The street food business is so fragile that all your acts matter, and could make or mar it within seconds. Here’s what we mean. Food is the easiest treat that all human beings run to, so when you manage it well, you get throngs of hungry humans flooding your street food shop that sometimes you may not even have enough to go round. In the same vein, a negative act could leave you with flasks of unsold food which will not be fresh enough to be sold the next day. Such wastes could affect your gains.
Now if you want to be the favourite food service shop in your community, your customers’ happiness must come first on your daily to-do list. How do you achieve this? We have talked about some of the ways you can warm your way into the heart of your customers in How to Resolve Customer Disputes at Your Street food Shop and How to Make your Street Food Shop a Home Away from Home. But today, we are pooling almost everything about excellent customer service into Ten Commandments.
We are ready if you are.
The Ten Customer Commandments
1. Thou Shalt Listen to Them
Every human being reserves the right to be heard. So it is natural that when you listen to people, you gain their loyalty and respect because you have shown that they are important. That said, you must take time to listen to what your customers are saying. Listening goes beyond their words, you could listen to their facial expression, body language to understand how they feel generally. It is important that you do not make assumptions, thinking you know what your customer wants or needs. While paying them attention, be sure that your body language is sincere and not pretentious. Your words to them, your gesture towards them should not sound like a rehearsed script. It should be real and should come from an honest place.
2. Thou Shalt Get to Know Your Customers and Your Customer Shall Know You.
It is through listening to your customers, through those daily exchanges that you get to know about them. This is an important step in building committed and successful relationships with your customers. Your customers will automatically like you when you make an effort to talk to them every time they visit your street food shop. Some of them may not always respond politely owing to stress or other factors but your kind words registers with them and they count you as one of the people who care.
When you ask for their names, make sure you retain the memory and always call them by the names when they visit. Find out where they work, what their favourite treats are and how they like to be served, and also try to remember such details on their next visit. You could have an inventory where your customers’ birthdays are recorded. This means you already have all their contact numbers; you could call them on their birthdays. Many customers would love it if you go an extra mile and become their friends on social media. These gestures encourage real personal relationships.
You can also let your customers know you by telling them your real name, the story behind your street food business, and why you are in the cooking business.
3. Thou Shalt Identify Their Needs And Meet Their Expectations
While paying for your services, your customers are equally paying for their problems at your shop to be solved and for satisfaction. So make sure that you and your team are people who can identify your customer’s moods and emotion. Regular communication with them helps you achieve this.
Your street food shop should be consistent in all of your presentations and service delivery. When you introduce wonderful flavours to your shop, keep it steady and make it better. Never allow yourself to drop to a lower standard or your customers will flee. Ensure that your meals stay tasty and that they are in their best form.
You may want to add something new to your brand, but do not try to change the old one except a good number of your customers complain. This is because many customers return to your shop because of the usual type of service you give to them. Change it and you may lose them. When you are consistent with the kind of services you offer you gain more repeat customers.
4. Thou Shalt Help Thy Customers Understand What You Are About
If customers do not understand what your business is all about from the onset, they may think you are being insincere. This means you must be clear about what you sell and the terms and conditions of your business. You must not advertise what you do not sell and you must not add a food you do not prepare to the menu just to lure customers to your shop. When you do not have a particular meal, quickly erase it from the menu or mark it as unavailable. When you attract customers with the wrong things, you lose more numbers than you ever imagined. Usually, people will respect you more when you are honest about what you have and what you do not have. Never be afraid to say “Sorry, we do not sell that.”
5. Thou Shalt Create Time For Your Customers
Owning a street food shop is a big deal. This means that you are busy most hours of the day that you barely have time to visit your social media pages to see who tweeted at you or who left a Facebook message. But if your customers mean anything to you, you must always endeavour to reply their messages and tweet at the end of each day. You could do more by retweeting their tweets or sharing their posts. By helping their business, it goes to show that you care.
6. Thou Shalt Deliver Your Services Promptly
It is a grievous sin in the customer commandments that you delay serving a hungry customer after the order has been placed. A hungry customer could abandon your food shop in anger and swear to never visit it again. This is usually not the only damage. This customer could tell as many people as possible to avoid your shop no matter how hungry they may get. This means bad business. So it is important that you and your team serve hungry waiting customers at most within the first fifteen minutes of their arrival.
Always remember that there is a reason all of those customer come to your shop. You are not the only food shop in town, but there is something you have that others do not. So make sure you maintain that standard. Train your crew to be calculative, to remember every order and to never ignore any customer, both the tip-giving customer and the non-tip giving customer.
7. Thou Shalt Be Honest With Your Customers
No matter how hard you try to be perfect, some things will slip by you and you will make one or two mistakes. When these imperfections present themselves, be truthful with your customers. It is better when you are honest than then you are hiding the error. They may get angry, but it is better than giving them false hope.
8. Do Thy Best
This is going to be the briefest point we will treat in this digest, but it is the most important of them all. Make sure, in everything you are doing, that you are doing your best. Always.
9. Maintain A Particular Brand For Thy Shop
Your street food shop should be known for something. It could be anything, from the food type to the kind of entertainment you give at your shop or your method of attending to your customers. But it is important that you do something always, something that makes you stand out.
10. Thou Shalt Enjoy Thyself
Make sure that you are not too uptight in your business delivery and at your shop. Put up funny pictures and funny posts on your social media pages and ensure that you enjoy what you do.
When you keep to these commandments, you shall have your customers’ blessings.
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