Although studies show that consumers enjoy the convenience of remote technologies like online ordering platforms, they still put a high price on customer service inside the physical restaurant. According to Parature research, U.S. businesses lose an estimated $83 million annually due to poor customer service, and poor customer service has caused 62 percent of U.S. consumers to switch brands in the past year.
Customer service includes spending adequate time with customers, providing friendly and helpful responses, serving their food in a timely manner and taking payments with speed and accuracy. Restaurant management software and related solutions can take care of the issue of time – the technologies make everyday tasks easier, quicker and more precise so that employees will have more time to create a valuable, convenient experience for customers.
Here are a few restaurant software features that can improve customer service.
With an intuitive interface with organized menu boards, employees can input orders and accept payments with speed and accuracy, allowing them to focus more on the customer than the transaction. When it is difficult to input orders, it removes the friendliness and helpfulness from the transaction and often leads to inaccuracies that are frustrating to the customer.
Labor management reporting
One common cause of poor customer service is understaffing. When the number of employees scheduled is not proportionate or appropriate for the number of guests, there is a good chance that many customers’ needs will be left unmet. Not to mention, employees can easily get overwhelmed or frustrated and make mistakes that would otherwise be avoidable. With optimized labor, restaurants can take advantage of every opportunity to provide exceptional service.
Restaurant businesses can improve their customer service by optimizing the amount of servers, cashiers and cooks available to provide service – in other words, make sure your restaurant is staffed with the right people at the right time.
Using restaurant management software, owners and operators can analyze metrics such as net sales or sales by period to determine peak times and define labor costs. Software can also generate reports evaluating employee performance.
With these pieces of information, managers can determine which employees are best suited to work on the busiest nights and how many will be needed to accommodate the average amount of customers the restaurant usually receives during those times. And with an adequate amount of servers on the sales floor, employees can quickly and effectively respond to customer questions and requests.
Most restaurant management systems can be easily integrated with mobile devices or elements, so that employees can utilize software features and capabilities from anywhere in the building. Depending on the restaurant environment, customers can place their own orders on self-service kiosks or customer-facing displays, or employees can travel around the store taking orders on mobile devices. These elements work to improve speed, accuracy, convenience and overall customer satisfaction.
Mobility works wonders for customer service in the following ways:
- Employees can spend more time with customers, providing valuable, personal exchanges rather than being stuck behind a register or rushing transactions to keep lines moving
- In table service restaurants, employees can ditch their pen-and-paper method and use mobile devices to take more accurate orders and provide more information to customers as they make their decisions
- Employees can send orders straight from the mobile device to the POS system, and in turn the kitchen printer or kitchen display system, to speed up food preparation times
- The ability to complete transactions on the sales floor could eliminate or significantly reduce bottlenecking on busy nights
The combination of intuitive interfaces, reporting features, optimized labor and mobile POS capabilities can provide in-store value that cannot be achieved through delivery or pick up.