development opportunities to address skill gaps or areas that need improvement. You can offer bonuses, foster teamwork for improvement, award dedication and more.

Another thing you can do is accept employee feedback. Your frontline employees know your customers better than anyone; their input can make a huge difference. Not only can their input improve your customer-centric culture, but employee feedback also makes your team feel valued.

Make your culture shift a collaborative effort! Recognize your team's contributions and allow everyone to shape your restaurant's guiding principles. Set clear goals, award hard work and create positive employee experiences. Before you know it, you'll notice increased productivity and much higher customer satisfaction scores.

Continuous Training and Adaptation

Feedback loops can help you find new opportunities to improve and evolve. Don't stop at collecting customer opinions. Many restaurants will invest time and resources into engaging customers and gathering feedback. However, many will hesitate to address concerns and implement changes.

Cultivating a new workplace culture with customer-centricity isn't easy, so it's not hard to see why some restaurateurs are hesitant to push things further. But resting on your laurels in the hospitality industry can quickly leave you in the dust! Your rivals are always on your heels, so you should always strive for continuous improvement.

This business constantly evolves. Continue to learn and grow. Gather customer feedback and use it to your advantage. Evolve your practices, cater to your changing customer base and always reach for the stars with customer service. The only way to grow in this industry is to push for excellence, and that push should be never-ending.

Get Started With Superorder Today

A customer service culture can make all the difference in your restaurant's long-term success. Guest satisfaction matters, so putting them first will improve every facet of your restaurant operation. Prioritizing positive customer experiences is key, and a customer-centric culture can make exceeding customer expectations second nature for every team member.

Try our tips and see how much of a difference they can make. From shifting priorities to investing in employee training, small changes will accumulate to a brand-new work culture that will put you on the path to great success.

Let Superorder accompany you on your culture transformation! Superorder is an all-in-one management platform built for restaurants. It includes many game-changing features to help your business lean into customer-centricity. These include feedback management tools, real-time order monitoring, AI-powered review management and more.

Check out Superorder today to learn more and discover a new way to manage your restaurant.

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