A Failsafe Guide To Preventing Customer Complaints

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Every business owner will be aware of the old adage, ‘the customer is always right.’ In a day and age when competition is par for the course across all industries, and client reviews play an increasingly integral role, customer service has never been more important. If you’re keen to preserve a 5-star rating, here’s a failsafe guide to keeping customer complaints at bay.

Customer engagement and communication

We all have experience of trying to contact a business as a consumer. The one thing that customers don’t want is to feel like they’re wasting time. Many of us live hectic lives, and people don’t have the time or the patience to hang around, waiting for you to get back to them. There’s nothing more frustrating than listening to the same jingle over and over again when a phone line is busy, or waiting for an email response to arrive to a query you submitted hours ago. As a company director, it pays to ensure you keep channels of communication open at all times and that it’s simple and stress-free to get in touch. If you don’t want to man phones 24-hours-a-day, investigate options like an answering service company or use online features like live chat and social media messaging. If you keep existing or potential customers waiting, or you don’t get back to them at all, there’s every chance that they will choose a competitor. 

Delivering on promises

Failing to deliver on a promise is the most common reason for customer complaints. If you offer a service, a buyer expects to pay their money and receive that product or service in line with the terms you laid out. If you run a store, for example, and you’ve promised next-day delivery, make sure you can dispatch and deliver that item on time. There may be times when delays occur, and the situation is beyond your control. In this case, contact your customer as soon as you become aware of any problems, offer an explanation, and provide a resolution. In this scenario, you could refund the delivery charge, arrange for the product to arrive the day after, and give the buyer a discount on the next purchase. If you fail to impress your customers with the service you offer, you run the risk of attracting negative attention, and this will put prospective clients off. Make sure you can fulfill every promise you make. 

Don’t forget about your loyal customers

One of the most pressing concerns for existing customers is that they get forgotten about. Competition is a driving force in business, and this often means that companies go all-out to sign up new clients and entice customers who haven’t decided which business to choose yet. It’s actually a lot easier to sell to existing clients, and if you continue to impress, word of mouth and positive reviews can also provide you with more customers. Reward loyalty and always ensure that your customers feel valued. 

It’s virtually impossible to please 100% of customers 100% of the time, but this should always be your aim. Social media and online reviews are so influential today, and this means that even one bad comment can dent your reputation. Take these handy tips on board to prevent customer complaints and retain an excellent rating.

Top Tips On Building A Reputable Eating Establishment

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Over the years the standards that eating establishments such as restaurants and diners must have has risen dramatically, and not just the quality of food either. Starting an establishment that’s going to serve food isn’t as simple as hiring a few chefs and providing them with a kitchen either: you need a lot more up your sleeves to open a successful eatery. So, to ensure that you get off to the best start and maintain this, we’ve come up with the top tips on building a reputable eating establishment.

Work on your dining area

Whether you like it or not, first impressions make a whole lot of difference. If potential customers walk into your restaurant and aren’t impressed by your decor or layout, it’s likely that they will turn around and find somewhere else to eat. So, it’s important to ensure that your decor is bang on, especially your dining area. Here are some tips on creating the perfect eating atmosphere:

  • Lighting is extremely important when it comes to eating. Think about when you’re sitting down for a meal at home – you don’t eat in the dark do you? It’s important to ensure that there is sufficient lighting in your restaurant so that your customers can see what they are eating without straining their eyes. However, lighting that is too bright can bring on headaches and strain your customers eyes too.

  • Creating an eating area that goes with the theme of the rest of your establishment can be difficult, but it’s a good idea to keep the flow going throughout so that it makes sense to your customers. However, some items of decor simply don’t belong in a restaurant such as decorations that hang down from the ceiling. Keep your table areas clear of clutter and clean and you’ll be onto a winner.

  • Make sure that you’ve got a clear greeting area for your customers to book themselves in. Having a cluttered area will make your business look disorganized and it can come across as unclean.

  • Choose your furniture wisely. Much alike decor in a restaurant, having the wrong kind of furniture to sit on and eat your food on will leave a lasting impression – and not a good one either. RC supplies online have perfect examples of furniture for all different kinds of eating establishments, so take a look to give yourself some inspiration.

  • Decor and furniture isn’t always the only thing that can put customers off. Have your staff members in matching and neat uniform will create a sense of professionalism and also help determine who is a member of staff and who isn’t. You should also encourage friendly and upbeat attitudes with your staff members, as the opposite will give your business a bad name.

Demand qualifications

Speaking of staff members, filling a kitchen full of chefs isn’t as easy as you may think. Anybody can walk into an interview and claim they’ve got experience in a kitchen, but for the sake of your business, you should demand qualifications in the field to ensure you’re hiring experienced chefs. Not only that, your chefs will also make your life easier by already knowing the routine and expectations that a kitchen demands. Jobs such as cleaning, food hygiene, and even presentation of food won’t be something you have to worry about as much.

Fine dining or casual

One thing that you need to decide before opening a restaurant, is what kind of eating establishment you want to run – casual or fine dining. It’s important to know the difference between the two so that you can make a decision based on the type of eatery you want:

Fine dining requires better than the best service. You can expect many food critics to want to check your food out, and this will involve punishing tests throughout their visit such as cutlery being placed on the floor to see if your servers notice. This kind of restaurant will also require a higher standard of food in the sense of both presentation and quality of food. In fine dining, there is also practically no limit on food times, as long as it comes out the quality your customer is expecting. Fine dining restaurants often receive michelin stars from critics because of the standards that are upheld. You can expect to charge more for this kind of service though, so it’s definitely something to consider.

Casual food is much more relaxed. While you will still need to ensure that your food is cooked to standards and that your chefs are following correct rules in a kitchen, you won’t have to worry as much about presentation with your food. This is because you’ll be expected to have fairly priced food that’s on your customers tables faster than if you were running a fine dining restaurant. You will still have to impress critics, but not to the standard of fine dining.

Use HOTS service

No matter what kind of eatery you’re planning on running, good service is always a priority. In the catering industry, maintaining a reputable service can be difficult, especially if you’ve got a particularly difficult customer. A great routine to follow when it comes to service is the HOTS service:

H – Hello
O – Offer
T – Thank
S – Smile

A simple premise that won’t let you down in regards to providing service to be proud of.

Build excitement

One thing is for sure, you can’t expect people to pile into your restaurant if they don’t know you even exist. Sure, you’ll have some customers from passersby, but you need to make sure that you build excitement to keep people coming in and also coming back for more. In this day and age, the best way of building excitement is through social media. With approximately 215 minutes per week, per person being spent on social media, it’s no wonder that it’s the most efficient and easiest way of getting your message across. Excite people by posting regular updates, pictures of your food, awards or achievements that your restaurant or staff have received and most importantly, free food. Offering a free meal in the form of a competition will excite and entice people.

Act on feedback

Feedback from your customers is another extremely important factor to take note of. While you might feel like your service is up to standard, and that your food is second to none, you need to look at the overall reviews of your restaurant. If the majority of customers aren’t impressed with what you’re serving, it’s time to make a chance. After all, the customer is always right.

It’s always handy to keep a review box where your customers can write an anonymously leave reviews for your restaurant. You should also welcome reviews on your social media pages so that you can take note of them. Not only that, if someone leaves a bad review of your restaurant, you’ll be able to rectify it much easier.

Clue up on food laws

Lastly, but certainly not the least, it’s imperative to clue up on your food laws. Depending on where you live, there might be different laws that need to be abided by. Make sure that yourself, your front of house staff, and your kitchen staff are well versed so that you can practice top standards of food hygiene and not risk having your kitchen shut down.

7 Ways Digital Can Save Your Restaurant

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The digital revolution has transformed the way businesses approach their operation and customer-facing tasks. There’s no way you would encounter a successful business that doesn’t have an online presence. Even though the saying claims that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, it’s fair to say that customers from everywhere judge the quality of a company’s products or services after taking one look at its website. It takes users as less as 50 milliseconds to form an opinion of a company based on its website. Needless to say, businesses that didn’t invest in their digital presence can suffer a terrible blow.

But digital presence encompasses much more than just a website. It’s a variety of triggers, tasks, and applications that support a company’s profile and activities. And when it comes to heavy customer-facing sectors, such as restaurants, you can’t make it work without digital support. Indeed, as a strongly offline-based service – ultimately, it’s an environment that forces customers to get out of their homes and come to the site –, restaurants have to rely on digital technologies to bring their business to the next level. Here’s the little manifesto of restaurants 2.0, an upgraded guide to typical restaurant management.

#1. Get the right admin and management tools

The romantic view of passionate chefs who understand their foods and make it in a harsh environment is outdated. A restaurant is a complex business that needs to balance multiple operations at the same time. From keeping tracks of your stocks to counting revenues at the end of a busy day, it’s fair to say that the idyllic representation of a bookkeeper using pen and paper is not accurate. There’s a reason why successful owners using dedicated restaurant accounting software solution: They’re tailored to the specific requirements of the hospitality sector, helping chefs to make better-informed decisions. Additionally, for large teams, a time management solution can ensure that days off and holidays are carefully monitored so that the restaurant never lack staff on busy days. Ultimately, digital technologies provide restaurant owners with the overview that pen and paper approaches can’t deliver.

#2. Get your website right

How do customers pick where they’re going to eat? Then it’s not word of mouth, they review and compare websites to find a restaurant they can trust. Consequently, a website that fails to inform about your main dishes or that doesn’t showcase your culinary mission fail to attract new customers. The first thing that customers are going to check is how often your content is updated. If the last update mentioning a new menu was posted several years ago, people might feel that your restaurant isn’t trying hard enough. While it can be difficult to produce fresh content for a restaurant site, you can use blog articles to mention seasonal ingredients and promote your specials. Additionally, a common issue for many small restaurants is to rely on a DIY website. A pre-made template is applied, and the site is parked onto an inexpensive server. A low-cost server that fails to provide security and storage and quick loading times can damage the reputation of your business.

#3. Make it easy to book a table

The Millennial generation – which is the most important population in the workforce – dislike using the phone. While it’s ironic when one considers how much time young adults spend on their smartphone, it’s easy to understand that people only make a phone call when they can’t sort out their issue otherwise online. Consequently, restaurants that have implemented a handy online booking system tend to experience a higher number of bookings than restaurants that rely on calling only. Ultimately, if you force customers to call to book, they might just look for the next best option online.

#4. Make your menu easy to use

Food allergies are becoming more and more frequent. It can be difficult for experts to explain the reason behind the prevalence of food allergies and intolerance issues, but the increase in cases has not gone unnoticed. As a result, restaurants are required to publish their ingredients in order to reduce the risk of allergic reactions. For someone who needs to pay attention to the food they order, an online menu that offers a filter option to exclude specific ingredients can be a helpful addition to the website. Ultimately, customers want to be presented with a list of choices that are suitable to their lifestyle and health requirements.

#5. Make your food sociable

#BestFoodEver. #DinnerWithBoo. #SuperbFood. Whichever hashtag your customers use, they live in a digital world of shared experience. Millennials turn to Instagram to decide where to go and go. Consequently, a restaurant that has a rich Instagram profile and lets people share their photos is more likely to attract a digitally-savvy generation. Indeed, your patrons don’t just go out for a meal. They go out for a snap, a meal, and a hashtag. While there might be concerns about the selfie generation and their love of sharing pictures, it’s important to notice that these customers actually increase the visibility of your restaurant online. So, why not leave a comment on the menu to mention your favorite hashtags?

#6. Let people enjoy the experience

A natural continuation of your social media presence is to make sure that you don’t ban customers from using their phones. Indeed, while more and more restaurants are considering banning photos to protect the experience. However, while photos can become overwhelming, your more likely to benefit from the leveraged promotion of your customers’ social media presence. Snapping a picture is now part of the dining out experience.

#7. Interact with reviewers

Despite your best efforts, the experience might not be positive for all. But when a reviewer leaves negative feedback, the best approach is to use the online platform to engage with them and deal with the issue in public. Indeed, a negative review is not the end of the world. But a negative review left unanswered is the end of your business!

In an era of digital technologies, restaurants need to adopt modern interactions to help their customers enjoy the experience. From opening your business to the use of social media to offering menu filters for food allergies, staying digital means staying in business.

4 Things To Look For In A Building Contractor

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Surging forward with a business commercial building contract is possibly one of the most stressful projects you could do as a company. Commercial construction can be a daunting project to start and see through to completion, but you can manage it effectively with the right commercial contractor hire. Surrounding yourself in the experts in the field is the only way that you are going to see a job through to completion. The thing is, thinking about the long-term isn’t going to help you to get to the end of the job in one piece, but hiring the right contractor and the right tools is.

Hiring a contractor who can be honest about the size of the job and the cost isn’t going to be the easiest search for you. There are plenty out there who can work with you on your project, detailing what equipment they need for you to supply to help to get the job completed on time, but it’s separating the good from those who could potentially take advantage. If you’re going to be laying down money on vehicles from Service Trucks International and putting money on an hourly rate for your contractor and their team, you want to know you’re getting it right. Below, you’ll find four things to look for in your building contractor.

Credibility. You wouldn’t go and see a doctor without checking out their reviews, so it’s not a good idea to hire a contractor without looking for their professional affiliations, past work and references. Getting references and reviews sought out before you bring someone onto your team is the only way that you can ensure that you can feel confident you got the right person.

Work Examples. A portfolio of previous jobs that you can view before hiring is a smart way to handle your business. Ask to see those work examples and photos and don’t be shy about asking. Piling the cash into the contractor is going to drain your business – you want to get this right.

Pen To Paper. A contractor that is reluctant to put things in writing for you, whether it be the quotes they give you or the payment terms, is a contractor that you want to stay away from. You need total transparency in your hire, and getting everything in writing is the way that you can ensure total clarity. You may not know much about contractor contracts, so get yourself online and looking at examples.

Licenses. This particular step is one of the best ways to judge the credibility of your contractor. It isn’t foolproof as a way to ensure that they’re any good, but it’s a good idea to check if your contractor is licensed and legal in the state that they are practicing in.

Finding a contractor to help you with your commercial project is imperative to getting the job done. And it’s important that you get your choice right, or your whole business can be dragged down. Choose wisely.