by / Tuesday, 14 July 2015 / Published in Customer Service Program, Guest Recovery

Janet is a long-time, frequent patron of a restaurant we’ll call The Pancake Table, a highly-rated breakfast and lunch establishment that has several locations in Chicago. Janet and her family dined at The Pancake Table last Sunday morning. Since it was Father’s Day, Janet picked up the bill.

The next day, Janet reviewed her bank account during her morning break. She discovered there was an overcharge, in fact a double charge, on her payment to The Pancake Table. She quickly looked up their phone number and dialed customer service.

Janet’s call immediately went into a phone tree; she was instructed to press #4 for billing or payment issues. Janet was then placed on hold. One minute passed, then five, then finally after ten minutes a customer service person answered.

By this time, Janet was frustrated, and also concerned about taking too long for her morning break. She needed to get this issue resolved and get back to her desk. The call did not go well, it took a long time for the service representative to determine what he should do, and he had to place Janet on hold twice, to check with his supervisor, before removing the double charge. By the end of the call, Janet had already decided to dine elsewhere for breakfast – she was really annoyed.

No one likes being placed on hold when they call a customer service hotline. Nevertheless, long hold times seem to be the norm for many restaurants. Ideally, restaurants should offer zero hold times on incoming calls, and do so on a 24/7 basis. Most restaurants lack the staff and systems to accomplish this.

Beyond 24/7 customer service hotline support, restaurant customer service teams should collect, measure and analyze internal and external performance metrics, including support line call resolution. It is critical for every customer service team to develop, track and evaluate performance measurement and management strategies.

Hotline hold time is a complicated issue and there are many strategies that call center managers can employ to improve their efficiency. And while realistic hold-times may vary for different services and centers with varying incoming call rates and other factors, most managers would agree that ten minutes is far too long for a customer to be placed on hold.

If your restaurant customer service hotline is understaffed and overwhelmed, or if you are simply seeking to improve and refine your system, reach out to ServiceCheck. ServiceCheck is the leading provider of restaurant customer recovery and feedback services. Contact us today at 1-800-278-7080.

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