Feedback is an essential process for every business in any sector. While it may be uncomfortable to receive sometimes, getting feedback from your customers is crucial to help you learn what they like and dislike, and what is going to tempt them and others back through your doors.
Without an automated system in place, gathering feedback can be tricky. Taking verbal feedback while serving your customers is great, but it is the process of documenting and analysing this feedback that is going to give your restaurant the real, tangible insights that can lead to improved services and sales.
Implementing a simple customer feedback survey into your restaurants' customer experience strategy is the best way to capture feedback in a structured form, which can then be reviewed and analysed at a later date.
There are a few ways to implement such a system, including, but not limited to:
- Set up an email list by collecting business cards or asking customers to sign up for a loyalty program when they visit. Once their details are on the list, you can send them the survey.
- Present the survey along with the bill so that customers can fill it in at the end of their meal.
- Integrate a feedback survey within your digital menu. This allows you to collect feedback in context and in real time.
How to Get the Most Useful Feedback
Perhaps you've heard of a Net Promoter Score (NPS)? The NPS has become a universally recognised score that helps to indicate how satisfied customers are with a business. Today this is used across most industries, and the NPS survey is considered the most effective method for gathering the feedback that can help you to improve and keep in touch with the feelings of your customers.
The NPS measures your customers' experience and predicts business growth based on your metrics.
The benefit of using the NPS survey is two-fold:
- It has been proven that across industries and over a long period, it is the most effective system for capturing useful customer feedback.
- A Net Promoter Score is a recognised metric. Meaning that when you reach a positive score, you can brag about it and your customers and competitors will know what it is.
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Designing Your NPS Survey
The NPS survey is a simple, two-part questionnaire. In the first part, your customers are asked to rate the restaurant on a scale of 0 to 10. Once they give this score, the second part is an open-ended question about why that score was given.
While we recommend following this two-step formula, some adjustments can be made to the questions to give you the most valuable insights.
The standard first NPS question is this: "On a scale of zero to ten, how likely are you to recommend our business to a friend or colleague?". This question is effective, but it's also generic. Here are some ideas for restaurant customisation:
- Make it specific to a promotion you're running or something you know the customer came for.
- For example, change "our business" to "lunch at XXX", "cocktails at XXX", or "XYZ party at XXX".
- Dig deeper into the food. If you are using an online menu, you can ask for feedback from the menu about specific items.
- For example, change "our business" to "the truffle gnocchi" or whichever menu item the customer has selected.
The standard open-ended follow up question is this: "What is the primary reason for your score?". For efficacy, it's essential to keep the follow-up question open-ended, but it is recommended to customise a little so that you can glean some extra information from your customers. Here are some alternative open-ended examples:
- What was missing or disappointing in your experience with us?
- How can we improve your experience?
- If this was your restaurant, what would you do differently?
- What do you like most/least about (restaurant, promotion or meal name)?
- What is one thing we could do to make you happier?
Don't be afraid to ask what you're doing wrong in the follow-up question. This is the feedback that is going to give you the most practical advice to help you improve.
While we recommend every restaurant introduces the NPS survey, there is no harm in asking customers for even more insight. But this should be done separately.
One strategy to try and squeeze a little more out of your customers is to offer a promotion for anyone that completes a second, more detailed survey. This could be offered via a button on the Thank You page once the NPS survey has been completed. That way, customers who are done with answering your questions are not pressured to do more, and those that want a free coffee -- or whatever is on offer -- can happily click through to the next round.
If you introduce this second round of questions, it is recommended that you apply a similar structure to the NPS survey and ask for a score out of 0-10. For example, how would you score the overall experience? How would you score the food? How would you score your waiter? How would you score the ambience? How would you score the music? How would you score the location? Etc, etc.
Customer feedback surveys allow restaurants to capture incredibly valuable insight that can be key in keeping the restaurant fully booked. Implementing a systematic approach to capturing and then using this feedback is a simple way to arm your restaurant with the information it needs to stay relevant and ahead.