Food & Beverage

Chefify - Three Essential Interpersonal Skills for Running a Successful Restaurant

Monday, July 16, 2018

The secret to delivering first class customer service is exceptional customer service skills. But what skills are the most important, and how do you go about developing them?

  1. Verbal communication
    Verbal communication refers to more than just the words you use when talking to employees and customers. It also involves the tone and manner you adopt when speaking to people.
    Why is it important?
    What you say and how you say it is vital for ensuring you are able to effectively communicate instructions to your employees, as well as interact with customers in a positive way. When dealing with a customer who has a complaint, for example, how you communicate with that customer is going to make a big difference to whether or not the issue is successfully resolved.
    How to develop it
    Think about the words you use when speaking to people. Are they likely to offend someone or lead to them getting defensive? Also make sure you’re listening, pay attention and be clear that you’re interested in what they’re saying - don’t just wait until it’s your turn to start speaking again. If you know of a potentially tricky conversation that’s coming up, perhaps with an employee, plan what you’re going to say in advance and practice if necessary.
  2. Non-verbal communication
    It’s one thing saying the right things, it’s another making sure your body language and facial expressions reflect your words. Non-verbal communication counts for up to 60% of human communication and the non-verbal majority is often the trickiest to master for many of us.
    Why it’s important
    If what you say is positive and understanding, but your non-verbal communication suggests the opposite, it is the non-verbal communication that customers and employees will pick up on more than the words themselves.
    How to develop it
    First, identify which areas of non-verbal communication you are lacking in: eye contact, facial expressions, personal space or posture. Ask co-workers, friends and family if they feel you’d benefit from improving in any of these areas and then get to work. It might help to practice conversations in front of the mirror to spot whether you’re frowning or slouching (which shows disinterest), for example. Take a look at this link for more non-verbal communication tips.
  3. Listening skills
    Why it’s important
    It’s impossible to effectively communicate with someone if you don’t pay attention to their point of view. This is particularly true when dealing with customer complaints. After all, how can you resolve the issue to the customer’s satisfaction if you don’t fully listen to the problem in the first place?
    How to develop it
    First thing’s first, make sure that you directly face and maintain eye contact with whoever you’re talking to; You won’t take in everything the other person is saying if you’re not being attentive. You also need to be aware if and when you’re interrupting, as this is one of the typical communication sins. If you interrupt while someone is talking it indicates to them that you’re not giving their point of view your full attention. Ask a co-worker or friend to volunteer to interrupt you while you’re speaking and you’ll soon be able to empathise.

By taking the time to identify weaknesses in your interpersonal skills and working to improve them, you’re much more likely to develop stronger working relationships with employees or colleagues, as well as find it easier to manage and deal with customer complaints. Strong interpersonal skills are highly valued by employers and the best communicators often find that their skills in this area open doors for them.