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Strategies to improve the customer experience

Have you ever had a bad experience at a restaurant?

I was having dinner with a friend at a restaurant recently and was surprised at the lack of service that we received during the meal. Coming from a service industry I wondered if I had unrealistic high expectations.

Here is a summary of the four outstanding mistakes that were made that night.

Mistake #1

When our order was taken, we were not asked if we would like bread or something to nibble on while we waited for our meals to arrive.

This was an opportunity lost for the restaurant because if we had been asked we possibly would have said 'yes'.

Mistake #2

Once the orders were taken we were basically forgotten. The meals took some time to arrive and soon after they arrived we were again forgotten. No checking if we needed anything or if everything was ok with the meal. Very strange indeed.

Mistake #3

When we were ready to settle the bill we spent some time trying to gain the attention of the waiters. It was tempting to walk out of the restaurant without paying just to see if they noticed.

Mistake #4

When we were finally attended to and our payment was taken we were astonished with the way our change was given to us.

Sitting at the table we expected the change and receipt to be placed on a small platter or in the folder in which the bill had arrived. We were mistaken. The waiter returned with the change in their hand and then promptly placed it on the table.

Our impressions

What message did that send to us? It said lack of respect for their customers.

Their manner throughout the meal was one of a lack of enthusiasm for their roles in making the experience an enjoyable one for us.

Simple strategies to improve the customer experience

Some simple steps that could have been undertaken included:

  • Polite manner in every interaction with us
  • Checking if we needed anything during the meal to make it more enjoyable
  • Being available
  • Showing professionalism in the way they dealt with the payment of the bill

Anyone in a service industry – from the hospitality industry to consulting services – should consider implementing some simple strategies to make their clients' experiences a positive one.

What have been your experiences with a service industry?

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Maria Pantalone

Maria Pantalone is the author of Success Talks: Conversations with Everyday Leaders. Maria works with individuals and teams to make communication their strength so that their message is heard. She provides tailored programs in presentation skills, business writing and effective communication as a leader and team member. Maria’s programs help her clients to excel in their role and be recognised as leaders in their field.
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