guestXM – by Black Box Intelligence

Sourcing Valuable Customer Feedback for Restaurants

Collecting direct and indirect customer feedback, inferring insights, and operationalizing them will create the best restaurant experiences.

Understanding Omni-Channel Feedback

Direct vs. Indirect Methods

Customers aren’t shy about sharing feedback on their restaurant experience with the brands that they interact with.

Every experience along the customer journey is an opportunity for a person to comment, complain, criticize, compliment, or even congratulate. Ignoring that feedback isn’t an option – especially in today’s operating environment. For restaurants just starting to capture, analyze, and act on customer feedback, it’s important to know that there are several different forms of feedback loops. And, that not all of these feedback loops are created equal.

That’s why an omnichannel feedback strategy delivers the insights restaurants need to operationalize their feedback data and take action fast. Let’s break down the two methods of capturing customer feedback: direct and indirect.

Direct Feedback

What is Direct Feedback?

Direct feedback is customer input gathered by asking consumers what they think about a brand, product, customer service interaction, or other touchpoint along the customer journey. Another term often used to describe Direct Feedback is Voice of the Customer or “VOC” for short. Direct feedback is collected through dynamic survey tools that can automate the administration and delivery of surveys to collect and analyze feedback at scale.

What are Common Types of Direct Feedback?

  • Net Promoter Score (NPS): A Net Promoter Score asks a powerful but straightforward question: “How likely is it that you would recommend to a friend or colleague?” A restaurant’s NPS score reveals a customer’s willingness to promote the brand and is an important leading indicator of future business and revenue growth.
  • Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) Score: A Customer Satisfaction Score is a metric commonly used to indicate how satisfied customers are with a restaurant’s products, service levels, or overall experiences. The score is collected using customer satisfaction surveys that are strategically administered after an interaction along the customer journey. CSAT surveys are scored on a scale of 0% to 100% and are typically limited to only one or a few simple questions. The most common question is: How would you rate your overall satisfaction on a scale?

CSAT Scores are then aggregated over time to create a composite CSAT score — a number that is easy to keep track of if you’re running your customer feedback program through a centralized platform. Companies often benchmark their CSAT Scores and then use the American Customer Satisfaction Index to get an idea of what is typical across their industry, sector, or segment.

  • Customer Effort Score (CES): A Customer Effort Score (CES) is a measure of how easy or difficult a brand is to do business with. While this score is common among brands with contact centers, guest services, or help desks — this is another form of direct customer feedback that can be collected when and where it makes sense.

Why is Direct Feedback Important?

Direct Feedback is the first line of defense against customer attrition. Collecting, analyzing, and transforming Direct Feedback data into insights helps multi-unit restaurant brands uncover blind spots across customer interactions. These could be location-specific blind spots — they could be blind spots in the back-of-house, front-of-house, or among team leaders and managers — or they could be issues related to a product or a process that is impacting your frontline’s ability to deliver the quality and consistency of service experience your customers expect.

Indirect Feedback

What is Indirect Feedback?

Indirect feedback is customer feedback or input that the company did not solicit but is publicly available information accessed, collected, and analyzed alongside direct feedback to gain a more comprehensive view of the customer experience.

Why is Indirect Feedback Important?

Not surprisingly, indirect feedback is often more candid. Customers may feel more comfortable sharing their opinions on an experience when interacting with less formal channels like social media. Thankfully, those less formal channels can be mined by companies when the feedback is publicly available and used to get to the bottom of issues or even uncover yet undiscovered opportunities.

Which Channels does Indirect Feedback come from?

Mining for indirect feedback is more challenging than soliciting direct feedback from customers. Collecting indirect or unsolicited feedback requires intelligent VOC analytics software that leverages artificial intelligence to analyze human speech and then organizes the data into insights that can be operationalized. Indirect feedback is typically collected from three main sources or channels:

  • Service Interactions: Service interactions are recorded from channels such as voice, email, chat, or other text or voice-to-text formats. A restaurant-specific VOC analytics solution takes that information — identifies trends — and turns the indirect feedback into performance data that can be correlated to other inputs, including survey results.
  • Social Media Posts, Comments, or Messages: Modern analytics tools monitor social media to capture conversations about a brand or concept. It then turns this indirect feedback into data that can be used with other information to produce useful insights about the overall customer experience.
  • Verbatim Text: Freeform text fields provide some of the most valuable indirect feedback. They provide the “why” behind survey responses. Aggregating verbatim text and transforming it into useful data is a task analytics software can perform effectively at scale.

A Word of Caution on Indirect Feedback Collection

Because our industry is so unique, it’s important to find a solution provider that understands the restaurant space so that they can collect and make sense of the data and information on your behalf. If the solution provider collects direct and indirect feedback — but lacks the proper governance to “translate” the speech into meaningful insights — you’ll be stuck layering on other tools or hiring additional data analysts to transcribe and make the information meaningful.

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