How To Respond To Irate Restaurant Customers
As a restaurant owner, you do everything you can to keep your customers happy. However, sometimes your best efforts are not enough and you end up with an irate or angry customer on your hands. While this is not a great situation to be in, the experience does not have to be so bad if it’s one you are prepared for. With these tips from all of us here at Organic Restaurants, you and your staff can safely navigate this.
Let the Customer Vent
Let the customer say what they need to say. Do not interrupt or try to talk over them because that is likely to make things worse. Instead, actively listen to what they say and figure out what the issue is.
Offer Solutions, not Excuses
Once you’ve listened you can begin to offer solutions. This is not the time to make excuses. The customer doesn’t care about those. They want to know how you’re going to fix the problem. Offer concrete ways of helping them. Make sure that you know that their satisfaction matters to you and that you are upset about the problem as well.
Keep calm and do not make things personal. The customer is likely not attacking you personally. They have issues with the food or something else, and there could even be other stresses weighing on them. If you stay calm and talk at a lower volume, they will probably match you. If you yell and get mad, they will only get louder.
Look, the old adage “The customer is always right!” can only be extended so far. Just because someone is a customer does not mean that you cannot set limits on what kind of behavior you will tolerate. If someone is being blatantly rude or disrespectful, cursing, or escalating to physical violence, this is bigger than a mere customer service issue. Be ready to kick unruly people out or involve the authorities if necessary.
Remember the Other Customers
An irate customer can affect the mood of other customers, especially if they get loud and begin arguing with you or a member of your staff. If an angry customer caused a scene, make sure that you’re checking in on other customers and making sure that they are alright. Don’t be afraid to comp something small, like a side dish or a dessert, to make customers feel better. It would be better if the memory of your kind action replaces the memory of an uncomfortable situation.
Train Staff to Do This as Well
Even if you’re a hands-on restaurant owner, it’s unlikely that you can be there at your eatery at all times. So you need to train your staff to handle irate customers too. Take this advice and pass it on to them. Make sure that everyone, from the hostess or host to the manager, is ready to help if a customer has an issue.
Navigate Other Tricky Situations
To learn more about keeping customers happy and what you might run into as the owner of a healthy restaurant, visit the Organic Restaurants blog. It’s full of useful tips and information that you can use as a restaurant owner!