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Restaurant Review aims to improve Cape Town's customer service

Cape Town restaurants and hotels face stiff competition amongst themselves as they vie for attention from the scores of visitors flocking to the city. But in an industry where word of mouth is vitally important to success, a lack of repeat clients due to lagging customer service is a sure sign that a restaurant isn't living up to its potential.

This is a concern for Nathalie Leonard, MD of N'lighten and creator of a product designed to address these problems by offering viable customer service solutions to Cape Town's hotels and restaurants.

“South African businesses will have to raise the service bar if they want to remain in the game and we are committed to making this happen,” says Leonard.

Restaurant Review is a simple management tool for restaurant or hotel owners and their management staff, designed to identify exactly what the customer enjoyed, or did not enjoy, during a particular experience.

“Speak to your customer, understand what you are doing right and what needs improvement. Stand in your own queues and identify barriers that keep your customers from coming back,” says Leonard.

After meeting with management and examining which areas of the establishment they want to focus on and what issues they want to have researched, the company designs a tailor-made questionnaire. A brief telephonic interview is conducted with the customer the day after a restaurant visit, while the memory is still fresh in their mind. A guest's experience can then be rated using a quantifiable and qualitative measuring system, precisely identifying areas needing improvement.

Feedback from the company is an ongoing process. If a problem is uncovered, the restaurant's management is alerted immediately and able to resolve the matter directly with the guest. The company also compiles a monthly research package, which is briefed to restaurant management offering recommendations for improvement.

“Restaurant staff are far quicker to believe in the credibility of our monthly results as it is not done internally,” Leonard adds.

The company has spent the past year developing and reviewing Restaurant Review with the help of several prominent Cape Town establishments.

“We have elicited valuable, concise feedback from our restaurant patrons with minimal impact or disturbance to their dining experience. Their discretion and insight has made the process very meaningful,” says Ainsley Williams, food and beverage manager at the world-famous Cape Grace Hotel.

N'lighten is a customer service oriented company offering practical tools to identify strengths and weaknesses in service-driven industries.

As Leonard says, “Don't be afraid of criticism, view negative feedback as an opportunity to improve.”

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