It’s no secret industries of all kinds are currently experiencing hiring challenges. The impact these woes are having on our world is immense. Packages are late. Grocery shelves are empty. Day cares are downsizing. Restaurants are closing. When these things happen, conflict is sure to follow. But with a little extra effort put into transparency and communication, customer relationships can be salvaged.
For example’s sake, let’s take a closer look at an industry the Obsidian team is quite familiar with – the restaurant industry. According to the National Restaurant Association, this sector has 1 million fewer employees than it did in 2019. And, revenues are down by a whopping $65 billion from two years ago. When times are tough, changes must be made that will undoubtedly impact guests. This is where transparency and communication come in. Follow me here.
When staffing is low, a restaurant can only seat as many people as it can properly serve. This means there may be a 30-minute wait even though tables are open. Instead of assuming the guests understand this or reacting when asked why there is a wait when seating is clearly available, arm your hosts with talking points. It may seem like overkill, but when tempers flare due to long wait times, hosts can become flustered. Thoughtfully crafted talking points show sincerity and transparency so guests know the team wants to operate at full capacity, but simply can’t sacrifice quality of service provided. Interior signage can be displayed to reiterate these points, as well.
Now, let’s look externally. If a guest who is upset about slow service or long wait times voices displeasure on a review site, respond quickly. Refer to the talking points to help craft a response and encourage the reviewer to contact you via email or phone. This takes any future negative commentary offline.
Speaking of the internet, let’s talk about keeping your online presence up to date. When staffing is low, service offerings may change. If hours have been reduced or menus have been adjusted, it is crucial that you have your online presence reflect those things. Think updating hours on the website, review sites, Google Business, social media profiles and more. Displaying conflicting information across channels will undoubtedly lead to confusion and customers going elsewhere.
Even if you are not operating in the restaurant industry, these ideas can be adjusted slightly to positively impact your business. Perhaps you arm your customer service representatives with those talking points I mentioned or you include a pop-up message on your website that speaks to potential shipping delays. No matter the marketplace you’re in, it’s all about transparency and communication.