Tat-Talk: Driving Bottom Line With Guest Recovery
The panel recording and summary are below.
1. How did you recover guests before using Tattle? What were the main challenges?
- MOD Pizza: The customer service team was responsible for manually responding to email feedback and voicemail feedback. The downside was that DMs and GMs didn’t have access to do that, and in some cases the customer service team had to forward individual responses to each location. There weren’t really any metrics to measure guest recovery efforts besides seeing who responded.
- Roy Rogers: Customers would need to visit the website and fill out a form, and then the customer service team will respond to the form submissions via email. The feedback was not in real time, and it was difficult managing huge volumes of email responses.
2. How did your guest recovery methods change after using Tattle?
- MOD Pizza: While the basic process of responding to customer feedback hasn’t really changed, our stores now simply had more access and were able to respond first and recover their own guests. Guest relationships team would still be spearheading guest recovery to take the stress away from location-level operations teams, and they’re responsible for maintaining the consistency in the tone and language that best represent the brand.
- Roy Rogers: They’re predominantly responding to guests via emails within the Tattle dashboard, and Tattle’s automated guest response mechanism saves so much time than manually responding to each email one by one. Roy Rogers was able to accelerate the response time from 3 days to within minutes.
3. What do you think is the lowest-hanging fruit, or the one thing, that restaurants should start doing to see better guest recovery results?
- MOD Pizza: Respond to your guests sooner than later. Try to respond within a 24-hour window. Since MOD started responding to guests sooner within Tattle, they’ve noticed that geusts are more willing to return, and the operations teams can also understand the incident better. Also, make sure you are empathizing with the exact incident insteading of just sending over a canned response.
- Roy Rogers: Brands should really focus on the customer service after a bad experience happens, because these guests require more care when their needs were not met. Teams handling customer communications need to avoid being dismissive, and try to go above and beyond to listen and empathize.
4. Were there any challenges when it comes to implementing new processes across different restaurant units? How did you tackle those challenges?
- MOD Pizza: Educating stores on Tattle and how to use efficiently. We created training materials on how to respond to guests, what responses look like in the recovery process and more. We hired more people on the customer relations team and slowly transitioned the customer response responsibilities from districts to the customer relations team.
- Roy Rogers: Previously we were relying on Google reviews to understand guest sentiments, and those were not sectioned by location. With Tattle, you can group by location or group, so each DM can oversee all stores under their surveillance. A challenge is coming to consensus on “brand voice” in our recovery responses. We looked at some other successful brands like Wendy’s Twitter presence and formulated our own.
5. Are there any lessons you’ve learned from implementing guest recovery processes at your brand?
- MOD Pizza: You can’t assume that people are lying in their complaints. I have some unique store-level experiences and know that sometime those experiences aren’t that far-fetched! You have to be open-minded to their complaints, and really listen to make them feel heard.
- Roy Rogers: Not to assume that the only way to recover guests is by giving out free food. Sometimes guests might even feel insulted by that, when all they want is to be heard! People hate to feel dismissed; so actually hearing them out matters — don’t just assume that they’re looking for free items.
6. How are you measuring the effectiveness of guest recovery at your restaurants?
- MOD Pizza: Measuring speed is important, and we want to make sure that every guest is responded to. We also try to adhere to the brand standards among guest relations teams. We even have a “Tattle Paddle” award that we use to recognize locations that are doing a great job.
- Roy Rogers: Tattle metrics show success of recovery, such as time to review, time to respond, satisfaction with the reply, and number of guests recovered.
7. What advice do you have for restaurants who want to have a more systematic approach to guest recovery in 2023?
- MOD Pizza: Set up formalized procedures on how to recover guests. Clearly communicate to your teams the expected manners and time frames to make sure there’s consistency in your guest recovery standards.
- Roy Rogers: I recommend that brands work with District Managers (chain of stores), and clearly determining responsibilities between them and customer relations team on who should handle what type of guest feedback. And yes — setting expectations on how to respond to guests is very important.
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