Research shows hospitality operators could benefit by linking staff and guest feedback

By Lauren Houghton contact

- Last updated on GMT

Source: CGA Peach/InMoment Customer Engagement Survey 2014
Source: CGA Peach/InMoment Customer Engagement Survey 2014

Related tags: Business

New research released by CGA Peach for customer experience specialists InMoment shows that few operators in the food and drink industry link customer and employee engagement, but both are vital in business strategy.  

The survey polled almost 100 senior executives from restaurant and bar chains. It showed that more than 90 per cent of companies cited guest feedback as a top five performance indicator, and 95 per cent believe employee engagement is ‘very important’ in driving customer engagement. However, only 16 per cent of those businesses surveyed correlate their employee engagement against their customer satisfaction.

The most common methods of measuring staff engagement were by staff turnover and exit interview, instead of engaging the employees while they were still in the workplace.

Vice president of CGA Peach Peter Martin said: “With the customer experience so dependent on service and staff quality, not to mention employee morale, this appears a major gap in the market’s insight. There’s a need for more joined-up thinking, especially when it comes to front-line teams.”

Sharing feedback

A large 71 per cent of business leaders were shown to see employee recognition and reward as a key method for driving positive frontline growth, and two thirds believe involving in-store teams in finding solutions for the business also helps. However, only six in ten of them shared real-time feedback with store and site managers.

“With frontline teams in restaurants and pubs responsible for delivering those great customer experiences, and with those same staff being the main contact point with the paying public, building better two-way communication between head office and site managers about their customers could become the biggest opportunity to gain competitive advantage,” explained Martin.

Survey recommendations

The survey shows that a systematic approach to staff and guest engagement is necessary for businesses to get more insight into improving themselves. The recommendations that emerged from it are:  

  • Businesses should improve board-level buy-in and must lead from the top to suceed at the front
  • Human resources, marketing and operations departments must converse more with each other and share data, particularly that which combines customer and employee feedback
  • Firms should link employee recognition and reward to customer key performance indicators
  • They should introduce real-time feedback to managers and teams on the frontline
  • Businesses must gain a better understanding of what drives engagement

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