Upset customers are inevitable no matter what part of the foodservice industry you work in, including if you own a food truck. How you deal with them is key to your success as a business owner.
Do you own a food truck? Are you thinking of buying one or entering the service industry in another capacity? You will need to know how to handle these situations.
Remember, word of mouth is key to growing a new business. If you are rude to unhappy customers, you will garner a business-damaging reputation.
Read on for five ways to deal with angry customers.
1. The Customer Is Never Wrong, Right?
Customer service is as important as any other aspect of the food service business.
The common phrase is that the customer is always right. A better way to think about this when dealing with upset customers in foodservice is that rather than always being right, the customer is never wrong.
Every customer has different tastes and expectations. If they think your food is salty, under or overcooked, they are not wrong. It’s how they feel or what they think.
Understanding this key difference will give you the right mindset to succeed in customer satisfaction.
2. Drop Your Defenses
You may have spent hard hours planning your menu, prepping, and preparing the food you serve on any given day. Because of this, you may take a customer complaint personally.
Don’t fall into this trap. While you should be proud of the food you serve, you need to drop your defensiveness when dealing with an angry customer.
These interactions, like interactions you have with happy customers, are business transactions.
3. Really Listen
Food truck customer service is like any other form of customer service. When people have a complaint, they want to be heard.
To effectively deal with angry or upset customers, brush up on your listening skills. Diffuse an antagonistic situation by looking someone in the eyes to let them know what they say is important to you.
4. Own the Complaint
Whether you feel you are actually responsible for a customer complaint doesn’t matter. The customer has come and complained to you.
As the owner of a food truck business, the buck stops with you no matter the nature of the complaint.
The best way to own a complaint is to offer a sincere apology. Apologizing is a huge step toward resolving any issue.
5. Offer a Solution
In foodservice, the de-escalation of an upset customer comes down to a solution. After you’ve listened and apologized, you need to be willing to offer a solution to the problem, and quickly.
Sometimes this means preparing a new dish. This may not be possible in the tight confines of a food truck where many dishes have been prepped and batched for service.
In this case, if an alternative is available, offer it at no additional cost.
Sometimes neither of these solutions will appease an angry customer. If so, you must give a refund.
Upset customers are inevitable in the foodservice business. How you deal with them plays an important role in the success of your food truck.
There are plenty of food truck businesses that offer great food. To set yourself apart, make sure you treat your customers with respect.
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