While it is widely accepted that gaining feedback from customers is of benefit to any business, it is how it is captured that can be the challenge.
At a round table discussion hosted by BigHospitality and in association with InMoment last month, marketing directors from hotel, restaurant and pub groups shared their tips for gathering feedback and said incentivising and using simple, speedy ways were the best.
"Incentivising is key to getting feedback," said Zoe Knowles, group marketing director at ETM Group. "Because everyone is busy, you need to give them a reason to tell you what they think. It's a cynical view, but one that works. It doesn't have to cost your business much."
"Incentivising does make a difference, but we've also tried to make that journey smoother," added Busaba Eathai development director Joel Falconer, whose company has linked its payment app with customer experience optimisation platform InMoment to gather feedback.
InMoment's head of business development Steve Raher said incentives 'don't have to be huge'.
"It’s more about thanking customers for giving you two or three minutes of their time to tell you what they think," he said.
La Tasca operations director James Picton said the level of feedback received by the 41-strong chain had risen by 40 per cent after it sped the process up by cutting down its questions from 15-20 to just one.
"After two or three years we found that people were tired of answering that many questions, so we turned things around and decided to ask just one simple question which was 'would you recommend us?'," he said.
Raher said also being able to respond to comments quickly and use the feedback customers had bothered to pass on were invaluable for operators.
“What’s really important is that you act on feedback and that the customer can see that you’ve made improvements based on their comments," he said.
“Operators need to make it visible to customers that they value feedback and in order to do that the customer has to believe that the brand regards their feedback as important. It’s about having a continuous loop with the brand acting on the feedback and then allowing the customer to see the improvement.
“Some of InMoment’s clients will publish customer feedback on their websites so customers can personally see it is important and that the brand is dealing with it.”
To read the full round-table discussion: How to listen to your customers - overcoming the challenge of gathering customer feedback in a fast-paced world, click here.