Social Media Feedback

The service industries are often the hardest hit during times of economic hardship. With the growing demands on the services and goods providers and the shrinking margins in profits, business owners must use all the tools at their disposal to remain competitive and defend their share of the market.

Let’s look at two ways you can receive direct and indirect feedback from your customers and find ways to grow your business while your competitors flounder.

Why social media?

We have discussed how to incorporate social media into your business, but let’s turn now to the big “why” of this integration. Social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, gives your customers a direct line of communication. By maintaining and monitoring your social media presence, you can directly address complaints that are sent to you via these outlets. More importantly, you have the ability to search for mentions of your business, particularly on Twitter, where the use of hash tags may reveal trending views of your business. Obviously, the rare criticism is expected when providing any customer-facing offerings, regardless of the quality of your services, but multiple complaints or mentions give you real-time information about how to adjust your processes to meet the direct needs of your customers. Have several people discussing bad service? You can reach out to these customers directly to identify the source of their concerns. Likewise, you may find that your customers offer menu or presentation suggestions, or perhaps a wholly different service like local delivery, that gives you valuable insight into ways to expand your business to meet the demands of a customer base which increasingly expects services to wrap around their desires. Some businesses may still thrive by presenting a particular niche product that is done so well, or exists in an environment relatively free of competition, that customers are driven to you, but most businesses must find ways to attract new customers and keep their old patrons returning.

Use your reports

Use your reports!

Besides the use of social media, do not ignore your own reporting. Most POS systems will have the equivalent of POSitouch’s Item Sales Trend report. As its title suggests, the report shows a listing of all items available on the menu and gives you a numerical total of the number of times these were ordered, as well as the dollar amount associated with these sales. These apply to upcharges, too. The reporting allows you to determine which items on your menu are rising or falling in popularity, and, further, to determine if items are no longer viable. Perhaps you’ll even identify a trend in ordering that allows you to provide new offerings in line with the trend of customers’ orders. Many of our customers have found this report in particular useful in identifying popular and unpopular brands of wine and liquor, allowing them to purchase more effectively and keep enough inventory of oft-ordered items so that no customer would ever be denied their favorite offerings. This same information may even highlight a place where a price increase or decrease may be needed to meet demand.

In short, simply existing in the current market space is no longer enough to keep your business thriving. You must use the available tools at your disposal to see the internal trends within your business, and use the available technologies to identify and capitalize upon customer perceptions. Using the means already at your fingertips, you can not only survive the economic turmoil, you can excel!