Why setting realistic guest expectations is important

Ever looked at the photos of a restaurant, pub, or hotel website featuring back-lit models in beautiful interiors with plates of carefully presented food and then got here to find it was anything but? Let’s explore the importance of setting realistic guest expectations.

What IS great service? 

Great service is about the perception of value but when I say ‘value’ I don’t mean in monetary terms. I mean how customers, are made to ‘feel’. Core values!

What are ‘core’ values?

Core values = self-worth and how we rate the worth of others.

Core values are the principles that are deeply ingrained in us, inherited from our parents, and molded to us in our early years.

Right from wrong, good from bad, our willingness to compromise, empathise, to care or not care.

It’s why, when we grow up, we spend an inordinate amount of time arguing that OUR opinions are the right ones.

When expectations meet core values. 

When a business sets unrealistic expectations that are not met, the reaction of the customers will depend entirely on their principles and values. Some may be angry and vocal about their disappointment, and some will keep it to themselves, to avoid confrontation.

Customers who complain. 

Those that complain about the unmet guest expectations at the time will allow you to apologise. But beware! If you make excuses, you will make it even worse. These people have a strong sense of self-worth. They had the confidence to complain in the first place so it is unlikely that they will merely accept or believe your weaknesses to be justified.

The value of apologising. 

Something went wrong. Just apologise. At least these customers will go home feeling that their values have been substantiated. They will speak fondly of your ‘kindness’ no matter how forced or disingenuous it may have felt to you at the time.

Customers who don’t complain.

These are the most dangerous to businesses. They are called ‘silent customers’ because they won’t tell you at the time but will share their experiences with many others thereafter. (It’s where we took our name from!)

Can you recognise an unhappy customer?  

Unless your teams are instinctual in recognising and translating negative body language and have the confidence and autonomy to put things right, these customers will go home unhappy and do a great deal of damage to your reputation by way of word-of-mouth. What’s worse is you don’t know how many of them there might be, although if you were to be honest with yourself you could probably hazard a guess on a difficult shift.

How can I stop unhappy customers from damaging my business?   

It is, far less risky to simply just set realistic guest expectations from the get go to a level which you know you can meet. Think about the simplicity of Pizza Express or Wetherspoon. They do what they say on the tin! It makes them trustworthy and in this they are highly successful brands.

Think about your food offering, pricing, interiors, ambiance, and the skill levels of your teams. How are you are portraying that in your marketing collateral? Ask yourself … ‘Am I able to deliver this?’ If your answer is ‘probably not’, then you must re-align your offering and focus on over-delivering that.

Than you can get customers to spread the word about your amazing ‘value’.

Every bum on every seat counts!

Labour, facilities, food is now so expensive that every bottom on every seat counts. You can’t afford to upset any bottoms!

Find out if you are meeting expectations – get in touch with us at Silent Customer.  We are a mystery dining, shopping and visit agency with a personal approach. We inspire change, reduce revenue leakage and build brand loyalty with every client we look after.  Speak to us today about our mystery guest and reputation management services.

Share:

Twitter
LinkedIn
Facebook

Related Posts

What is Mystery Shopping?

What is Mystery Shopping? In this blog, Janet Wood, Founder and Director of Silent Customer, answers questions about mystery shopping and what makes Silent Customer stand out in the Hospitality industry.      What Do You Do? The most common question I get asked is: ‘What do you do?’. My answer to this is with another question: ‘Do you know what mystery shopping is?’. 16 years ago, when I started Silent Customer, I was told

Read More »

What Does A Secret Shopper Do?

Mystery shopping companies have always struggled with the editing of poorly written reports. Indeed, by way of trying to raise these standards, Silent Customer gives feedback and grades our mystery guests on writing style, objective feedback, grammar, and spelling. We check all submitted reports twice. So, what about using AI as a tool for mystery shoppers?

Read More »

Using AI in Mystery Shopping

Mystery shopping companies have always struggled with the editing of poorly written reports. Indeed, by way of trying to raise these standards, Silent Customer gives feedback and grades our mystery guests on writing style, objective feedback, grammar, and spelling. We check all submitted reports twice. So, what about using AI as a tool for mystery shoppers?

Read More »

Are your customers missing the blindingly obvious?

Silent Customers focus on delivering subjective narrative because it reflects a true and honest customer experience but as a consequence (and probably why many other mystery shopping companies don’t do it) it sometimes upsets owners, tenants, and managers, who find it hard to believe what the Silent Customers are saying.

Read More »

How to Give Feedback Kindly

One of our Silent Customers’ said they didn’t understand why we insist on giving feedback kindly when they have had a very bad experience on a dining visit. I thought this was a good opportunity to explain the difference between ‘kind, honest, feedback’ and ‘unkind, honest, feedback. 

Read More »

Reputation Management

Mystery Visits

Phone & Online Audits

Free Training Tools

Free Training Tools

Intercepting Complaints

Check-backs and complaint handling go hand in hand. Intercepting a problem before a customer tells you, or Google, not only prevents negative word-of-mouth but can increase revenue through loyalty and positive PR.

Use our fun PEP talk sheets to support your front-line teams in learning how to avoid complaints.

Engaging Conversations

Building a natural and genuine rapport with guests can be the most positive and memorable part of their dining experience. Whilst the food and the environment can be remarkable by itself, making a customer feel that they are more than just a table number, has a far wider reach in terms of spreading positive word-of-mouth.

Use our fun PEP talk sheet to support your front-line teams in learning how to have engaging conversations.

Positive Body Language

Being able to communicate positivity, and with enthusiasm, encourages customers to reciprocate in the same manner. However, most of us are unaware of how we are perceived by others and, whilst we may think we are coming across as welcoming and friendly, our body language could be telling a different story.

Use our fun PEP talk sheet to support your front-line teams in understand the importance of self-awareness.

Relevant Recommendations

Team members need good product knowledge to be able to describe and enthuse, but often don’t know what many of the dishes taste like. A lack of upselling is also often due to a lack of confidence in knowing where to start a conversation that leads to a recommendation.

Use our fun PEP talk sheet to support your front-line teams in learning how to upsell.