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Do you know what your guests really think of your business?

What if you're assuming your standards are OK and your guests don't agree?

At present, you are probably basing your management decisions on comments from your customers or other forms of direct feedback. Extensive research in the US, UK and Australia has shown that this type of feedback is not likely to represent the views of your broad customer base or be terribly accurate - people seldom tell the truth in hospitality encounters if they are not happy for fear of conflict or adverse reaction.

What if there are chronic aspects of your business that are causing a problem and you don't know it?

Ask yourself a basic question: 'Is my business growing much faster than inflation?' Lack of growth is a sign that something is probably wrong - especially if you are pumping money into marketing or expensive advertising and not getting a good result.

There will be similar businesses around your area that are busy and in strong growth mode. Why are they doing so well while you are not? The answer most probably lies in public perceptions of your business. Why do people pass you by and resist trying your establishment? Why don't they give you a go? Why do they try you and not come back? What are they seeing that you can't see?

The public vote for your business with their wallets and purses. What you think of your business doesn't really matter - it's the perception of the public that will dictate your ultimate success. Do you know what they really think?

A disturbing percentage of business owners and managers think they know and will argue till they're blue in the face that they have their finger on the pulse - after all, they get direct customer feedback all the time, don't they? We've no doubt that they do, but is this feedback accurate?

The average owner or manager seems to substantially overate the performance of their restaurant, cafe, hotel or other hospitality business. It's much more than just blind loyalty to their business that causes them to overate themselves, although this is certainly a part of it. It's a combination of being that close to their business that they can't see 'the dirt in the corners', and misdirection they get from a vocal minority of their customers.

Misdirection from customers is where a business owner or manager hears a disproportionate quantity of positive feedback from customers and falls into the trap of believing it applies to most customers (often because they want to believe it).

The reality is that only a very small percentage of DISSATISFIED customers will give accurate negative feedback.

Research has indicated that 96 per cent of dissatisfied customers will not complain and 75 per cent of them will not return.

You have a control system over your accounting. Why not have a control system over the most important aspect of your business - the perceptions of your customers?

Measured, objective reports by 'mystery guests' are an invaluable and powerful management tool. They enable you to identify many concrete opportunities to improve your business.

Do you want to:

  • expand your overall customer base?
  • increase the incidence of repeat business?
  • improve or expand your customer average sale?
  • build on your reputation and elevate the quality of your establishment?
  • identify and assess new areas of sales and service opportunity?
  • ascertain what your competitors are delivering?
  • reduce the chances of a bad review in the media?

Improve your business and stay ahead of your competitors by basing your managerial decisions on measured reality - and not on risky assumptions.

"We really DO care"

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