If You Don’t Care…Heres Why You Should
Caring should be rule #1 in your business
After reading Gary Vaynerchuk’s “Thank You Economy”, I have officially become the biggest believer in caring. You may be asking caring about what? Your business? Your family? Your customers? The answer is simple. Everything. You should care about everything that you do. For the sake of this post, we are going to focus primarily on business and of course in the specifically in the restaurant industry.
We live in a day of age, where it is almost extremely easy to find a disgruntled customer online and convert them to an avid spokesperson to your brand/restaurant. I find it hard to believe that despite the success of FaceBook, Twitter and even Instagram that so many restaurants and companies still don’t believe in social media. These same restaurants and brands will invest thousands in traditional media which still costs a ton of money but won’t spend a dime on social media.
Social media gives you metrics and analytics that traditional media simply cannot provide you. But besides all the mumbo jumbo about numbers, social media allows you to connect and care about every individual who has ever dealt with your brand/restaurant. People are talking on social media and there is no way around it. In my opinion, I think this is an amazing feat that allows all business owners to really show customers they care. As a brand/restaurant, it is extremely easy to find who is talking about you or brand. All it takes is a simple search on Facebook or Twitter or even Instagram and you can find tons of comments and tweets related to your brand/restaurant.
By using something as simple as a search bar, you can interact with each and every single person who has gone out to your restaurant and had something to say whether it be positive or negative. If its positive, you can thank them for their visit. If its negative, you can engage them, see what went wrong and invite them back to make things better. In reality, how long would that take you? Its super simple and super effective. You can show both happy and unhappy customers you care and invite them back for a special visit as way of thanking them. The beautiful thing is doing something special for them while immediately make them an advocate of your restaurant.
Even using a platform such as Yelp can help you fizzle out some disgruntled customers. Although Yelp is a bit more complex because it has become a platform that is notorious for faux reviews in order to bad mouth businesses. Regardless there is plenty of opportunities on there to do some great work. Something that truly stood out to me was an experience I had with Red Lobster. I tweeted something about how delicious I found the coconut shrimp and within minutes, the official twitter account for Red Lobster tweeted back about they were happy I enjoyed it. Super simple, but it shows that they care and they are taking the right steps by engaging each and every customer that cares enough to talk about them.
As a restaurant owner, your focus shouldn't just be on social media. I pray that you care enough to see an unhappy customer leaving your restaurant and you right the wrongs. It should never get to the point where someone has to blast you on social media in order for you to react. Sometimes when it gets to that point, it might be too little, too late and you lost that customer for good.
Any opportunity you get, should be focused on visiting every table at the restaurant and asking how is everything. Show the customers that you care and that doesn’t mean just give them free stuff. You want to win over your customers with empathy, not by buying them. Get to know them on a personal level and let them know if they ever come to visit to ask for you. Make it a point to try and remember the faces. Even if you don’t, treat them like you do. Customers love feeling like they’re important and who better to do that than, you, the restaurant owner. Those people will come back more and more, with friends and families and you will truly see the power of what a little bit of caring can get you. By caring, you get an invaluable tool in your arsenal and thats the power of word of mouth. They will talk about you and your business till they are blue in the face.
If you take anything from this post, is to care a little more than you already do. It can be the biggest difference maker between running a successful business and one that fails. Make your customers, in any industry, feel important. Make them feel like their business matters (which it should because they’re putting the money in your pockets). The more you care, the more your customers will reward you with their business, which should be the goal for any business.