According to a recent Zagat Survey , 57% of participants cited service as the weakest link in the dining-out experience, and “hospitality” of the overall dining experience as a 20 out of a possible 30. Although both these figures represent an improvement over previous results, it’s doubtful that any savvy restaurant professional would judge these to be good enough.
The data also hints at what the service experience really is—not just the ferrying of food and drink from bar and kitchen to table, but the niceties that go along with it.
Read more on restaurant guest service.
How fragile is it? Why do you support a restaurant brand? With so many restaurants competing for stomach share it is imperative to your brand’s long term success to create customers that are apostles of your brand.
A recent case-in-point. I’ve been a loyal American Airlines customer for over 25 years and during that time I have accumulated over 5 million air miles (that’s a lot!). As a long-time customer deeply entrenched in their “loyalty program,” I often times sucked-up many travel and scheduling inconveniences to support my brand of choice. In the early years I was a big fan of American and my Platinum status actually meant something to me. However, recently, I have come to experience that American does not go out of their way to make my check-in stress free, or even make me feel comfortable during the flight. Do they really care about me? With poor service like this, I don’t think so and i feel my brand loyalty is slipping away.
On a recent business trip to New York I had the opportunity to fly Virgin America. Even though I have no special VA frequent flyer privileges all I can say is “wow I was impressed!” Not only was the fare cheaper than my “choice carrier” the check in was pleasurable and stress free. Moreover, the aircraft was newer, I had free TV and Internet service. Virgin America exceeded my expectations at every given opportunity and I must say, my heart has turned to another. Simply put, a brand will only receive my loyalty if they meet and exceed my expectations, and in this instance, Virgin America won me over.
In today’s competitive environment I believe brand loyalty is extremely fragile and if you’re not exceeding your customer’s expectations, even from the smallest greeting , customer’s can and will turn away from you in an instant since there are so many other establishments that have service basics down and know how to treat a customer. Check out our previous post, It’s all about the little things, which mentions the importance of the details that will retain your customer’s loyalty.