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NMRA President's Perspective on Customer Service

Posted By NMRA President Randy Kenna, Tuesday, July 08, 2014

One of the biggest obstacles we all face is: How do we continually, on a daily or per shift basis, provide excellent customer service to our guests?  Also, how do we impress the importance of great customer service to our employees?  With all of us facing increased costs, including a higher minimum wage and higher protein and produce costs,  we must not lose focus on providing great customer service and positive customer experiences to ensure that they will return to our establishment. With the lightning speed and use of social media today, this is an element that deserves a lot of attention.

The first and obvious thing we need to do is stress the importance of great customer service during the employee’s training period. It is not enough just to talk about great customer service, you must lead by example. The employees must see that we, as operators, make great customer service our top priority. We must impress upon our employees that the guest is number one and we need to do anything necessary to accommodate them and give them the best experience possible.

We also must train and create a culture that allows our employees to be empowered to take care of our guests and any complaints they may have. This can be done with all-employee meetings and shift meetings, in which great customer service is always a subject of discussion. In these meetings, show that you value your employees and their opinions by asking them about their experiences with customers and if they have any ideas that may benefit you and the level of customer service that you provide.

Another item that will help you provide great customer service pertains to your interview process and your ability to hire outgoing personalities and those who genuinely care about providing great customer service. Some questions that one should ask your employment candidates include: 1) What/where was the best customer service you have experienced? And, how do you use that experience to make you a better server? 2) What is the worst customer service you have experienced? In your opinion, what could have been done to make your experience better? 3) What is your definition of great customer service? These are only a few questions that you can ask in the interview process that will help insure that you and your staff provide great customer service.

As I have said in the past, make sure you hire employees and personalities that fit YOUR culture!

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