5 Tips for Waiters to Handle Complaints…
Whether you’re a waiter, senior waiter, captain, manager or general manager of a restaurant or hotel no matter the size there is one thing that we all have to deal with whether we like it or not is a complaint!
Complaints are unavoidable, it’s more of a ‘WHEN’ than an ‘IF’ situation.
But since the type of complaint is always different, will these tips for waiters always work?
YES! It’s like riding a bike or driving a car. No matter the average it gives or the power inside the bike or car there are some things that don’t change. They all have an accelerator, a break & a clutch and it all works in the same way.
Here are 5 Tips I always give during F&B Service & Housekeeping training.
1. Make the Most Out of Complaints – Every complaint is an opportunity to learn. The details of each complaint should be noted down by the waiter or a manager and should be spoken about (not hidden or covered up) at the time of Restaurant briefing or Training.
This will help in preventing mistakes in future and also shows areas that need improvement. Try not to think of a complaint as negative. Instead, think of it as a way to improve yourself and make your company better.
2. Check your emotions – A person who is complaining is already upset. So, it is very important that you remain calm. You’re a professional. Becoming emotional (angry,, irritable, defensive…) while handling a complaint will only increase the size of the problem. If the guest is complaining about a certain waiter or housekeeper, immediately move them out of the scene if you feel it will lower the amount of anger or irritation from the guests side and especially if the waiter/housekeeper is arguing, defending or retaliating negatively.
3. Acknowledge – All guests want to feel like they are being listened to. And especially a guest with a complaint. Acknowledge them and their complaint no matter how unreasonable it may seem. Believe me when I tell you (as a former restaurant manager and owner) you can only calm a guest down after you make them feel heard and understood.
4. Be Accountable – The truth can hurt. As someone who has been on the receiving end of a lot of complaints, I know that the first thing that comes to mind is a bunch of excuses. Many of us don’t like to admit when we’re wrong but a lot of the times it’s necessary for our own growth and learning. If a person has a complaint that is within your control then you need to hold yourself accountable for that. Take responsibility to assure your guest that the complaint will get resolved.
5.Offer a fair resolution – Solutions are going to vary as per the complaint you receive. Sometimes, your hands are tied on what you can do. But, make sure the guest understands you’ll come to a fair solution in which both the guest and the restaurant WIN. Other times you may offer something that the guest is more than happy with. However if the guest and the restaurant is unable to come to a WIN-WIN solution it’s important that you walk away from the situation knowing that you did your best to please the guest. More times than often, your best is enough.
These were 5 Tips you could use to make yourself a better Complaint Handler. But, just reading about it is not going to make you a better complaint handler. To really take something from this, I need you to think about the last 3 complaints you encountered and how you could apply these 5 tips to improve the complaint handling process
God Bless Keep Rockin & Roaarrin!