At some point, retailers, restaurants and cafes come across the same issues. Across formats and offers, there are patterns of “mediocrity” that emerge.
Common to all are these 5 specific issues that, time and again, negatively affect the bottom line. Why? Because these are behaviours that stop effective on-site operations from being executed.
If any of these sound familiar, we’ve got the solution for all 5 issues – the bottom line – for you, right up-front and for free. This might just be one of the most important articles you’ll ever read if you’re in the restaurant or cafe business. Can you afford not to?
1. Who’s at the Center of your World?
The bottom line:
When in-store operations for restaurants, cafes and retail stores don’t have processes that revolve around the customer, the first place that feels the pinch is revenue.
In-house operations tools and processes like:
- customer scripts,
- training for upselling,
- troubleshooting and addressing customer complaints on site,
- associates sampling the product/service themselves or gaining a contextual background in its preparation and sourcing,
- facilitating exchanges and/or substitutions,
- responding to requests for tailor-made solutions.
Even if there are teams of employees updating the operations on-site, procedures that are developed without a customer-oriented focus at its heart risk alienating franchise locations from who they’re supposed to be serving.
It’s not only what the processes and tools are but, also, how they are developed in tandem with each other. This means that departments must be permeable to each other. Information not only needs to flow freely, it must consider the various functions it pertains to.
For example, an operations manual for customer service should be developed in conjunction with the branding arm of the marketing department, product/service development team and the in-store team responsible for hiring and training employees.
Luckily, Gizmodo got their hands on an industry giant’s Top Secret customer service operations manual which, employees say, is at the heart of its consistent success.
When you walk into an Apple Store for service at the Genius Bar, as well as simply to browse through products, there is a very palpable and clear link between sales associates, Genius Bar employees, and the customer experience at large.
The development of Apple’s on-site operations provides instruction on everything from permissible language and terminology (what Apple store employees are allowed to call “problems”, for example, or how to reframe an issue), procedures and situations in which an exchange can be accepted or initiated, how to approach a customer who is simply waiting for an appointment versus how to approach a customer who is a potential buyer of an Apple product or service.
The goal is to “guide every interaction” in a way that brings together the customer, the knowledge base of the “Genius Bar” employee and the product’s assumed inherent superiority in a culture that is customer-focused.
Clearly, then, the customer is at the heart of Apple’s on-site operations but the development of the processes and tools for employees are linked between the various departments that have a stake in maintaining brand consistency.
The next four chapters of this article will give you the bottom line solution for keeping a consistent customer experience, fixing negative experiences and much more.