restaurant | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

Find a Connection Point – Part 2: Situational Connection - 10/4/22


Last week we highlighted key topics to consider when you want to find Personal Connection Points with the customer.  Today, we’ll cover some key questions to ask to uncover information about today’s situation that you can use to establish a rapport with the customer.  This is Part 2 - Read more

Find a Connection Point – Part 1: Personal Connection - 9/27/22


Some people are born almost like a master at communication.  They know how to establish rapport with just about anybody, and they do so in a way that seems so natural and so real.  They can form relationships and be laughing with somebody they met two minutes ago like Read more

Be Proactive without being Pushy - 9/20/22


Delivering great customer service isn’t just about responding and reacting.  It’s also about being proactive.  Developing relationships involves reaching out first, not just extending our hand when somebody reaches out to us. But it’s all too clear that those of us who are in service roles prefer those roles to Read more

Be Kind to Yourself When the Customer Isn’t - 9/13/22


I was having a debrief call with one of my clients recently, and this was regarding a survey of employees who work events.  One of the survey questions asked employees for advice on how to improve the customer experience.  When the employees shared their input on the guest experience, Read more

Being the Emphatic Employee - 9/6/22


Empathy is the key quality of somebody who’s great at customer service.  We talk about it often - what it is, how to convey it, what it looks like, and how it makes the customer feel. But along with knowing how to be empathetic, we also need to know how Read more

The Good, the Really Good, and the Ugly of Customer Service - 8/30/22


Here are three helpful customer service stories.  They may not be from your specific industry, but it’s always good to learn from others. The Good… Paula submitted a ticket to the I.T. vendor.  Below the signature line in the reply she received was the following:  Please share your comments or needs Read more

A Great 2-Minute E-mail - 8/23/22


I know.  You probably get e-mails all the time from customers griping about some aspect of your organization or their experience.  You’ve got too much to do and too little time to do it.  I could not begin to tell you how many times I’ve been told by staff Read more

When They Want to Talk to Your Boss - 8/16/22


“I want to talk to your supervisor.” That’s their opening salvo.  Before you can hardly finish your greeting, the customer is asking for your boss.  This is done by a customer who has tried to get an issue resolved, and it hasn’t worked, so they want to go to somebody Read more

When Passive Voice is a Good Thing - 8/9/22


It’s all your fault, Mr. Customer! We may want to shout it from the rooftops, but other than venting and absolving ourselves of guilt, this wouldn’t help much in the grand scheme of things. We have a customer sitting in front of us or on the phone, and maybe they are Read more

They’re Stressed, So You Can… - 8/2/22


Wow!  That customer looks stressed!  Maybe it’s their body language or their expressions; they could be fidgety or talking really fast. In the past, when we offered guidance in these situations, we focused on how to navigate the conversation step-by-step - what points to cover and what points to avoid. But Read more

I’d like a burger, fries, and some customer service, please…

Posted on in Business Advice, World of Customer Service Please leave a comment

Is it too much to ask to get some consistently good customer service from a fast food restaurant?

Well, according to the article McDonald’s customer service push irritates some franchisees, yes, it is too much to ask. Apparently McDonald’s corporate has acknowledged a need to improve its customer service, but some franchisees aren’t too happy. It’s not that the franchisees don’t care about customer service (I’m making a BIG assumption here with some franchisees), but they are first and foremost concerned with profits. And profits are driven by product margins, volumes, and efficiencies, right?

Apparently, McDonald’s corporate is also pushing the Dollar Menu (lower margins) and promoting offerings (such as wraps) that are less efficient to produce at the franchise level.

This issue is actually a microcosm of what a high percentage of businesses have experienced in the last 20+ years with the advent of rapid technological advances. The improvements in technology and ease of market entry for competitors have driven down prices in many industries, negatively impacting gross margins. Also, as customer service have expanded from primarily phone and face-to-face to include social media, smart phones, and other communication vehicles, the process of delivering customer service has become more complex.

So I feel the pain of the McDonald’s franchisee…really…I do. But at some point they need to look at customer service more strategically as a source of retention, additional revenues, upsells, cross-sells, profitability, and long-term viability and growth. If they did, they wouldn’t be focused as much on gross margin concerns. Instead they’d be focused on those things which they control which truly drive long-term client retention and growth. They’d make their own decision to focus more on customer service.

What do you think about the franchisees’ concerns and the state of customer service in fast food restaurants?

Interested in improving your company’s customer service? See more at our new website! http://www.cssamerica.com/


Groupon Now Rewarding to Retain

Posted on in Business Advice, World of Customer Service 1 Comment

If you’ve used Groupon as a consumer, you understand that you get deep discounts (50%+) from local businesses. If you’re a business, you realize that that can drive lots of consumers to your business, but you’re only probably getting half of what the consumer pays Groupon; so you may only be receiving 25% of your normal payment.

So the only way that Groupon really works for a business is for that company to receive repeat business (at a higher per purchase level). So for Groupon to succeed, it’s all about their business clients retaining and growing business with those Groupon customers.

The theory for the business is they take a short-term loss on a consumer purchase to establish and grow a relationship with that consumer. The reality is often different, however. The business could be cannibalizing their own business by selling at discounted rates to existing customers. They could be involved with Groupon only to attract customers who buy purely on price (and a deeply discounted price at that!). So if the discount goes away, so will that customer.

To help its clients with retention, Groupon has created Groupon Rewards. They promote a “Hassle-Free Setup” followed by “Automatic Rewards” followed by “Customer Analytics.”

No, Groupon does not say that it is cutting its fees. It’s apparently proposing to manage a loyalty program for your business, where consumers get discounts once they’ve spent a certain amount. Not exactly leading edge stuff, but it does promote consumers buying before they get the discount.

So let’s focus on the broader lesson here. If you want to grow your business in a smart way, getting customers in your door (such as what Groupon has historically done) is only the start; long-term success is driven by retention and growth.

Interested in improving your company’s customer retention? Check out our Fast-Track Retention & Growth Assessment: http://www.cssamerica.com/cssfastrga.htm

Read our New Book – “Ask Yourself…Am I GREAT at Customer Service?” http://www.amigreatat.com/

Listen to our latest podcast episode of “Stepping Up Service” on The MESH Network at http://themesh.tv/stepping-up-service/


The 3rd Time Better be the Charm

Posted on in Business Advice, World of Customer Service Please leave a comment

A friend recently relayed this customer service story to me, and food stories are always a special treat! Enjoy!…or at least, Learn…

Twice this weekend I noticed that servers, in their desire to speed up the delivery process (I can only assume) were actually stepping over my words while I was ordering. I’m not a particularly slow orderer, and I haven’t noticed this much before, but it was odd.

Once was at a local sandwich shop. I was ordering the pick two so you have to pick a sandwich, a side, and a soup. I was giving my choices, but before I even got them out of my mouth, the cashier is prompting me for the next thing that I have to decide. I said “and I’d like…” (getting ready to say “a medium drink”), and she interrupted me in mid-sentence to ask if I wanted a drink. I can almost see this occurring if there was a long line behind me, but there was no one else in line. It probably would have even been okay if she was cheery and bubbly or perhaps apologetic, but this young lady was none of those things – not a smile to be found.

The other experience was at a fast food restaurant the next day. I gave my order for the combo; she says “what?” in a terse voice, so then I began to restate my order, and before I could finish restating it, she interrupted by saying “Drink?” I was in the process of telling her that; oh, and, again, there was nobody behind me in line.

These may be perceived as “little things,” but is interrupting others good customer relations? Is being rude good customer service? Is not listening good for repeat business? Is it a good thing to be so task-oriented that you don’t focus on the person for whom you’re doing the task?

Hopefully the 3rd restaurant encounter for my friend will be better, and based on the tone of the story, it probably will be at a different place.

Read our New Book – “Ask Yourself…Am I GREAT at Customer Service?” http://www.amigreatat.com/

Interested in improving your company’s customer service? See more at our new website! http://www.cssamerica.com/