There are numerous points to consider in quality customer service. For your catering business they boil down to two basic elements: Food Quality and Service delivery. When an event organizer contacts you to run a catering event, they expect to have the burden of quality and delivery lifted from their shoulders. Sure they want to remain informed but they have placed their trust into your hands. It’s up to you and your staff to deliver the goods. Let’s touch briefly on these two aspects of customer service.
- Food Quality. Catering isn’t inexpensive. Corporations and organizations will drop a pretty penny for your catering business to provide an outstanding meal to their event attendees. For their money, it’s up to you as the catering business owner to deliver the goods as promised. All it takes is an under-cooked chicken breast and you’ve not just lost a customer, you’ve most likely lost a significant customer base as well as your good name. When you provide food to a catering event, there are often many “movers and shakers” that attend these events, especially if they’re an NPO and dignitaries are involved. Failure to provide a quality product can ruin your reputation in a community. One unfavorable article in print or on the ten o’clock news can effectively shut down your catering business before it even gets going. A poor reputation is difficult to overcome. Even if you try to defend your catering business in the media, your attempts will appear self-serving compared to those who may have suffered from poor quality food.
- Service Delivery. While there is no excuse for poor customer service, this isn’t necessarily a business killer. If your catering business staff are well trained and qualified to serve at important catering events, accidents can and will happen. Your best option is to mitigate the circumstances as best you can. If possible, you should be on location at every catering event. As your catering business grows this may not be feasible, but always make sure there is someone on location that has your authority to deal with service issues as they arise. Also, remember that customers can be boorish and even offensive. Give your staff the benefit of the doubt by investigating any service issues fairly and without bias.
The harsh truth is that the customer is not always right. Treat customer service issues in your catering business with fairness. It’s your catering business that’s on the line.