This is a guest post written by Martin Kramer, a fellow hospitality professional. Find out more about Martin and restaurant-academy.com at the end of the post. If you are a restaurant manager or server, I strongly recommend you follow his blogto learn more on how to create the World’s Best dining experience for your customers. You can also follow him on Twitter @R_Academy. For the rest of us, his blog is great insight about dining out from the inside.
In the past, I have written about using the CASE Method to improve your personal delivery of customer service. What can you CASE from Martin’s insight on the six different forms of service?
Recently, I fell over some interesting ideas from the European psychologist, H. G. Haeusel. He explored 6 different forms of service that are appealing to our guests these days. I would like to share them with you, plus some ideas on how you can put them into action in your restaurant. Here we go:
With the “Happy Service” the guests are experiencing a little unexpected surprise, which are triggering happiness and joy within the guest.
- It doesn’t matter in what kind and style of restaurant you work, arrange very small dishes to be served in between. It can be a soup in an espresso cup before the starter or a small sorbet as a refresher before the main course. Always a nice surprise and also serves as an up selling tool, when your guests are coming back next time. Of course, please confirm that with your manager.
- Offering an umbrella service on the way to guests’ the car when it is raining, a shawl in case someone (most likely ladies) feels cold in the restaurant, offer reading glasses are just some examples for added surprises.
- Also, providing attentive and special service to family with kids with little surprises keeps the kids occupied and the parents can enjoy their meal. Makes everyone in the restaurant happy!
“Easy Service” makes life for the guest easier. Things to do and decisions are been taken away from your guests, which might have been difficult or would have caused worries or even troubles:
- Helping guests with the menu is always a nice touch. Often, they don’t really know about certain dishes, but are afraid to ask. Just explain a bit about the ‘tricky’ and uncommon dishes you have on your menu.
- Hanging coats, pulling chairs out, escort to (or at least half way) the bathrooms might be common, but hardly carried out. Help your guests!
- Also, if guests need to leave the restaurant during their meal for whatever reason, ask if you could keep the food warm in the kitchen. Guests usually appreciate that.
“Care Service”, it is important to recognize the guest and to handle the concern or request between human beings friendly and personalized way.
- Notice your guests and stay focus when you talk to them.
- Listen to your guests! This sound easy, but it is actually a skill that needs to be learned and practiced. Start today!
- In case someone has a problem, show true empathy and that their concern, issue or problem is important to you.
- If you can, solve the problem for your guests or pass along the issue to the person who can solve it. Just make sure, you are explaining the situation so the guest doesn’t need to repeat him or herself. At the end, ensure that the issue has been solved.
- Sometimes guests forget something on the table, bench or bathroom. Make sure, you keep it, when you find it. In case you know the guests phone number, call them. If you have no information at all, keep it safe.
With “Trust Service” you build trust and make sure that this trust is justified constantly. Not only reliability needs to be part of it, trustworthiness and transparency are a must. In addition, in case something goes really wrong, a certain degree of fairness has to be shown.
- When guests are visiting your restaurant, they trust the company, the kitchen and you that everything will be at least to their satisfaction. Show them that they can trust you.
- Especially, if you have guests with certain food intolerances or allergies, it is a must to write down the requests, confirm with your kitchen and/ or let the guests know honestly, in case the request can or can’t be fulfilled. That builds trust.
- In case of a justified complain, everything should be done (involve your superior) to handle the problem with sincerity and fairness, so that everybody is at least ok with the outcome.
- Back to the topic of forgotten items; especially wallets, credit cards and other valuable items are very delicate to handle. Inform your superior immediately when you find something like that. Remember, building relationships with guests through trust, are usually the ones that lasts the longest.
Implementing “Power Service” means to fulfill guests’ needs, desires and demands as fast and efficient as possible, so nobody needs to wait or has to find solutions by themselves the hard way.
- Observe the way you work! Is it fast, efficient, organized? Are there procedures, set-ups or changes you would need to be better and faster? Talk with your superior to implement them!
- Ensure you are staying focused. If you are trying to do everything at the same time, the ‘disaster avalanche’ is rolling.
- Understand your guest’s desires, needs and wishes. Find them out through observation, listening and asking!
- Let’s be specific; once you know what the guest wants – go and get it done! Fast, smart and efficient! That’s what makes your guests feel special! Don’t loose time!
Very important is also the “VIP Service”, where not only celebrities and other high profile guests are counted to, rather then giving every one of your guests the feeling and assurance he or she is the most important person. If a guest is getting even just a small fraction of being categorized into the ‘unimportant’ section, all efforts of delivering any kind of service are loosing its sincerity and meaning.
- One of the most often carried out behaviors showing no interest in guests is to look at the next table, screen the restaurant or just daze away while placing a plate in front of guests or taking the orders. Honestly, this is horrible and unacceptable! Stay with your guests, look at them, give them a smile and maybe even pronounce the dish shortly and friendly. Makes even the food tastes better…seriously!
- Eye contact and focus is the key again.
- Mostly guests feel categorized unconsciously, especially when they are seen as ‘not so important’ and you can pull your leg out trying to make them happy again, it won’t work.
- You want to make your guest feel like a VIP? Remember them when they come back next time and pay full attention to their needs, everytime. It’s not always easy, but a lot of fun!
I am quite sure, you are doing a few of those ‘services’ already anyway, but I think it is interesting to become aware of them and use them more consciously to improve your services and grow yourself.
All forms of service mentioned are holding a huge power in themselves individually, but if you combine all of them into your way of service and find more things you and your colleagues can do in each ‘category’, the results in terms of guest satisfaction will soar!
Even though the examples I pointed out above are for restaurants specifically, however, if you have a very close look at the general descriptions of the forms of service, I bet you get ideas what you could implement in your environment and business almost instantly to greatly increase your customer service.
Also, have a look in which areas you already succeed and where some improvements could be necessary. No matter if you are the boss of the company or an employee; sit down with your colleagues and brainstorm ideas to increase your service within these ‘categories’ to add more value to your customers. That would mean you are adding value to the company and therefore to yourself and your team!
Give it a try and enjoy the ride!
My name is Martin Kramer, born in Hannover, Germany. So far, I worked for more then a decade in luxury hotels and resorts in Germany, the USA, Thailand and Indonesia. A Bachelor degree from a well-known hospitality management school in Heidelberg, Germany, majoring marketing, could have led me into several departments of hotels, but I love Food & Beverage and restaurants, so I decided to stick with it and apply as well as increase my knowledge in that area.
Recently, I started my own website www.restaurant-academy.com to provide useful information for waitresses and waiters to become more successful and satisfied with their job – keeping in mind that guest satisfaction and exceeding guest expectations are the key ingredients for any successful restaurant operation. In short; happy staff = happy guests and happy guests are leading to a successful restaurant operation.