Conclusion: Using Social Media as a Customer Service Tool

Now that the restaurant has opened up their necessary social media platforms, it’s time to implement the customer service.

Restaurant management should not only be responding to the concerns or the recommendations of the customers via social media but also implementing the actions within the restaurant and bar. It shouldn’t be thought of by just answering the concern or thanking customers over the social platform is enough. Actually implementing and improving upon the information found on the social platform is the final tool to using social media effectively.

Let’s say a customer had an issue with a server’s work performance; they were too slow or unattentive to the needs of the customer. Once recognized and acknowledged by the restaurant manager on the social platform, implement and discuss how to improve the server’s performance. They may be unaware of their habits or they may need to be reminded of the restuarant/bar’s expectations.

The restaurant manager needs to pull the server team (or team that had the issue) and discuss all the necessary precautions and standards that the restaurant expects its employees to abide by. They shouldn’t single anyone out. Instead coach the team and show how it can be improved with multiple solutions.

If something has been recognized as good on social media, the restaurant manager should let the entire staff know they are doing a good job. Employees are the bread and butter.

What do you think about social media and restaurants? Do they actually listen? Leave your comment.

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Pt 2: Using Social Media as a Customer Service Tool

I discussed the importance of using social media as a valuable tool to customer service experiences. It’s easy to say that it is valuable to use. Now comes how to use it.

The first step is to realize that social media has become an everyday part of life. Customers WILL be talking about their experiences, good or bad, regardless if a restaurant thinks that it isn’t happening. Webpages such as Yelp, ConsumerSearch, Urbanspoon, etc. are all webpages that review restaurants.

Go onto these websites. Check out what customers are saying about the restaurant. What’s the restaurant’s image? Quality? Atmosphere? These are qualities that consumers value.

Restaurants also need to use a Twitter account, Facebook account, and LinkedIn to have direct nationwide contact with their customers. Instant feedback to a customer’s concern or positive experience adds value to the image of the restaurant. Be professional about how you answer concerns on these webpages. Do not post anything that would jeopardize the image of the restaurant. These social media webpages are followed by millions of people worldwide. Be conscious of that.

How do you think restaurants can better improve their social media use? Leave your thoughts.

Use Social Media as a Customer Service Tool

Social media has become a global phenomena and is a part of everyday life. People are sharing their thoughts, opinions, experiences and many other forms of instant information for the world to read about. Even President Obama is on a social website such as Twitter. For the food and beverage industry, social media can help or hurt the business’ reputation or improve it.

In my opinion, if a food and beverage restaurant has over 200,000 likes on their Facebook and 2,000,000 followers on their Twitter account, that does not show how they are effectively using social media to serve their customers. The overall popularity has little value to the customers. They would rather follow, like, or comment their opinions and experiences: good or bad.

The real value comes from the food and beverage business’ responses to these experiences. Customers want to feel that they are wanted and that their opinion matters to the business. They want to receive a rapid response on how their awful experience can be improved on and it will not go unnoticed. Customers want to receive a response of appreciation of how their loyalty is valuable to the company. All this is extremely valuable to the customer service of a food and beverage experience.

Have you used a social media platform to engage a company based off of an experience with them? Was it good or bad experience?

Part 2: Coaching Your Employees

Now it’s time to actually coach your employees. I previously spoke about being a valuable leader to the employees. Your efforts are reflected onto the employees’ performance and  therefore the customer’s experiences. As social media has grown, so has the reputations of companies whether they are good or bad. Yelp is a fine example of what the customers are thinking about when it comes to the service of the restaurant.

So how do you get those 5 star ratings on websites and throughout your community? First understand that coaching is meant to improve the performance of the staff to better meet the needs of the customers. Coaching is not barking orders but rather influencing performance through motivation, by example and any other way that best fits the situation.

Next, don’t focus on the awful things that the employee does. They are sometimes sensitive and can block out the rest of whatever you are trying to say. Try and focus on what they are good at and improve their moral through compliments (make sure they’re work appropriate). Everyone likes to be complimented on; it’s a sense of self-accomplishment. Continuing, whatever the employee lacks, take them aside and ask them how do they think they can improve it. This gives them the opportunity to assist in their own improvements. If they don’t know, explain what can be improved on and how to accomplish the task.

When have you had a coach help you improve? How it went.

Coach Your Employees Like Harbaugh

“Coaching is nothing more than eliminating mistakes before you get fired.” Lou Holtz
This picture is of NFL Coach of the Year Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49ers. He is an inspiring motivator of his employees. This includes his team, staff and the San Francisco 49er fan base. His motivational characteristics inspires those around him to be their best. This is the same in a restaurant management position.
Coaching the employees reflects the success of your team and of the customer’s experience. There is a fine line between managing and coaching an employee to be successful in the food and beverage industry. It’s whether you can coach them to be successful or to manage them.
Managing employees can sometimes be seen as following corporate protocol and installing the expectations onto the employees. The concept of coaching an employee is being a valuable leader to them. Coaching the employees is being a motivator and a leader when times are rough (like the current economic state we are in). It’s not easy but it adds value to the employee’s motivation and overall performance of their work effort. Customers will absolutely notice a difference in the service the receive.
In my following post, I’ll explain how to coach your employees. Have a you had a coach of any kind be an inspiration for you? Share your thoughts.

Robotic Menus Are Not Valuable

Employees  are the bread and butter for customer service. They are your front line, face of the company interaction with the customers. Training is important. So what about training customers?

Customers can be treated as a robotic system. The constant flow of customers can deprive them of proper service. How should they know if they are getting valuable service? There are a few ways. First, change-up the food and beverage offerings. Having the same menu and beverage choices draws lack luster customer service. Repetition on the restaurant’s behalf results in poor quality and operations. By adding a few details it shows the restaurant cares about the well-being of the customer’s experiences.

Customer surveys can be conducted on what is lacking from the restaurant. What do they want to see more of? Less of? This is a process to keep thing fresh for the customer’s experience. It trains them to expect a fresh menu and fresh services.

What would you  like your favorite restaurant to add to their menu? Leave your thoughts.

A Restaurant’s Bread & Butter

Your staff is the ‘bread and butter’ of your restaurant or bar establishment. They are the face of the business. Their interactions and customer service for patrons is valuable to the success of the business.

Hiring for talent should be a priority. Having outgoing professional employees will help build relationships with the customers and your business. Even hiring energetic and optimistic front personnel such as a host/hostess makes an impact on customer’s experiences.

How can you hire the best talent? Besides a basic application, the one-on-one interview is important. You can tell how they are by their body language, eye contact, tone, and their attire if they are professional and energetic. Hone in on those aspects and you’ll be on your way to hiring some solid talent.

How have you shown personal value in an interview? Leave a comment.