Good to see you. That you’re here is an indication that you do accept that even if you’re the best in the Industry, there’s always room to improve.
And since we’re being honest, let’s agree that the new world of total online ordering and minimal face to face contact with clients, has been the biggest disruption the Hospitality Industry has seen in a very long time. Our industry thrives on physical human contact and the skills and competencies we have grown in our staff have reflected that.
If you read my post on the feedback from online customers during the lockdown (read it here: New Rules of Engagement: How some restaurants are shooing customers away at the wrongest possible time ), you’ll recall that I captured some of the challenges restaurants are facing now, as well as the things customers are bitter about.
But enough with the problems already, right? Let’s talk solutions. And as the saying goes “Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
So while I’ve done the collation and categorisation of what you need to do, You Do Need To Do. Get it?
The customer journey or cycle during the pre-Covid19 era isn’t significantly different from the ‘during Covid19’ journey. It all starts with a desire (known or induced) and ends with them keeping details of their experience to themselves or sharing it. And that’s where your focus should lie; in creating an experience the customer wants to share for good.
So what is that journey really and what are the skills required to ensure that you always give Mr. or Lady Customer a good time?
Deloitte shows through a customer feedback survey that the things that matter to your customer are changing. That sounds scary but I’d rather think of it as exciting. In a nutshell, food doesn’t count as highly in what creates a high probability of return, loyalty and referral, as you might think. What matters more, according to the results of the survey is what I’d call a “who am I in this?” factor. So, think of what makes the customer feel engaged and valued. And you’d agree that even if your food tasted like bits of heaven and was cheaper than dust, that is absolutely immaterial if the client feels less than respected. Right?
So… in the words of the survey, here’s what the customer wants you to do:
Does this sound strange or new? I think not. Quite a lot of it is built into what you already do, in my opinion. You probably just need to do a self-audit and see where you need to work a little smarter. And while this may not apply to all of your guests, you don’t need any stretch of imagination to know that at the heart of every customer interaction is a desire to feel good about the interaction long after it’s over.
Caveat: This should not mean you allow customers ‘take the piss’. In fact, now more than ever, your brand ethics and processes should be adhered to even as they change to fit the times. Structure and process will help ensure you’re not losing more than is absolutely unavoidable, while trying to keep existing and gain new clients.
Finally, remember you’re part of a community. And that it is a very sensitive period. Be empathetic in your tone and actions. And on the plus side, show some vulnerability. Let us know how much effort you’re putting into being a business right now.
Rooting for you,