10 things you need to survive the feedback economy

Feedback can be a boon or bane for businesses today. Ordamo's Danny Potter explains.

The UK hospitality and leisure industry could boost the economy by £3.2 billion over the course of the next decade by improving how customer feedback is used.

As consumer appetite for eating and drinking out of home continues to grow at pace, so will the feedback economy. It is therefore paramount that operators arm themselves with the tools to survive and achieve that all important economic boom.

For operators looking to embrace the power of customer feedback, here are top tips to get started. 

Review your reviews

Recent insight from CGA Peach found that only three in five operators monitor review sites, yet they continue to be adopted as the leading research tool by consumers in search of dining out options. So the message to operators here has to be ‘ignore them at your peril.’

Use the right feedback technology 

The ability to call upon customer feedback which is bespoke to an operators requirements, has to be high on the agenda for every restaurant brand. With the use of technology, operators can strategically design the feedback process to mirror their exact requirements.

Support your servers 

Employees are at the core of every successful restaurant operation. However, they need the tools, training and constructive feedback in order to do their job well. Operators are missing a valuable weapon in the war to deliver a ‘best in class’ experience for customers. Operators are now able to utilise technology to create visibility around staff upselling, speed of service and efficiency as well as who is the highest rated amongst customers to deliver that all important experience. After all, who is better poised to provide customer feedback than the staff speaking with them every day?

Respond with speed 

Responding to customer feedback quickly is as important as serving orders promptly. Operators, therefore, need to strike while the iron is hot, so as not to diminish the experience they worked so hard to achieve.

Embracing the feedback economy

As consumer appetite for eating and drinking out of home continues to grow at pace, so will the feedback economy. As we enter an age of customer experience dashboards, consumer expectations will increase tenfold, which in turn means operators need to dramatically improve their ability to monitor and respond to online feedback.

Embrace data 

It’s well-known within hospitality that the marketplace is close to saturated and competition rife. It’s a crucial time for operators to embrace the power of data. Today, with the use of smart technology, it is possible for operators to gain real-time insight into a customer’s behavior, likes and dislikes.   It’s possible to find out a customer’s favourite dish, even going as far as to document the dishes they looked at but decided not to order. Powerful indeed! At the very least, operators should be adopting technology to gather customer feedback and sentiment after dining.

Socialise with your customers

The power of Social Media cannot be ignored in today’s digital age.    Consumers are turning to social media – hungry at the prospect of leaving and receiving gratification for a good review, whilst also expecting an instant response to a bad one.

A recent conference within the industry looked at ‘How Diners make Decisions’. The insight, in conjunction with insights, strategy and creative consultancy, MORAR, revealed that over 20 per cent of customers shared their experience on social media following their most recent visit to a branded restaurant outlet. It is, therefore, crucial for operators to identify and monitor these channels in order to protect and, indeed, uphold the reputation of their brand.

Show customers where to go 

Asked in person at the end of a meal, many customers will not want to be rude and so their feedback will often be tempered by a desire not to offend.   But don’t let that be an excuse to shy away from customer feedback. Our data suggests that up to 15% of customers will provide immediate feedback directly if prompted in the right way in a restaurant. This could be filling out a marketing form, leaving a business card for a promotion, or through an app.   Feedback is a valuable commodity to operators, irrespective of whether it is negative or positive as it provides a platform to better understand the customer. It is vital for operators to make the opportunity easy and accessible to customers.

Give individual dishes a platform

Real-time customer feedback enables operators to trial new dishes with customers. In the case of a multi-site operator, it enables them to test the water with customers before rolling out across their estate. Operators need to be mindful that the most ordered dish may not necessarily translate to a customer’s favourite dish. A dish that’s ordered a lot but which the customers don’t like is not one to roll out!   However, through the use of technology, customers can provide feedback on individual dishes, thus providing operators with valuable insight at the menu planning stage.

Actions speak louder than words

All the feedback in the world means nothing unless it is used, in the short-term, to fix immediate customer sore points, in the medium term to update training methods, and in the long-term, to develop a more informed Customer Engagement Strategy.  Create a culture in your business of listening to and acting upon your customers’ feedback on a regular basis.


Danny Potter is the CEO of Ordamo.

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda was Editor for GrowthBusiness.co.uk from 2016 to 2018.

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Customer Service