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Improving the customer experience should be on the minds of every owner and manager of quick service restaurants. The nature of the business means that you have very little time to make an impression. It’s also a fact that customers will more often remember a bad experience – and complain about it – than a great one. So, how can you improve your customer experience in your quick service restaurant? There are a number of ways.
Know Your Customers
Your customer’s lives change daily, as do their wants and their needs. To keep up, you need to have your finger on the pulse of what your customers want and need. To do this, turn to social media. Customers have no problem tweeting or making posts on Facebook via their check-in function. In fact, Twitter and Facebook are great places to respond to reviews, complaints, and compliments. Don’t leave traditional methods in the cold. Customer satisfaction surveys and feedback forms can go miles towards learning about your customers’ needs.
We have come into a time where technology has allowed self-order kiosks to be everywhere. Banks, grocery stores, hotels, and even airports have implemented self-service kiosks to allow customers to complete transactions without human interaction. Sure, some people still believe in human interaction, particularly in restaurants, but self-order kiosks have many things going for them. One of the big factors is cutting down on errors. Getting an order wrong is one of the biggest complaints in the QSR industry. By allowing the customers to place their own orders, your restaurant can cut down on mistakes made while ordering.
If you’ve ever been to Moe’s or to Trader Joe’s, you’ve heard the employees greet their customers with a raucous greeting. At Moe’s, it’s “Welcome to Moes!” At Trader Joe’s, employees wear fun shirts and put up hand-painted signs and displays that engage and entertain. These make the overall experience a lot more fun.
In any quick service restaurant children are the first ones who need to be entertained. Every frazzled parent on the planet knows what a chore it can be to place an order and then have to wait, with hungry kids, for their food. Unless there’s a built-in playground, the kids get bored and can become an annoyance to other diners.
Instead of an expensive playground and the liability that comes with it, consider a system like BEAM. BEAM allows your floor space to become an interactive game experience or a virtual playground. BEAM does all this without staff, clean-up, or maintenance. And unlike a piece of play equipment, BEAM has dozens of games with more added monthly. If your regular visitors don’t like the current game, change it!
Embody Your Brand
It’s an impossibility to chase perfection on everything. This exhausts your resources and leads to frustration. Instead, focus your attention on the details that will have the most impact. Take Starbucks, for example. Coffee orders can be pretty complex. Have you ever noticed how they trained their customers? That’s right. The company trained their customers on the correct way to order their drinks. Starbucks baristas take orders and then repeat them back to the customer in “barista-speak”. Customers picked up on the language and started using it. The result of this? Starbucks improved efficiency and satisfied customers. The other side-effect is that those who come to Starbucks feel that they’re part of the ‘tribe.’
Another example is Shake Shack. The company provided induction loops at their counters to allow their customers who have hearing aids hear the cashier more clearly. Shake Shack did this because it was a way for them to be more hospitable to all of their customers, including those with hearing impairment.
Some QSRs get lost in the latest promotions and newest products. While a promotion or a product can set you apart from your competition, and may draw customers into your establishment, those come and go. Find out how you can create a unique image to really enhance the customer experience. It could be through your background music, your decor, or something like BEAM. There’s a reason eateries used to have a few arcade machines or pinball games. Whatever your brand image is, you should strive to have your customer interactions reinforce that image.
The greatest brands set and hold themselves to the highest standard. Consider how you would want to be treated in your establishment and stick to that. Take Chick-fil-A, for example. When a customer thanks an employee, the response they receive is “my pleasure.” Not “no problem” or even “you’re welcome.” The employees here go above and beyond by helping customers to their cars, offering to refill beverages in the dining room, and being genuinely interested in the welfare of their customers.
Get It Right the First Time
Everyone has likely felt the frustration of taking their order at a drive thru and pulling away, only to get home and find an order of fries is missing. Maybe you’ve specifically ordered extra cheese on your burger and didn’t get any. When mistakes happen, it’s frustrating for both the customers and the employees. Train your employees to confirm orders and double-check before giving food to the customers. It may take longer, but it’s worth it to really boost the customer experience and satisfaction.
Promote Good Health
Fast food or quick service restaurants aren’t thought of as the healthiest fare. With more and more Americans giving consideration to their health, now is a good time to highlight and promote your healthier side items and entrees. Let customers know about lower-calorie options like veggie burgers and salads. Are there options where they can have the salad dressing on the side or turn their high calorie sandwich into a lettuce wrap?
The best promotions and deals and food can only go so far. Promoting a positive customer experience that keeps customers returning is a goal of every quick service restaurant. To keep your customers returning for more, give them a remarkable experience with something unique that really stands out.
BEAM is an award-winning interactive projection game system that instantly enhances the customer experience at your business with endless fun, excitement, entertainment and engagement. For more information about the BEAM system and how it can help your quick service restaurant excel, contact the BEAM Team today!