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Holiday Season

7 Ways to Improve Sales and Customer Retention for this Holiday Season

The festive holiday season has arrived. People are drowning themselves in the energy of back to back celebrations. These few holiday season months can account for a major portion of the annual revenue for many restaurant and bar owners. Each holiday season uniquely offers an opportunity to increase both sales and regular customers.

" The only purpose of 'customer service'… is to change feelings." -Seth Godin

Here are seven proven ways for restaurant and bar owners to boost their business sales through a customer service quality based approach.

1. The power of branding lies in the hands of each customer

Each customer is a marketing channel to spread good words about your business and services. When you focus on your customer service practices, you will help in building a strong relationship with your customers. The customer relationship will directly influence your customers' future patronage decision. Customers often interact and share with others about their good or bad experiences which can in turn influence others about trying your business or not.

2. Employ Warm Hearted Energetic People

A restaurant can't survive in a competitive industry without focusing on its customer service quality. The first step to any excellent customer service program starts with your staff. Help your staff to be more customer service oriented in what they do and how they think. Hire a warm-hearted and energetic person that can balance the busy season with a helpful welcoming smile. Your customers will always remember an excellent service experience if your staff made them feel good during the process.

3. Organize Professional Training for Your Staff

Remember that employees cannot perform when they do not understand what they are doing, what they are expected to do and how to do. Therefore, allow your employees to showcase their best by providing them the required cross training and other development needs. For example, your staff should be aware of how to handle overcrowded days with an organized approach and guidelines to managing such situation. If you expect that your employees can perform exceptionally without any professional training, then it is impractical.

4. Be Attentive to Customer Needs

One of the major complaints by customers is to look for and wait to get service longer than he/she expected. To solve this issue, you can divide your customer sitting area into smaller sections to assign one or a team of employees to manage their respective section. Train the employees on how to be attentive and provide incentives. In this way, no customer will feel neglected.

5. Improve Your Relationship with Your Staff

There are times when your team performs more than your expectations. Take this as an opportunity to show appreciation for their hard work. A common practice is the "Employee of the Month" model where an employee is publicly recognized via a plaque with their name showing appreciation for their hard work. Empower your employees to share their thoughts and ideas on how to improve customer service. If you can keep your staff engage and happy then it will definitely reflect on your restaurant's customer service quality.

6. Enough Staff during Busy Seasonal Months

The holiday season usually is the best time for restaurants and bars to increase their sales and customers because of the many company holiday events and the celebratory mood everyone is in. A common pitfall for many businesses is to not hire enough seasonal employees (part-time or temporary) to maintain the same level of customer service quality. Consider at least one extra part-time or temporary seasonal employee during the busy seasonal months.

7. Ask for Customer’s Feedback

To improve on customer service quality, businesses provide ways through which customers can share their experiences. From a paper customer feedback form to an online feedback survey form or soliciting reviews on their social media accounts like Facebook or Yelp, there are many different feedback channels to utilize to better understand your customers' invaluable thoughts about their experience. Always continue to try to improve your customer service quality based on the customer's feedback.

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