As a fast food manager, one of your main responsibilities is to handle customer complaints. Most of these complaints can be quickly solved but there will always be a few customers who are difficult to please. Here is some advice on what you should do when handling customer complaints.
Here are ten things you should do when handling customer complaints.
Listen to the customer
Let the customer speak
Watch your tone!
Offer solutions (and freebies)
Record all complaints
Learn from customer complaints
Always be dressed professionally
1. Always apologise
Apologise from the start. The customer has complained because they are unhappy with the service. Just by providing a meaningful apology, you can calm the customer down and they will be more receptive to solutions.
2. Stay calm
Even if the customer loses their temper or starts swearing, it's important you stay calm. By getting angry with the customer, you will quickly lose control of the situation and it will look bad for your restaurant. Bad and aggressive managers can deter customers from returning and these customers will likely spread negative reviews which will result in less profits in future.
3. Listen to the customer
Even though it is an obvious point, you'd be surprised how many managers don't actually listen to their customers (or even their employees).
When dealing with a customer complaint, listen to them so you can identify why they're unhappy and provide the best solution. Just by showing you're actively listening, customers will appreciate that you're listening to what they have to say and feel like you care about their issues.
4. Let the customer speak
While you may be eager to speak and give the customer a solution, you need to let them speak first. Don't interrupt or speak over them. Interrupting an angry customer can worsen the situation and when handling a customer complaint, it's your responsibility to ensure it doesn't get out of control. Even if the customer is angry, let them speak and remain calm.
Important note: if the customer starts to threaten violence then politely ask them to leave and/or contact the police.
5. Ask questions
Once the customer has explained their unhappiness, ask them relevant questions about it so you can identify other issues and determine what is the best solution. For example, if they are complaining their food is cold, ask them what time they got it and what they ordered. With this information you can determine whether the kitchen is responsible for serving the food cold and you can get a replacement meal.
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6. Watch your tone!
When speaking to the customer, be careful with the tone you use. Speaking in a passive aggressive tone or coming across like you don't care will really upset the customer. The best ending to any complaint is to make the the customer feel like you have solved the issue and that you genuinely cared about their situation.
7. Offer solutions (and freebies)
Always try and solve the issue for the customer. In some cases, the customer may just want to complain and leave, they're not interested in getting a replacement meal. But in most cases, the customer will be expecting a solution to their complaint.
For example, if their meal was badly made, they may want a replacement or a refund.
As a manager, you will be able to offer freebies, discounts or provide a good will gesture to help the customer feel better.
8. Record all complaints
Every complaint should be recorded. That way they can be referred to again in future. In some cases, you may identify there is a recurring issue that is causing customers to complain. Is the same employee acting unprofessionally or is there an area of the restaurant that has been considered hazardous? On a negative note, customer complaints can be used as evidence when you're terminating an employee's contract.
It's useful to record all complaints because if you have the same customer kicking off in your restaurant every month so they can get freebies, you need to have evidence you can use to show they're being dishonest.
9. Learn from customer complaints
Customer complaints shouldn't just be recorded and hidden away. They can be used to improve the overall productivity and profits of your restaurant. Complaints can help highlight weaknesses and problems you can fix to improve the overall happiness of your customers.
Good Tip: In team meetings share some of the customer complaints to your employees to help them avoid making the same complaints again in future.
10. Always be dressed professionally
To be a great fast food manager, you should always be dressed professionally. When handling customer complaints, customers will expect you to look smart and authoritative otherwise they will have no respect for you. By dressing smartly, making sure your clothes are clean and ironed, you will look more professional and customers will be more responsive to what you have to say.
Fast food managers are expected to dress professionally, follow the dress code and wear slip-resistant shoes. Restaurants have a higher risk of having slippery and wet floors but with slip-resistant manager shoes, you will greatly reduce the chance of suffering an accident at work.
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