Service Industry Response to Customer Surveys
I've become really impressed with some restaurant companies over the past year, and even the response of one particular hotel chain.
Firstly, I am a mystery shopper. I evaluate restaurant service, atmosphere, food taste and value. Why I have become impressed with certain restaurants is because they actually take me seriously. They don't actually know me of course, but the comments and facts I've reported on my evaluations are dealt with and with impressive speed.
Mystery Shopped Restaurants
I perform evaluations for Moxie's Classic Grill and on one occassion I reported that the restaurant parking lot was disgusting because there were cigarette butts, garbage (wrappers and paper), and dirt gathered and stuck to the curb of their entrance and parking lot area. Within 2 days of handing in my report I saw the same Moxie's restaurant having the curb cleaned by a local cleaning company. I also complained about bird droppings on their window covers, and that was cleaned up as well.
Another restaurant, Earls Restaurant, had ripped wallpaper in their bathroom that I reported made the bathroom seem uncared for and messy. The next time I visited (a month later) there was new wallpaper in the women's washroom. I happen to know the original wallpaper cost nearly $10000 because I used to waitress there. The new one is similar in style and type so it seems they've spent the same amount. I had also reported that some of their booths were ripped, making the restaurant furniture look worn down; they were replaced as well.
McDonald's is very serious about their speed and service as well. They have restaurant mystery shops every month, surveys performed by other companies and ask their customers to answer survey questions as well.
KFC and other YUM! restaurants also take my mystery shopping evaluations seriously. One KFC I performed a shop for actually renovated their exterior. I don't know entirely if it is due to my complaining about their dirty looking stucco facade but it sure seemed like that was why they did it.
Why Businesses have Mystery Shops Performed
Now, why do these companies care so much about their image and even willing to spend thousands? Because a dirty restaurant, inside or out, makes people think that even their food is being handled the same way - dirty and without care. So companies feel that if they don't make their bathrooms look good, their facade look clean and cool, then people will be turned off and pass them by or turn away.
This is exactly what I said when I performed a Radisson restaurant shop recently. I had evaluated the restaurant and answered their questions honestly about the service, atmosphere and food. However, there was no place to make a complaint about something I very much wanted management to know about. So I put it right after the taste of food section, which is the most important part to restaurant management - at least it should be. I complained about the giant vehicle-destroying potholes they had leading up to their parking lot and how if I didn't have to do the mystery shop I wouldn't have kept driving for fear my truck would suffer damages. Well, it just so happened a friend told me that the driveway had been fixed. I did this shop 5 days ago. I was very impressed with how fast Radisson management worked. Now, I've never stayed at Radisson and I didn't like the food at the restaurant but, I appreciated that my suggestions and comments were read, taken seriously and acted upon immediately.
- Mystery Shopping needs time, money and gas. Is it worth it?
As a stay-at-home-mom I knew I was going to have a lot of work - cleaning, cooking and of course, taking care of my daughter. After a few months of doing this, I kind of got bored. Not because I wasn't busy...
Businesses Should Hire Mystery Shopping Companies
Like with all the restaurants I've shopped for, it surprises me still at how seriously companies like (the one that owns) Radisson take mystery shopping evaluations and how quickly they act upon it. I actually feel good about the "work" I am doing by improving the services (including appearances, cleanliness, etc.) companies provide its clients. The businesses mentioned above are successful because of how much they value
their customers' business. I feel it important to urge other service industry businesses to do the same - get customer feedback, take it seriously and act upon it. Not only will customers become returning customers, they will tell others and even write hubs about it without getting advertising pay.
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