You want to hear from your customers to learn what you’re doing well, and what might need a little work. This is your restaurant and you want your guests to love it as much as you do.
But the importance of a robust restaurant feedback loop goes beyond daily improvements. It can be an essential element of your guest experience. Research shows that customers who share feedback have a 1.4x higher lifetime value. What’s more, when you reply to their feedback, your guests are 14 percent more likely to return.
In other words, it’s not just the feedback that matters, it’s what you do with it. Your feedback tool should be a way to engage with customers, increase engagement, and convert them into loyal regulars.
Where should you start? Asking customers as they’re checking out hardly guarantees robust responses, and the Internet doesn’t guarantee true reactions either. That doesn’t mean you can’t, or shouldn’t, use those resources to your advantage. But to do so, you need to understand your options and how they can work together for your benefit.
Your patrons have just paid their bill; they’re ready to leave, but you want to know how things went, right? Oftentimes, your main option for feedback after your customer’s meal is questions from servers and/or a comment card. Both of these options can be useful, but they come with potential downsides or risks. First, any on the spot feedback is going to be very specific and short, because your customers are on their way out.
Plus, many people might be uncomfortable providing feedback to someone that just spent an evening serving them, particularly if their feedback is negative. While critical feedback can be difficult to hear, you can glean important learning from it. After all, how can you improve if you’re not sure what needs improvement?
Comment cards pose different problems. Some customers may be in a hurry to leave and thus provide short, unhelpful answers, or no answers at all. So if in-person feedback isn’t cutting it for you, what other options do you have?
In terms of technology, you have many choices when it comes to finding a restaurant feedback tool. There are dozens of tech options for you to choose from, including Rewards Network’s own Comment Management System. But which is right for you?
The first thing to consider when you’re looking at technology options is accuracy. Online surveys or looking to Yelp might get responses, but you have no real way of knowing if the people who responded actually went to your restaurant.
There’s always the option of social media monitoring, and it’s a start. Through the comments on your social media pages, and mentions of your restaurant across various platforms, you can gauge what some people think of your establishment and get a baseline of what you’re doing well or need to improve.
The problem with social media monitoring is that you’ll only see responses from certain kinds of people. The average person tends to stay silent on social media if nothing went particularly well or poorly. This means you’ll probably see extremes of feedback on social media which, while helpful, doesn’t paint the full picture.
Since you want technology or software that gives you the best options for understanding and responding to comments, you’ll need to consider the pros and cons of all the different options as you choose a restaurant feedback tool.
Benefits of technology
There are two main categories of feedback technology: collection and analysis. You want something that allows you to get more feedback as well as to understand exactly what’s being said.
Most restaurant feedback platforms will provide a combination of tools to collect and analyze data. Some will even allow you to customize the data you’re receiving. Each option you have offers different sources and options, so it’s important to understand the kind of feedback you want, and the veracity of the sources they use.
Customer feedback is an integral part of your bottom line and ability to build your restaurant. Choosing the right platform for the job is of vital importance to make sure you’re getting accurate, trustworthy data.
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Learn about verified reviews and how they can help you improve your business.
Rewards Network® does not provide tax, legal, or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for tax, legal, or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal, and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.