Did you know research shows companies that implement super customer experience are 60 percent more profitable?
One of the keys to implementing outstanding customer experience lies in knowing what your customers need.
To do this you may need to shift the way you think about customer needs. Evaluating customers’ needs isn’t always as simple for a business owner as it might sound, especially in the restaurant industry.
However, if you are a restaurant owner that wants to get into the heads and hearts of your customers—we have some good news. By implementing the following hacks for the way you think about your restaurant customers’ needs, you can easily start excelling in the customer experience department, and as a result, start boosting that bottom line.
Amp up the Empathy
One of the pillars of meeting customer needs is empathy. To successfully supply a need, you need to be able to connect with your target customer and understand their pain points.
To do this effectively, restaurant owners, marketers, and decision-makers need to have genuine empathy for their clientele and target market. If you authentically care about a customer’s problems, this will show itself in the way you show up to solve them.
Here’s an example of how empathy can drive sales.
Both restaurant A and restaurant B are suffering significant losses due to COVID-19 business impacts. Both were closed for a period, and both are trying to get back on their feet.
Restaurant A decides to raise its prices to cover losses and ask its regular patrons for donations via their weekly newsletter.
Restaurant B, on the other hand, has a different strategy. Instead of focusing solely on their revenue, they ask themselves “how can we meet our customers’ needs, even during this time when people are not going out to eat?”
It turns out that even those clientele do not want to come into the restaurant still want to be able to order food. In response, Restaurant B decides to pivot and implement a drive-through service at the side of their building.
Can you guess which restaurant’s sales went up?
Of course, not all restaurants can facilitate a drive-through experience. However, this example illustrates how vital it is to zero in on customer needs, rather than focusing only on the business’s needs.
Engage With Customers and Remove Question Biases
One of the most effective strategies for identifying customer needs is to engage with clientele and ask them questions.
You can do this in person, or you can supply customers with questionnaires. You can also leverage rating apps to identify potential customer needs, as well as online reviews. Encouraging customers to leave their feedback online is a great way of ferreting out areas to improve, and it’s also an effective form of marketing (providing your reviews are mostly positive).
When engaging with clientele through personal interactions or questionnaires, it is important that you remove any question bias. Here are two examples of a leading question:
- “How fantastic was the food today?”
- “What areas of our service aren’t up to scratch?”
Both of these questions encourage a customer in a certain direction. The first takes for granted that the food was some level of fantastic, and the second that there are parts of the service that aren’t satisfactory.
To gain unbiased feedback, try to avoid these types of leading questions and instead focus on asking open-ended questions that encourage customers to discuss their experience.
Implement Ongoing Feedback Loops
One of the mental hacks to implement when looking to uncover new types of customer needs is that it’s a neverending project.
One of the reasons for this is that over time, customer needs can change. What’s more, customers themselves may change. As areas evolve, so do their demographics.
To make sure that you are constantly tuning into your customers’ needs, you have to be constantly gaining feedback. To ensure that you and your employees are always focused on feedback, you should implement ongoing customer feedback loops.
This means that instead of sending out an email survey once, you do it with each new subscriber to your restaurant’s newsletter. Instead of customers encouraged once to review your restaurant online, you have call-to-action for this on every bill.
You get the picture!
Don’t Forget to Tap Into Employee Insights
While online and in-restaurant surveys can be invaluable sources of information, so can employees.
Your restaurant’s employees are the ones on the ground and in the trenches. They see happy customers and not-so-happy customers. They probably also see the things that irritate clientele.
For instance, if you have a slow POS system, chances are your waiters have watched while diners get impatient or uncomfortable. But are you aware that the point-of-sale solution you’re using is kind of slow? Very possibly not!
To tap into the insights of employees, ensure that you make employee feedback sessions a regular thing. Encourage staff to come forward with potential customer needs they have identified. Ask them how any current efforts to customer needs are going.
Take Advantage of Social Distancing Needs
As a final wrap up of our list of mindset hacks, we also want to address the virus in the room.
Restaurants have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic, and many restaurant owners are wondering how to beat COVID-related challenges. It can be hard as a restaurant owner to shift one’s thinking from a need-based-approach (as in we need our customer back now!) to a serving-needs-approach.
One of the ways to do this is to figure out—like Restaurant B—how to meet your customer’s needs during this unusual time.
Your customers haven’t gone anywhere. They couldn’t, it was quarantine! They still want to eat good food. How can you make this possible for them?
One way to do this is to position yourself as a safe restaurant. And you don’t have to build a drive-through to do this. Instead, you can implement smart social distancing measures and things like anti-viral UV lighting, and heightened anti-contagion measures around food preparation and serving.
Many people are too scared to go out and eat in the current situation. By honing in on safe dining, you can serve a massive unmet need, and with that, hack the way you think about customer needs in general.
Starting Hacking Customer Needs Today
Are you excited to start hacking your customers’ needs? You should be. According to research, businesses that provide a superior customer experience are 5.7 times more profitable than those which don’t.
If you want to get started right away on meeting customer needs, we can help. Remember that part about slow payment processing and irate restaurant clientele? Well, if you think this is happening at your restaurant, don’t go anywhere.
Instead, do yourself and your customers a favour, take a look at our POS solutions and get ready for instantly shorter queues and happier customers.