Independent analysis reveals drivers of word-of-mouth recommendations and retention
(Restaurant News Release) Goodsnitch announced today the results of its analysis of customer feedback on over 2,000 restaurants. The feedback (individually called “snitches”) was submitted through Goodsnitch apps during 2014 and covers the entire restaurant landscape from fast food to fine dining.
In Goodsnitch apps and solutions, users dictate the path they go down. Unlike a survey, consumers move quickly in real-time to provide only the feedback they wish to provide. For each of Product and Service, customers quickly push any combination of nine drivers of “good” or “not so good” feedback. The entire process is designed so that Goodsnitch app users can provide real-time mobile feedback in as fast as 30 seconds. The resulting “express feedback” creates a unique new data set of fast learnings and analytics.
“There were a number of significant takeaways,” commented Rob Pace, Goodsnitch’s founder. “Among other things, the data demonstrates that the natural leaning of human beings is actually to highlight the positive versus the negative when given an efficient way to do so.” One of the most powerful marketing forces for any business is authentic customer recommendations and word of mouth. “Our data also shows that a key driver of patron recommendations is when a customer connects with a specific employee. These two insights alone have significant implications for customer engagement, training, retention, and building culture.“
Below are highlights of Goodsnitch’s findings:
CONNECTIONS MOTIVATE REFERRALS
A key factor in someone recommending a business was whether they recognized an individual employee BY NAME. When asked if they would recommend a business, customers were 57% more likely to select “for sure” if they also identified a specific employee for recognition via the apps’ “Heromaker” field.
Observations: This suggests that a key to repeat business and word of mouth referrals is establishing a personal relationship between customers and employees. Arguably related to the fundamental human need for connection, call this the “Cheers Bar” phenomena – if customers have a connection with employees, they feel a sense of membership. This has actionable implications for time allocation and training.
Anecdotally, users note that some employees were visibly moved upon hearing they had been recognized. Users also report that after they recognize an employee, that employee provides an even higher level of service on subsequent visits. Connection is thus a two-way street that may also unlock the key to workplace happiness, retention, and great service.
A WORLD OF GOOD
Goodsnitch users provide “in-the-moment” feedback to businesses by pressing any combination of “good” or “not so good” product or service buttons. 90.5% of users pressed “good” Product or Service buttons while a “not so good” button was pressed just 9.5% of the time. Both Product and Service received overwhelmingly positive feedback, with 92.2% and 88.8% positive for Product and Service, respectively. Interestingly, Product and Service were almost equally selected indicating that neither dominates the overall experience.
Observations: While we acknowledge some likely skewing (we are after all GOODsnitch), what is interesting is that we find the same general positive sentiment in our white label enterprise Express Feedback™ solutions where no such potential bias naturally exists. Again, the management implications are significant. If the natural customer bias is to celebrate the good (when given the opportunity to do so quickly and in real-time), this suggests a massive opportunity to lean into customer engagement as a way to unleash a torrent of positivity, build amazing workplaces and fuel a positive, customer-connected culture.
This somewhat counter-cultural finding appears to be one place where the gulf between perception and reality is particularly stark. Many managers and employees privately admit to being afraid to implement feedback solutions because they expect a negative avalanche. They are pleasantly surprised when instead they receive such overwhelmingly positive feedback. This is not a restaurant phenomenon. For example, a senior leader of a large non-profit prepared for a wave of criticism he would have to manage, only to receive 96% positive feedback including hundreds of comments that recognized individual staff and volunteers.
PRODUCT FINDINGS: QUALITY TRUMPS PRICE
The top six good Product buttons users selected (in ranked order) for restaurants in the analysis were quality, taste, value, atmosphere, price and portion size. Similarly, when restaurants missed the mark it was due to (in order) quality, taste, value, price, other and atmosphere.
Observations: Food-related product attributes outperformed economics. It was also notable that all of the top six good attributes that were chosen were selected over 1,350 times. This suggests that customer satisfaction in restaurants is a multi-variable equation versus a simple formula.
SERVICE: ATTITUDE MATTERS MOST
Of the Service attributes, there is a more clear-cut winner, particularly as it relates to the good snitches. Attitude and friendly significantly trumped speed and skill. The top six good attributes selected were attitude, friendly, speed, skill, helpful and knowledge. Conversely, the leading not so good attributes were attitude, speed, friendly, helpful, skill and proactive. “Not so good” attitude and speed were roughly equal, with a marked drop-off thereafter for the remaining attributes.
Observations: This again underscores that relationship is more compelling than competence. Nonetheless, the prominence of speed in the not so good rankings confirms the common sense observation that a level of service competence is required in running a restaurant or any other enterprise. These findings would suggest that a significant portion of the hiring, training, and workplace environment focus should be directed toward the team’s interpersonal and emotional intelligence, not just execution. Employees who develop excellent “soft” skills will create connections with customers that are critical to word-of-mouth recommendations. In summary, happy employees are a key to happy customers.
“This new data highlights key non-mechanical nuances of our business,” commented Frank Vizcarra, CEO of the Vizcarra Consulting Group and former strategy chief at McDonalds. “The food and the customer themselves must always be made the stars of the experience.”
The Goodsnitch mobile apps empower consumers to instantly recognize everyday service “heroes” and provide interactive feedback on their experiences to nearly every business and organization. Goodsnitch is free for consumers through the App Store and Google Play Store. Express Feedback™ by Goodsnitch provides mobile, web and tablet fast learning and interpersonal connection software solutions for enterprise.
Based in San Diego, Goodsnitch’s diverse clients include the Dallas Cowboys, San Diego Padres, Tennessee Oncology, Robert Half International, YogaSix, Rock Church and the City of Albany, OR. Goodsnitch is the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce 2014 winner of the Most Innovative Product/Service award.
Goodsnitch was founded by former Salvation Army National Chairman and retired Goldman Sachs Partner Rob Pace and provides its custom products to many charities at no cost.
For more information, please go to www.goodsnitch.com.