How To Manage and Reduce Customer Churn During COVID-19

Social distancing, mask-wearing, financial worries, and general caution about dining in public have devastated the restaurant industry. There were 51 percent fewer seated diners in restaurants at the end of 2020 than the same period the year before. Things could get worse in the coming months, which is the least busy time of the year for the sector. Now, restaurateurs need to think up new ways to avoid closure. Managing customer churn — the number of customers that stop eating at your restaurant — has never been more critical.

The current situation might tempt you to cancel the technology that keeps your restaurant running, such as customer feedback software. Read on to learn why this is a bad idea.

Customer Feedback Software Improves Customer Retention

The restaurant industry took a colossal hit in 2020, so customer retention was crucial. It still is. Research suggests that just a 5 percent boost in retention increases profits by up to 95 percent. With falling revenues across the industry, improving customer retention might be enough to prevent restaurants from having to shut their doors for good.

Using a customer feedback platform improves retention by tracking customer experiences in real-time. Learn what customers like (and don’t like) about eating at your restaurant and keep them coming back time and time again. Retention360 is an all-encompassing customer retention solution that listens to the people who eat at your restaurant and, therefore, reduces churn. 

Customer Feedback Helps You Adapt to Industry Changes

The restaurant industry transformed in 2020. Diners swapped sit-down meals for take-outs, exercised general caution when eating at restaurants, and tightened food budgets. The pandemic altered consumer behaviorhow, where, and what people eat. 

Expect these changes to last well into 2021 as restaurateurs adapt to the “new normal.” So much has changed over the last 12 months, it’s difficult to know just what diners want when they visit your restaurant. But customer feedback software will help.

A platform like Retention360 lets you collect, track, and then analyze feedback so you can change your restaurant operations based on the concerns and suggestions raised by your most valuable customers. This software prevents customer churn and helps you increase ROI. 

Customer Retention Software Manages Negative Feedback

Ninety percent of customers read online reviews before visiting a business like yours, and 88 percent trust these reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends and family. Negative reviews can have a detrimental impact on your restaurant, so you must manage all feedback — the good, the bad, and the ugly — on Facebook, Google, Yelp, and other websites. 

Replying to negative reviews can be difficult, especially if you think the feedback was unjustified. But communicating with former diners proves your commitment to customer satisfaction and reduces customer churn. (One study suggests that replying to reviews reduces churn by 15 percent.) 

Here are some tips for responding to customer reviews: 

  • Acknowledge the complaint. 
  • Apologize for any mistakes or unsatisfactory experiences. 
  • Use the negative review as an opportunity to show you care about your customers. Other people will view you positively if you effectively manage a complaint. 
  • Ask the customer to contact you via private message or email to discuss the problem further. 
  • Ask the customer to edit or update their review after you successfully manage the issue. 
  • Try to stay positive. All restaurateurs receive negative feedback from time to time. 

Another way to manage customer reviews is to use a platform like Retention360. This software lets you track customer communication in one place, making it easier to identify negative feedback. It also alerts you (or someone from your customer success team) when a diner posts a negative review or feedback requires an immediate response. As a result, you can reduce customer churn and improve customer success.  

Final Word

It’s a tough time for restauranteurs right now, but there’s no need to abandon the technology that powers your business. Using a customer feedback platform isn’t an unnecessary expense but a powerful weapon that reduces customer churn during this extraordinary time. Customer feedback software like Retention360 improves customer retention, helps you adapt to industry changes, and manages negative online complaints.

Are you trying to reduce customer churn during COVID-19? Learn more about Retention360 here.

Tony Castiglione

Tony Castiglione