Last week on our digest, we discussed How You Can Make Your Street Food Shop a Home Away From Home. These lessons are important because a great customer service is the soul of every business, and our digests are the best way to ensure that you and your food team maintain excellent service standards at your street food shop.
Your customer’s happiness should be your ultimate focus, though as we have mentioned before in our digests, not all your customers will be satisfied with your efforts no matter how hard you try. But you must always care about how they feel because without your customers, you will have no business. When a customer is angry, it is your responsibility to make sure their complaint is resolved before they leave your shop. You should also aim to employ people who are on the same wavelength with you so that when you are not there, your business can duly be taken care of. We talked about how you can you can Turn your Staff into Street Food Pros in one of our digests. Click on the link and see how to do staff training and the vital things to talk about during such training.
Today, we are going to discuss how you can resolve customer disputes and how to find ways to ensure that such problems do not reoccur at your shop.
Have you wondered why customers complain?
It is usually for a genuine concern, when their expectations are not met, that customers complain. It could be the product, or the service, or the both. When a customer brings a complaint to your notice, it is an opportunity to grow, to correct your mistakes. It is important that you do not avoid complaints but embrace them to ensure continuous growth in your business. The customers who do not complain directly to you will complain to other people and this will have a bad effect on your business and will have you repeating your mistakes.
What’s our point exactly? Complaints are great and you should be grateful to customers who complain to you.
Here are tips on how you can manage a customer’s tantrums without getting offended or replying them with the wrong words.
1. Be Calm.
When a customer is complaining to you about something he is not satisfied with, be calm. This is because you can only hear them when you are calm and listening. These complaints do not mean that the customer hates you or has personal grudges against you. They are only attacking the situation at hand, the food, or the service. It is important that you control your emotions. Do not argue with them, or try to defend the problem. You may want to get defensive but remember this point always. Be calm.
Listening to a customer’s complaint also gives you time to formulate a reasonable response to the problem. It also gives the customer the impression that what she has to say matters to you and that you care.
When an angry customer is ranting and you do not reply, he will begin to calm down. A customer has to be calm before he can hear your solution and your apologies. Always make sure to ask him if he has something else to say. This assures and placates them instantly.
2. Empathize With Them and Acknowledge the Problem.
After listening to your customer, admit that your shop made a mistake and is sorry about it. If it is not a mistake from your shop, explain to the customer that it was a misunderstanding. You do not have to agree with everything the customer says but make sure you see it from his point of view, and state that you understand how he feels. You can use these lines:
- “If I heard you correctly, you said…”
- “I understand that you are upset. I would feel that same way too.”
- “I apologize if my colleagues didn’t get your order right. You paid for our services and you deserve the best.”
When you repeat a customer’s words to him, it means you listened to everything he had said. When you show that you can relate to their feelings, it makes them ready to listen to the solution you will offer.
3. Apologize On Behalf of Your Shop.
When you apologize to your customer, make sure you do not put the blame on the other employees or try to exonerate yourself. Own the problem and apologize on behalf of everyone. Always say “We are sorry.” You can also say:
- “We are sorry this happened.”
- “This was a huge misunderstanding.”
- “We are sorry you had this experience at our shop.”
When you apologize, state clearly what you mean and also promise to avoid future occurrences of such problems at your shop.
4. Solve the Problem.
After you have listened to the customer’s complaints and apologized to them, you should now try to appease the customer by solving the problem. While apologies are great, many customers will want you to do something about the problem. Resolving the problem depends hugely on the kind of damage done and how much it cost the customer. When trying to resolve issues, do not try to offer solutions that you cannot afford or keep. This will further damage your food shop’s reputation. Only make offers that you can easily keep to. Take charge of the situation even when it wasn’t entirely within your control. Problem resolutions could come in form of:
- Remaking the customer’s order.
- A discount on the customer’s next order.
- A refund of the money they paid.
If it was one of your employees who made the wrong meal or offered the poor service, you could offer to make the meal or serve the customer yourself this time. These go to show how important your customer’s satisfaction is to you. If you are not sure of how you can fix the problem, you could ask the customer to say what she wants, what you can do for him. If his request is too expensive for you, you can take the cue from what he suggested and state what your shop can afford.
5.Maintain a Good Relationship.
Resolving the problem is not always enough, you should try nurture a good relationship with the offended customer. You could apologize again and promise that such occurrences will not repeat. Also ask if there is anything you could do to make the customer happier and satisfied.
Get the customer’s contact number and try calling them afterwards to make sure that everything is okay and that they are happy with you. When you resolve these problems, you have greater chances of having loyal customers whose patronage would help improve your business.
We hope you loved this lesson. If you did, do drop your comments on how you resolve customer related problems at your food shop and what you do to avoid them. You could send us messages on Facebook or Twitter about possible subjects you would like us to write on.
We will come your way soon with more tips to uphold your business. Stay successful!
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