Our guests' tips for avoiding complaints

Our guests' tips for avoiding complaints

Our guests' tips for avoiding complaints

They say you can't please all of the people all of the time, but it doesn't stop hospitality operators from trying. While there are ways to handle guest grievances when they arise, the aim should of course be to smooth out issues before they ever have the chance to turn into a grievance. Luckily, our guest research and feedback has several tips for minimising your complaints.

Always check back

A survey from Trustpilot recently discovered that 70% of guests want to avoid a personal confrontation when complaining - meaning they're more likely to go home and tell social media about an unsatisfactory experience than anyone in the restaurant who can resolve it. The comments we receive from our GEMvisits have often highlighted the importance of appropriate checkbacks for encouraging diners to feedback on their experience and giving staff an opportunity to instantly correct any issues. An open ended question like 'how are you finding the meal?' is also more effective than a yes-or-no question like 'is everything ok?'

Training staff to listen to the responses is crucial. It cannot be that the question is simply asked with no care for the answer; checkbacks are not a checkbox to be ticked off.

Build a rapport with guests

Although not expected, when our guests were asked to recall an example of outstanding service, a single point of contact throughout the meal was a reoccurring theme. Having only one team member taking sole responsibility for the guest's experience seems to have made a big impression on a considerable number of respondents, who commented that they "always feel welcome when it is clear who will be responsible for you throughout your dine". Our research also discovered that 69% of diners prefer to communicate with their allocated server, rather than a team leader or manager. Having one main server enables the staff member to build a rapport with the guest and engage with them on a more personal level, ensuring the guest feels comfortable raising issues at the time, rather than later.

Respond positively to any feedback

Earlier this year, our research revealed that "communication style" is the area of service that needs the most improvement - guests want to see that you care about their experience and their feedback. A positive and understanding response when a problem initially arises can be all it takes to diffuse a situation.

Deliver a consistent guest experience

A good training program and clear management guidance will empower your staff to handle guest complaints in a consistent manner and ensure there are clear procedures in place to handle any difficulties. For feedback on the strength of your service, mystery guest programmes can be tailored to suit your specific objectives and ensure that your business delivers a consistent guest experience across the board.

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