As a restaurateur already knows, customer feedback can make or break their restaurant or bar business, either through an online review forum such as Yelp or a guest comment card. There’s an old saying that goes like this “Actions Speak Louder Than Words,” and disappointed patrons don’t speak with words either, they usually express their frustration with feet. In doing so, they walk out of your restaurant, and then never come back. Why? Well, the cause could be bad service, high rate, small portion size, dirty restroom, or a basketful of other reasons. And the worst part is that most restaurant operators will never know. So, how to deal with such a situation?
For a while now, the most tried-and-true method of cultivating feedback from your customers is the guest comment card. However, most restaurants include the same effortless and boring scripted questions in their cards including:
- Please rate the food
- Please rate our service
- Please rate your overall experience
- Please rate the ambiance
- Is there anything else you would you like us to know?
Believe or not, such questions won’t provide any helpful insights required to improve your Italian restaurant’s performance and operations. Not to mention, no customer likes to take a test for the subject in which they have no interest.
This blog post will focus on how you can create a successful customer comment card that will enable you to understand your guests’ pre-existing persecutory beliefs and also the reasons for their disconnection. Doing so will dramatically improve your bottom line and also increase response rate. So let’s get started!
Choose the Right Card Template
The first step is to create a compelling comment card that best suits your restaurant as you would not want a survey card that features a vegan design if you run an Italian restaurant and serve meat dishes. A carefully planned and well-written card is an excellent tool to empower customers to provide valuable feedback and express their opinions on the experience when it’s still fresh in their mind.
This form of assessment helps restaurants not only collect testimonials and measure customer satisfaction in real-time but also determine what specific areas of their restaurant or services need improvement. Select a format that requires your visitors to write out the survey without forcing them to make an enormous level of time commitment to the procedure. Many customizable templates can be found and downloaded online from websites such as Template.net for free. Another option is to create and print your custom comment card that speaks your brand.
Prioritize the Questions
As said above, answering irrelevant and repetitive questions can be a complete and utter bore for your customers. Taking a drawn-out survey and wasting valuable time on it is like adding fuel to the fire especially if your food or services haven’t met their expectations. That’s why it’s important that your comment card goes above and beyond while providing you with informative and honest feedback. Come up with the resourceful and creative questions based on the goals you are trying to achieve. For instance, if your agenda is to improve your dining experience, you should ask questions specific to that part of your business such as:
- Did the dining experience exceed your expectations? Yes or No
- How can we further improve your future dining experience?
- Please rate your experience on a scale of 1 to 5.
- Can we follow up with you? Yes or No
Information acquired from such questions will help you understand their expectancies, needs for an ideal dining experience as well as determine how you can adapt to these factors. Here are some tips for designing a productive guest comment card:
- Use simple language
- Make sure to keep questions short, direct & relevant
- Transit from general info to more detailed queries
- Include multiple choice, rating, and short answer questions
- Choose a font type and size that is easy to read
Use the Power of Words
Now that you have selected the perfect template for your guest comment card and also included the appropriate questions, it’s time to resort to the power of words. A card usually consists of a handful of true/false and rating questions. While this every so often seems like an ideal way of speeding up the process, you could be completely missing out on an array of benefits that the survey form brings to you. So instead of writing down only MCQs or rating ones, consider including questions that customers can answer in 1-2 sentences (or more if a guest wants). In this way, they will be able to express their thoughts better and feel that you care for them.
Don’t Forget to Communicate
While approaching customers to describe their experience will help business owners make proactive improvements to their restaurant, no one can deny the value of having a face-to-face conversation with guests. There’s a chance that a card might get dropped or misplaced during the peak hours, which is why both staff and manager must try to carry out a good conversation with the customer, at least once if not several dozen times.