How to Regain Your Customer’s Loyalty After a Bad Experience

As a restaurant, nothing hurts your business quite like an unhappy customer. Not only is the success of your restaurant centered around them, they hold the power to showcase it in a very negative light. Websites such as Yelp and Amazon provide unhappy customers a very public platform to rant about your business. However, the worst way to respond to an unhappy customer is to ignore the situation.

Check out these alternative responses that will turn your unhappy customer into a happy and loyal one.

1. More Fixing, Less Pointing

It’s an automatic response to explain who’s at fault when a customer complains about bad service. It doesn’t matter that half the wait staff called off or that your supply delivery was late again — the customer simply doesn’t care. Instead of making every attempt to shift the blame to everyone but the restaurant, focus on fixing the problem.

  • Acknowledge the customer’s concerns and apologize, even if it wasn’t your restaurant’s fault — however, apologizing doesn’t mean you need to wrongfully admit fault.
  • Then, graciously and empathically discuss how you can make the situation better for the customer.

2. Go Above and Beyond

customer loyalty restaurant

Have you ever been pleasantly surprised by a business’s response to your complaint? It’s almost enough to make you forget what you were upset about in the first place!

Most customers have come to learn that the standard response to their complaint is some type of compensation so make sure to meet those expectations. A lifelong customer could be at stake!

  • Go above and beyond for your unhappy customer by offering a free meal for their entire family or a complete refund plus coupons
  • The extra service will make them feel heard and valued — and most likely, they’ll be happy to return.

3. Take Their Online Gripes, Offline

This is an immensely valuable tactic that many restaurants miss out on. Sometimes, a customer won’t express their discontent right away — instead, they do it as soon as they’re in front of a computer screen. Online platforms such as Yelp and FourSquare have become multi-billion dollar corporations because customers love to tell the world how unhappy they are with their service. Many restaurants feel that this is out of their control but smart businesses have started to monitor bad online reviews as a way to offer world-class customer service.

  • Respond to bad reviews online by offering the customer a free meal or a complete refund
  • Monitor all reviews, including good ones, to ensure that your loyal and happy customers stay that way

A happy customer is a loyal customer and loyal customers attract new customers. Since bad customer service news travels fast, it’s great to know that as a business owner you have the power to change the conversation.

This post was originally published to the ChowNow Blog on September 1, 2016.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.