Bistro Live is a small chain of 3, large capacity live music restaurants. The business started in 2001.
We serve in the region of 85,000 people every year.
Our ‘customer avatar’ is someone celebrating a special occasion; birthday parties; hen nights; Christmas parties; leaving ‘dos’ and corporate functions.
At Bistro Live, Customer Service is the CORNERSTONE of our business.
This is not a ‘hollow’ statement –over the course of the last 2 years, Bistro Live has developed and built a culture within the business that is completely focussed on the customer.
We believe that customer service is all about making emotional connections – as we know, people buy people. And, it’s also about making people feel special – everyone wants to FEEL SPECIAL.
But, in order to deliver BRILLIANT SERVICE, there is recognition that:
- Customer service is SUBJECTIVE
What impresses one customer does not impress the next !
- 2.People’s DEMANDS change, so their expectations change
So, we understand that our customer service ‘policy’ cannot be developed one year and then parked – it has to be DYNAMIC, and it has to change according to our customers and their experiences and feedback.
You see, behaviour is normalised very quickly – what is a WOW experience the first time around becomes expected the next time – our customers are always looking (and expecting) better, so we have to continually raise the bar in what we offer.
So, at Bistro Live, we constantly ask ourselves:
HOW CAN WE KEEP ON IMPROVING THIS?
WHAT CAN WE DO NEXT TIME?
This does not always have to be ‘Grande gestures’, in fact most of the time, it’s not – it’s the tiny little things that make all the difference.
At Bistro Live our customer service ‘programme’ is called
“HOW TO WOW”.
So, we continually look at all aspects of a customer’s journey with a view to constant improvement:
- from initially hearing about Bistro Live (marketing)
- through booking their night out (sales/booking processes)
- to experiencing the actual night out (people/operations)
- and finally – how we follow up after the night out (feedback/follow up)
Our focus in all of the above is finding new ways to “WOW” our customers.
In our “HOW TO WOW” programme, we: –
- Aim to recruit the very best people – ‘hire for attitude first, then train for skills’
- Look at different and innovative ways to train them
- Constantly share best practice across the 3 restaurants
- Incentivise the management teams so that they drive and ‘embody’ the new culture
- MEASURE AND EVALUATE EVERYTHING
- Give customer service the highest priority in the business
Sales/booking processes: –
- Our sales team have a regular weekly training session where customer service is the first point on the agenda.
- They are tasked with trying to find out small ‘snippets’ of information about each customer, that can then be used on the night when they visit the restaurant.
E.G if a customer celebrating a hen night is going somewhere specific for their honeymoon, we will decorate their table in the theme of that country…
- We have a courtesy call (‘non-salesy’) to all bookers 2 days before their booking from one of the management team to say “Hi, I’ll be looking after you on the night, and just wanted to call to say hello”
Our people completely ‘get’ our company mission: –
“TO MAKE SURE THAT ALL OF OUR CUSTOMERS HAVE A BRILLIANT NIGHT OUT”
So, all of their interactions when dealing with customers are carried out with this in mind.
As a company, we realise the importance of our people….
- We have an Annual staff awards night – ‘The Bistros’ – where the best members of staff compete for the title of ‘Customer Service Superstar’.
- We constantly evaluate our people using our CARES principles: –
- We have a Staff ‘Wall of Fame’ in all 3 sites – highlighting examples of ‘unforgettable customer service’, with pictures of all staff
- Our Managers introduce themselves to all bookers and all people celebrating on the night….”Hi, it’s me…I called you a couple of days ago, and just wanted to say Hi”
- We give a surprise ‘celebration cupcake’ for all celebrants, with individual message piped in chocolate on the plate – simple, but gives a real WOW – and the photos that the customer takes gets shared across social media platforms !
- We have rigorous management check backs on food delivery, and replacement dishes if customer not completely happy with food – we actively ‘seek out’ feedback on the night in the belief that if it can be dealt with there and then, a negative experience can be turned in to a positive one.
…and our customers…..
- We have a 36-point customer feedback questionnaire that is emailed to all customers after their visit
- Our management bonus based on results of questionnaire, rather than financials – we actually have a question in our survey that says:
“Our staff are paid a bonus based on how well they look after our guests. Should they get one based on your visit?”
- To qualify for bonus the restaurant must score a minimum 95% ‘YES’ to the above bonus question, and then score above an average of 70% ‘Excellents’
- Feedback is analysed weekly, initially by Directors, and then circulated to all key personnel
- All positive feedback contacted to use comments in testimonials – and to arrange their next night out with us!
- All negative feedback – customer called by General Manager. Objective – to win them back as a customer, so the GM’s are empowered to ‘do what is necessary’ to get the customer back ‘onside’
- All complaints are overseen by a Director
- There is a constant feedback loop between Directors/Management/Staff to improve the operation.
What results have we had?
- Awarded the TRIP ADVISOR CERTIFICATE of EXCELLENCE AWARD in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Only the top performing 10% of businesses receive this prestigious award.
- We won the BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE award at the NATIONAL ENTREPRENEUR AWARDS (Sept 2013)
- We won the Leicester Mercury award for BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE in the annual business awards for Leicester (April 2014)
- We won the Nottingham Evening Post award for BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE in the annual business awards for Nottingham (May 2014)
- We won the BEST HOSPITALITY AWARD at the Milton Keynes Business Achievement Awards (April 2015)
- Over 97% of people that have visited us since January 2014 said they would come again, and would recommend us to their friends.
- AND, 77% said our staff were ‘Excellent’ – the highest possible rating