- Work out what the customer is complaining about
Before you write straight back in frustration or anger, take a step back and think about the complaint. This will help you decide whether this is constructive feedback that might be useful or someone who just doesn’t like what you do. Service complaints, for example, can be a useful way of monitoring whether your staff are doing their jobs, such as customer requests that have been forgotten or food that is cold before it reaches the table. Complaints about taste or flavour, as well as a lack of menu options (e.g. gluten free), can provide an opportunity to review your offering to make it more appealing. Feedback that indicates a health problem, such as food poisoning, is an important sign that something is wrong and you should act fast to correct the problem. If you’re seeing negative content directed at you via Facebook and Twitter then start by working out what might be worth listening to before you do anything else.
- Don’t wait too long to respond
Since social media became a widely accepted customer service channel, expectations as to response times have shot up. Try to respond to customer complaints via social media with 24 hours at the latest. Leave it any longer and your disgruntled customer could do a lot of damage online.
- Be genuine
If you’re dealing with someone who is really unhappy with an experience they’ve had then the last thing they want is to feel like they’re talking to someone typing from a script. Ask questions, take a genuine interest in the problem and express sympathy. Take responsibility for what has happened rather than making excuses.
- Aim for quick solutions
If you’re responding quickly and offering fast solutions to problems (for example a voucher for a free meal, a simple apology or a remedy to an issue) then there is little scope for complaints to get out of hand. However, if there doesn’t seem to be a quick solution, or you’re dealing with a customer who just won’t quit, try to take the conversation offline. Ask them to direct message you, provide an email address or a phone number so you can speak in person.
- Give yourself a second chance
The very best way to convert a complaining customer into a brand ambassador is to invite them back to your restaurant to eat again. If they’ve been insulting and rude about your food then this may not be easy for you. However, it does give you the chance to remove all the reasons for their complaints. If you pleasantly surprise them they could feel happy enough to start writing positive reviews – and it will help greatly that you tried to correct their bad experience instead of just ignoring it.
- Get over it!
Complaints are unavoidable in a public-facing business. Once you’ve done your best to deal with the issue then just move on.
Food & Beverage
Chefify - 6 Tips For Handling Online Customer Complaints
Wednesday, February 20, 2019