Truth Talks

Truth Talks

Could real-time, immediate and anonymous feedback from customers change the way you manage your operation forever?

So, you run a successful business in the hospitality industry – be it a full service restaurant, lively pub or bar, or perhaps the food and beverage offering within a hotel – and for years you’ve been gauging customer satisfaction by ensuring front of house staff regularly check in with customers during their meal.

This is when they’ve usually got a mouth full of food or are in mid-conversation, so are most likely to automatically say, ‘Everything’s fine, thanks’, unless they’re really unhappy with an aspect of their visit. Table cards are even less appealing, as few people have the time to fill out a questionnaire, however small, and are unwilling to leave their email address ready to be contacted by your marketing team.

You’ll no doubt hear from the complainers, who are completely dissatisfied with their experience and ready to vocalise on Twitter or TripAdvisor, but these are thankfully equal-weighted with positive comments from people keen to share the excellent service and food they received.

But have you ever considered the quiet customers? These diners make up the majority of your visitors and count for a major part of your business, yet until now it’s been difficult to access their reaction to customer service and overall experience with any real success.

The real result

This was true for the team at The Real Greek at Westfield shopping centre in Shepherd’s Bush, which pioneered the rollout of truRating technology made possible using Global Payments’ card terminals.

truRating is a new way of reaching out to every paying customer, asking for a completely anonymous answer that takes literally one second of their time before entering their pin to pay for a meal. That’s all there is to it.

The technology has been uploaded to The Real Greek’s card payment terminals and has caused minimal disruption to the staff and, importantly, to customers. Typically, around 2% of customers leave feedback relating to their experience during a visit to a venue. But with the implementation of truRating, The Real Greek is currently experiencing at least an 80% uptake of customers choosing to leave feedback while paying for their meal. Prizes can be added to the system – for example, money off a future meal – and customers can choose to take advantage of these by following details provided at the bottom of their receipt.

Introducing truRating to the operation at The Real Greek has had little impact on the usual running of the restaurant, both from a staff and customer perspective. This is mainly due to the fact that the software option was uploaded to the Global Payments terminals that were already being used by the workforce, which is equipment that they were already used to and customers were familiar with. A short training session was provided to ensure that staff were adequately equipped with the knowledge to answer customer questions, but the reaction so far seems to be that customers have taken to the added question with ease, in a similar way to the request for an optional gratuity payment.

“It was easy to get going because we didn’t have to do anything extra,” comments The Real Greek’s general manager Monika Domanska. “But it helps that as managers we are passionate about it. The team operates it automatically now, so even on a busy shift during a Friday night, it doesn’t cause any delay or any other issue. If you have a problem with a shift, you can just go to the management dashboard to look at the data, and read it like a book.”

It takes just one second to press 0-9 (represented with happy and sad faces) in agreement or disagreement with one question selected at random by the Global Payments terminal, from a bank of five core questions set by the management at the restaurant. These could centre on server experience, food quality, atmosphere and surroundings. An optional two further questions are also programmable; managers can gauge diners’ reactions to a new special dish on trial, perhaps, utilising this large sample of responses before making a major investment or change.

“We have had customer cooperation,” explains David Page, chairman of Fulham Shore Plc, which backs The Real Greek. “We wondered if customers might get a bit miffed about being asked questions, but obviously they don’t mind because we wouldn’t get over 80% filling it in when they have the option to pass it completely; this is scientific, whereas TripAdvisor is an emotional platform.”

It’s worth noting here, that although there are a total of seven questions available, a customer will only ever be asked one question per payment. The ability to use Global Payments terminals to receive data through truRating means that managers have access to daily data that communicates how customers are reacting to their experience within the venue in near real-time.

“For me, I can see which shifts are better and which are worse, and this helps me to evaluate the staff as well as other factors in the entire shift,” agrees Domanska.
The quantifiable nature of this 0-9 information, as opposed to sifting through emotive reactions online or through quick snippets of conversation, means that practical measures can be put in place by managers, who can work directly with staff once they’ve analysed the correlation between customer satisfaction and the day’s workforce, weather, and any other variable that may have had an impact.

A true reflection of customer experience has never been so clear for The Real Greek; at one point it had gathered more data from customer feedback in one week than it was able to accumulate in four years on review sites. Could mystery shoppers be a thing of the past? With 95% of customers leaving the restaurant confirming they would definitely rate again on their next visit, it seems so.

Call Global Payments on 0800 731 8921* for more information
Register with truRating before 31 May and pay no set up fee**

*Lines open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.
**subject to terms and conditions.