In UAE, you will find numerous kinds of customers; from tourists to localities. A Khaleej Times’ online poll affirmed that thirty-five percent of respondents dine out at least two to three times a week which gives the restaurant owners an opportunity to serve different types of customers. However, catering to a multi-ethnic and diverse customer base can get difficult, to say the least. You need to have proper restaurant customer management skills to establish a loyal customer base.
The restaurant business is a people business and it requires you to keep every customer satisfied. Restaurant customer management is critical since it doesn’t take much for dissatisfied customers to post negative reviews online which can seriously damage your business.
This comprehensive restaurant customer management guide will help you deal with all sorts of customers and prepare you to face the “known” and the “unknown.”
Types Of Difficult Restaurant Customers And How To Deal With Them
UAE’s restaurant industry is tough. The restaurant owners not only have to deal with their competitors but also have to encounter difficult customers.
Here are the most common types of difficult customers that you might come across at your restaurant.
- The aggressive one: These customers are the most difficult to deal with, they hardly seem to listen to what you have to say. The best way to deal with an aggressive customer is by hearing them out. Show genuine sympathy towards their grievances and offer the best solution.
- Unhappy but wouldn’t talk: These are the kind of customers you need to be aware of. They do not show their dissatisfaction but might end up posting about it online. To tackle a situation like this you need to ensure you ask your customers about their experience. Even the tiniest hint of unhappiness shouldn’t go unnoticed.
- Who wants to leave without paying the bill: They will attempt to return a dish and would try to have a meal for free. You need to be very cautious when dealing with such customers, do not offer them a free meal if they do not have a genuine reason. Try and offer a sorry drink or a discount coupon.
- Discount seekers: You can deal with such customers by offering them a discount coupon for the next time they dine with you. This will encourage them to return to your restaurant and spend some amount to seek a discount.
- The family in a rush: Nothing aggravates a parent more than a hungry child and slow service. To tackle a situation like this come up with a “quick menu” which comprises of all the dishes that can be instantly prepared. You can also serve a complimentary kid-friendly snack to the family.
Effective Restaurant Customer Management Tips For Dealing With Difficult Customers
The customers are the backbone of any restaurant business without whom any business would fail. In UAE, there are numerous restaurants opening now and then which makes it imperative for the restaurant owners to maintain a healthy relationship with their guests to survive the competition.
Throughout your restaurant’s lifetime, you will deal with a diverse crowd of customers seeking more than just food and discounts perhaps!
These restaurant customer management tips will help you manage your restaurant guests more efficiently and create goodwill among them.
1. Acknowledge The Customer Grievances
If you run a restaurant business you know how difficult the customers can be. On occasions like these, the restaurant owner or the manager needs to come in the picture and listen to what the guests have to say.
Acknowledging your customers’ complaint is the first step in restaurant customer management, and also goes a long way in turning a furious customer into a satisfied one.
Apologize for the diner’s dissatisfaction in a sincere tone and try to resolve the problem. A complaining customer wants to be heard, listen carefully to the customer, and don’t rush to offer a solution without hearing the issue and investigating the problem. Identifying the quandary will prevent the chances of it happening again.
Consumers in UAE, have the liberty to file a complaint 24/7; therefore you need to ensure you listen to what your customers have to say else it can land you in trouble.
2. Exert Quick Actions
You should try and resolve the matters while the customer is still in the restaurant. This will prevent the customer from posting bad reviews about the restaurant online. A bad review online can lower your sales, as ninety percent people read through the online reviews before visiting any restaurant in UAE.
Also, train your staff to resolve complaints by teaching them the method of handling arguments and making amends.
3. Encourage Customers To Give Feedback
Feedbacks are vital for the smooth functioning of any restaurant; therefore encourage customers to give feedback. Ask your servers, managers, and cashiers to sincerely ask the customer about his/her dining experience.
You can use a feedback app to gather feedbacks easily and quickly. Your customers are more likely to leave feedback on an app rather than filling out a long form.
Feedbacks help you understand what more is required to improve the restaurant service and what your guests want.
By encouraging customers to share their opinions and attitudes, you can get information that helps to resolve problems for those customers who are unhappy but won’t complain.
4. It Is Not Always About The Money
If someone is dining at your restaurant, they are looking forward to having a great time and would normally complain if you fail to deliver the same. Don’t automatically offer a free meal or restitution. Instead, ask what the issue is. Your customers would appreciate you listening to their problems and then resolving it, instead of just offering a customary discount.
Provide what the customer asks, if reasonable, and exceed their expectation by offering more than requested. You need to understand that the customers expect more from your restaurant business and complain when they are dissatisfied with your services. View complaints as an opportunity to grow. If customers aren’t complaining, then there is no way of correcting the problems that your diners might be facing.
Restaurant customer management is all about understanding the needs of your customers and then catering to them. A restaurant that treats complaints with sympathy has an excellent chance of earning a reputation for great customer service.