15 easy ways how to increase your tips and customer loyalty
This is really worth reading for any service person who may be befuddled why the crop of tips has not been great. It is also worth reading for food, service, and restaurant entrepreneurs who cannot figure out why their business is not taking off as it could or should.
I am totally with Jeffrey Gitomer who dedicated a whole book for making a case for customer loyalty and not satisfaction. Satisfaction is here one second and within a split second it can be gone and you are left guessing why your tip is dismal. Remember that it is loyalty that you need to be after.
One bad service occurrence fazes no one if you have built a solid reputation for treating your customers like their are guests at your home. If this should happen, no one will abandon you for a glitch. It’s like delivering bad service there a few times and you will be looking for your stuff on the lawn. So do not wonder when your business does not take off like expected either. Below is a list of service factors that will either make or break the loyalty factor:
- Here is your hat, what is your hurry. Time is money, but you may be saving on the wrong end. If you hurry a guest through your restaurant etc do not expect for them to come back.
- Eye contact is a must. Making a personal connection with another human being is so cool, is easy to do, and yet it is one of the most overlooked ways how to totally own the customer service experience.
- If you are that miserable, perhaps consider a new career. No one can expect that you will be happy all the time about what your job routine entails. Being nasty to customers and co team members (I mean everyone) can lead to interesting issues with far reaching consequences. Life is great, smile!
- Even faint ink is better than the best memory. Make a habit of always writing down the food and drink (insert any other service items here) choices – do not trust your brain.
- Do not expect to make much money or to make it in the food industry without superior cleanliness. Appearance is everything. Look well groomed and wear the best clothes that must be clean and you will do so much better.
- What is the ambiance around where food is consumed? Location may be super important, but a draft here and out of place decorations or furniture can really put a show stopper on you.
- Do you really expect an answer when you ask a question and the guest has a full mouth? It is impolite for one and counter productive to ask if you could not have possibly been looking for feedback if you are either too fast, or you pay no attention at all to your guests. Asking how everything is while the guests are still chewing and you start turning around and leave already is a sure fire way to lose invaluable feedback. It makes people mad; mad enough to leave a miserable tip.
- It just may be your maître d’ who may be the wrinkle here. How many nasty front desk people and folks who show you to your seats have you come across? Was that enjoyable? Any questions? The amount of mediocrity at work here is mind boggling. These folks often set up the stage for a bad experience with the rest of the visit.
- Memorizing the specials is great, but reading it off a list may be better. Much like the customer’s choices, it is equally important that you recall what the actual specials are. Most people value accuracy and availability over the mental feat of a perfect recital.
- Even if it is not your table, they are still guests, why not look after them? Yup, I know this will irk a few co-workers, but you are not benefiting from such top notch customer service. Patrons will ask for you by name if you make people feel secure and cuddly at home away from home.
- Blaming is for losers and if you have to do it, do it elsewhere. Complaining has never helped anyone in the long run. Try to get to know him. He Is not as tall as I had pictured then. When guest arrive they typically want to escape this, because they are used to it from home and work. Now you blast them with this at a place where they wanted to enjoy peace and quiet.
- You had better had a game plan for when these large uncoordinated crowds come in. Let’s say that there is a volunteer set of folks coming in as they will have a performance at a local theater or something like this. Those guys can and will be some of the most loyal customers that you can imagine. It may not be an option to get the cook back out and get the party started. Mentioning how difficult it would be to get the servers and cooks back because they have left their shift really does not fall into open ears. This is an opportunity to shine and for customers to turn into loyal guests. One sentence like this and this may be the last time you see them.
- Even a frequent flyer can still get the occasional perk. Why can you not think of one? Peanuts? Super small cookies? Something. It does not take much to make a customer’s day.
- “Pile up on table #53!” Clean up clutter on customer’s tables. They will only get mad when pile up more stuff than what you take away. They do not work here.
- Being fast is important, being nice is even more important and is a 24/7 job. I do not need to expand on this one. Also, how managers treat their employees DOES make a difference. A huge difference.
Here a just a few more that would absolutely kick your earning potential up a notch:
- You have a list of interesting sites and local activities.
- You have a special set of toys on hand that totally make the kids’ day.
- Everybody helps everybody. Try it. It’s contagious.
- Put a cheat sheet with the correct tip amount and lower and greater percentages into the little invoice holder.
- Really wanting to be there by choice can be felt by the guests.
- Have a few really cool surprises for the guests handy that they are not expecting at all.
- You treat the customers as if they were good friends whom you have not seen for a while.
For folks who travel a lot, or simply go out and eat out and stay at all kinds of places, the above lists may be painful to read. We are living in the customer service oriented economy number 1 and yet there is such a vast service desert out there. It will not take much to come out ahead of this list. But when you do put the little bit extra into it, you will excel in your job and your business (no matter who owns it) will thrive.
For anyone working in this business all of the above is nothing new. That business is really tough. No wonder so many start up companies come and go so quickly. Customers choose with their feet and mouse clicks – no matter how satisfied they were a few moments ago. Only loyal customers who really like you and the experience you have provided will be back. Bon appetit!