Recent research from Barclays on the feedback economy revealed the UK hospitality and leisure industry could boost the UK economy by £3.2bn over the course of the next decade by improving how customer feedback is used. Danny Potter, CEO of Ordamo, offers his top tips for operators looking to embrace the power of customer feedback.
As consumer appetite for eating and drinking out of home continues to burgeon, so will the feedback economy. It is therefore paramount that operators arm themselves with the tools not only to respond to feedback, but also to harness it for their gain.
1. Review your reviews
Recent insight from CGA Peach found that only three in five operators monitor review sites, yet they continue to be adopted as the leading research tool by consumers in search of dining out options. So the message to operators here has to be ‘ignore them at your peril.’
2. Use the right feedback technology
The ability to call upon customer feedback that is bespoke to an operator’s requirements has to be high on the agenda for every hospitality brand. With the use of technology, operators can strategically design the feedback process to mirror their exact requirements.
3. Support your servers
Employees are at the core of every successful hospitality operation. However, they need the tools, training and constructive feedback in order to do their job well. Many operators are currently missing a valuable weapon in the war to deliver a ‘best in class’ experience for customers. This weapon is technology, which can be used to create visibility around staff upselling, speed of service and efficiency as well as who is the highest rated by customers to deliver that all important experience.
4. Respond with speed
Responding to customer feedback quickly is as important as serving orders promptly. Operators need to strike while the iron is hot, so as not to diminish the experience they worked so hard to achieve.
5. Embracing the feedback economy
As we enter an age of customer experience dashboards, consumer expectations will increase considerably. This means that operators need to dramatically improve their ability to monitor and respond to online feedback.
6. Embrace data
Competition in the hospitality arena is rife. To contend with this, it is crucial that operators embrace the power of data. Today, with the use of smart technology, it is possible for operators to gain real-time insight into a customer’s behavior, likes and dislikes. It is possible to find out a customer’s favourite dish, even going so far as to document the dishes they looked at but decided not to order. While operators may not choose this level of surveillance, at the very least they should be adopting technology to gather customer feedback and sentiment after dining.
7. Socialise with your customers
The power of Social Media cannot be ignored in today’s digital age.
A recent conference within the industry looked at ‘How Diners make Decisions’. The insight, in conjunction with insights, strategy and creative consultancy, MORAR, revealed that over 20% of customers shared their experience on social media following their visit to a branded restaurant outlet. It is therefore crucial for operators to identify and monitor these channels in order to protect and, indeed, uphold the reputation of their brand.
Whether consumers leave a good or damning review, operators are advised to respond as quickly as possible, for this is what is widely expected.
8. Facilitate feedback
Our data suggests that up to 15% of customers will provide immediate feedback if prompted in the right way in a restaurant. This could be filling out a marketing form, leaving a business card for a promotion, or through an app. Feedback is a valuable commodity to operators, irrespective of whether it is negative or positive as it provides a platform to better understand the customer. It is vital that operators make the opportunity easy and accessible to customers.
9. Give individual dishes a platform
Real-time customer feedback enables operators to trial new dishes with customers. In the case of a multi-site operator, it enables them to test the water with customers before rolling out across their estate. Operators need to be mindful that the most ordered dish may not necessarily translate to a customer’s favourite dish. A dish that is ordered a lot but that the customers do not like is not one to roll out! However, through the use of technology, customers can provide feedback on individual dishes, thereby providing operators with valuable insight at the menu-planning stage.
10. Actions speak louder than words
All the feedback in the world means nothing unless it is used; in the short term, to fix immediate customer sore points, in the medium term to update training methods, and in the long term, to develop a more informed Customer Engagement Strategy. Create a culture in your business of listening to and acting upon your customers’ feedback on a regular basis.
Ordamo was founded in June 2015. The company’s tablet and app-based menu-ordering platform drives upselling opportunities, while increasing sales for operators. Customers are guided through a simple menu layout that recommends dishes and drinks to complement their meal.
In addition, operators can take advantage of valuable data provided by the platform to gain real-time insight into the performance of the front-of-house team, a customer’s favourite dish and their thoughts on service and ambience.