Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Creating an Effective Guest Questionnaire / Comment Card

On one of my Link-In groups the question came up about "guide-lines" on creating a Guest Questionnaire. While there are many many reasons to have a comment card there first really needs to be one question asked: what is the information gathered going to be used for? Once you decide what to use the information for then the questions be formed for this purpose. In my field I have helped restaurants create comment cards for feedback, but too often they are really only concerned with the what went wrong and do not see the benefit of gathering positive information as well as back-ground information on the guest to help improve their relationship with that guest. Very few restaurants see the opportunity in building lasting relationships with their guests, although most restaurateurs I know want to be in business for the long term, they are only looking at the short term relationship.

Here is my comment to the question about an effective questionnaire - keep in mind I am all about re-enforcing the fundamentals of hospitality with my consults. You can see the full conversation at:

http://www.linkedin.com/e/-olahj9-gb1knzyz-n/vaq/23526354/158989/18707930/view_disc/

I would agree that you really need to decide what it is that you want to get from your guests and what the point of the questionnaire should be. At one of the restaurants that I work with we created a customized comment card that asks guests about their experience, but what it really is designed to do is gather information about the guest to help build a data-base for better hospitality and marketing: email, phone #, birthday - anything that can be used to help improve guest relations going forward. A very simple but effective approach to seeing what is going on in the dining room while creating a data-base of thousands of names for use in future promotions. It also allows them to get back with guests for thank-you's or addressing any problems that may have occurred - again a great tool for building guest relations. This restaurant has been able to build business by going beyond the norm and addressing, personally, any negative issues that have happened. A simple phone call the next day to a guest to thank them for letting the owner know of a problem has turned almost every situation into a positive experience for the guest as well as the owner, who takes the learned info back to their employee(s) as a learning tool for improvement. You can make these more elaborate, but I find the shorter the better. Plus, we print them in house and so are able to change and customize them as we see fit. Also, I'm not convinced that you really need an incentive to encourage guests to fill these out; we get plenty of responses from happy guests as well as the ones that felt there needed some improvements.

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