We all know that a positive guest experience is crucial to a restaurant’s success. But it also leads to better voice of customer results.

When customers are strongly satisfied, they are four times more likely to recommend your restaurant to friends, family, or colleagues? And the likelihood of a return visit increases from 20 percent to 81 percent when customers report a higher satisfaction rate, according to a recent study of top QSR brands by Empathica.

Fortunately, improving your voice of customer (VOC) scores doesn’t mean reinventing the wheel or creating a flashy new customer experience program. When you prioritize hiring, training, scheduling, promotions, and communications – your VOC results will improve.

Below are proven voice of customer best practices to achieve top-tier company performance in customer metrics.

#1: Focus hiring and onboarding on the customer experience

  1. Hire the right people for the right jobs. One way to verify this is by checking references. It’s worth the extra time to get personal insights about potential employees’ strengths and weaknesses that you may not pick up on in an interview.
  2. Have an orientation that radiates hospitality and a customer mindset (see actionable training tips below). Don’t put staff in front of guests until they are ready to handle transactions in a personable and professional manner.
  3. Role model your expectations of the customer experience to your team and with your team. Treat your team well, and they in turn will treat your guests well.

#2: Train employees to provide top-notch customer service

  1. Get the order right! Make sure your team clarifies each order by repeating it back to the guest or double-checking it against the drive-thru order confirmation board.
  2. Focus on speed of service but make sure the food is prepared correctly. Guests come to your location to eat. If the food is poorly made or missing something, nothing else really matters.
  3. When the order taker gets the guest’s name – use it. Referring to guests by name (especially instead of a number) makes it personal and friendly.
  4. Train your team to table touch, follow up on meals, and respond to negative body language. Role playing scenarios can really help, too.

#3: Schedule smart and realistically

  1. Hire enough employees to honor most requests and be flexible with your team’s scheduling needs. Create an expectation (that most of the time) your staff can expect to be off work on time. Nothing is more frustrating for a team member than consistently staying past an assigned shift.
  2. Compare your daypart results with your schedule. Look at what’s working and not working and take immediate corrective action as needed.

 


#4: Promotions can help, but…

  1. Promotions can help generate excitement in your QSR. From time to time, mix in contests and incentives. Offering drink refills and samples of new/upcoming limited-time-only-offers, etc. can be a pleasant surprise for your customers.
  2. However, refrain from only focusing on contests to drive your VOC program. No contest or sample can cover up poor service.

 


#5: Keep your team in the know

  1. Use shift huddles to get the team motivated and excited about the shift goals, then cheer them on throughout the shift.
  2. Include your employees’ contributions to your success in store-level postings, group recognition, and performance reviews.
  3. Give 1:1 feedback. If you see something (both positive and negative) say something in the moment.
  4. Share results! Celebrate successes and challenge your team to improve when needed.

 


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