In other articles, and not to exaggerate, in many that he has published gestiongastronomia.com, has been the subject of customer service an important focus in which new theories have been clarified, confirmed and have even emerged, which have given those of us who somehow owe ourselves to the profession of serving, the opportunity to be successful.

It is for this reason, and with the aim of being part of that group of people, who humbly contribute every day to our being better, that I intend to address the issue of Customer Service, and as is already customary from the perspective that I am so passionate about is Logistics and for which I have helped from the experience that professors Martha Gómez Acosta and José A. Acevedo have from the LOGESPRO department of one of the Cuba's most prestigious universities (CUJAE) that have long worked on this topic and that offer in their articles various instruments that not only measure the level of customer service, but also how to design that service.
This article is a recognition of the work that these professors develop and that are part of the literature that each of the professionals who work on this subject are obliged to consult and which I have focused, in some way, on gastronomic activity.

Customer service

The literature that deals with the matter is quite clear when defining service as the set of actions in which various acts are carried out in order to create a product or several of them to satisfy a need, a desire or an expectation, and that when creating an offer attractive enough to be consumed locally for a price, is the raison d'être of the restaurants, to which value is added when the borrower in addition to that offer offers a welcoming environment, hygiene and professionalism.
Viewed from various angles, on one side is the bidder designing and implementing strategies to differentiate itself from the competition, attract customers and generate profits and, on the other, the applicant with a very particular, but defined vision of how much he is willing to pay if his demands are met.
In this sense, from the client's perspective, many variables come into play that can be addressed independently, but when added together, they become a matter of care because they can lead to success or failure.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, there are three important elements that must be analyzed from the perspective of Customer Service and that cannot be confused:
- The demand for service
- The goal of Service and,
- The level of Service.
The first refers to the characteristics desired by the client in terms of the service they want to receive, as well as the client's ability and desire to pay for those characteristics.
The second addresses those values ​​and characteristics that make customer service different, that is, they are a set of parameters that the company sets to offer to a general public or in a differentiated way.
And the third refers to how that service goal set by the organization is actually met.
For the restaurant can determine from the application of various models that comprise logistics, you must previously establish a service strategy that allows you to deploy resources and capabilities in order to increase your income, decrease your costs and satisfy needs.
For this service strategy to take effect, the following elements must be taken into account:
The client: who he is and what he wants, in addition to his behavior patterns, habits and customs, as well as his real possibilities to be able to pay for this service. In short, it requires a study that addresses demographic, economic, and environmental elements, among others.
competition: how it offers the service, what it has that I cannot overcome and what I have that makes me different. It is a study that focuses on discovering weaknesses and strengths in both directions: competition - company - competition.
Regardless of the above, which constitutes the main artery so that each action of this strategy has a positive and lasting effect on the economic and financial results of the company, it must take into account such important factors as:
  • Break down the market into segments so that the particularities of each one can be identified and the way in which these have an effect on the company's results, in order to create an offer that responds to these characteristics
This leads to the proposition that for each type of segment a specific service level must be designed, which will guarantee that it is efficient in terms of costs, but also in terms of income. It is not recommended that the same level of service be designed for all customers. Each one is characterized by something and it is that something that must be taken into consideration.
If we go back to other published articles, we will be able to see how the various tools that allow us to know what the preferences of our clients or how the offer made by the restaurant in the economic and financial results of the organization. These tools are somehow related to the logistics activity, which seeks to offer the right customer, at the right time and with the right quality, a product, to which we add the right price.
  • Take into consideration the position of the product in its life cycle in order to offer a corresponding level of service.
  • Properly structure or work on each of the service components, seeking that there are no differences between what is offered, what is actually provided and how the customer perceives it.
The above is an important element for customers to win or lose. Many companies promote their products using various means in which they show images or promises that later are not as perceived by the customer.
The above can be interpreted as follows: “I want something, the restaurant He offers it to me like this, but he gives it to me this way ”. In other words, there may be a degree of similarity between what it offers and what the restaurant, according to what I need or not, so the company must work to ensure that there are no differences between what it offers, gives and what the customer really perceives.
This perception of the client, regardless of all the effort we make to make him feel satisfied, is what will define his loyalty to restaurant. Remember THAT ALWAYS it is the client that DECIDE If you consume in our premises or not, and this perception that is a reflection of the reality that surrounds you, will transmit it to other people. The client may feel cheated if we do not take care that what we advertise through the different media (magazines, websites, radio spots or television spots) is as we offer it.
I personally dislike it a lot, and it happens, that they cause me to eat something through an image and that when they put it in front of me it is not as it is.
  • And finally, the behavior of the competition and what are the needs, desires and expectations of the client which will allow us to adequately redesign that service strategy based on staying competitive.
Applying logistics
And although this is a topic in which several pages can be dedicated and each one can find tools and methods that allow measuring the level of service offered in the company and that perceived by the client, I will only mention some of the most important for the gastronomic activity:
- Duration of the order - delivery cycle.
- Variance of the duration of the order - delivery cycle.
- Product availability.
- Information on the status of the order throughout the entire logistics chain.
- Flexibility in unusual situations.
- Returns of surplus and defective products.
- Performance without errors (in the product and in the information that reaches the client).
- Delivery time.
- Treatment and relations with the client.
- Completion (quantity and assortment) of orders.
- Time of attention to claims.
The companies are free to select those indicators that they want to use in correspondence with the demand for service, in order to establish the service goal for each one of them and evaluate their behavior, which should deviations occur allow them to adopt the corresponding measures to eliminate them.
The way to evaluate each of these indicators is as follows:
customer service
How to calculate the service level for each of these indicators?
Service level according to orders:
Total orders: 5
Number of orders completely delivered: 2 (Orders 2 and 4, 4 products A and 2 B were requested and 4 products A and 2 B are available)
Service Level = 2/5 * 100
Service level = 40%
Service level according to assortments:Number of Assortments: 3
Number of assortments fully delivered: 2 (B and A)
Service Level = 2/3 * 100
Service level = 66.6%
Service level according to the quantitiesOrdered quantities: 24
Quantities delivered: 15
Service Level = 15/24 * 100
Service level = 62.5%
Observe the results: of the total orders you were able to complete only 40%, which means that the house offer does not fully correspond to what the client is looking for and that the stocks are low, so you should evaluate your offer, as well as the purchasing and supply process in your restaurant.
The general level of service
Once they are determined for each of these indicators selected by the company, the general service level of the restaurant can be obtained, which comes to be the result of the multiplication of the indicators selected by the expert as the ideal ones to be able to carry out this evaluation and that mathematically can be expressed like this:
NS = I1* 12* Ij *…. * In
Taking the values ​​obtained in the previous indicators we can obtain that:
NS = 0.40 * 0.666 * 0.625
You obtain that the General Service Level of the restaurant, according to the selected indicators is:
NS = 0.1665 (16.65%)
Note, then, that the general service level is well below the service levels of each of the indicators, which requires that you promptly evaluate each of them to determine where the faults are and to be able to correct them.
Finally, dear businessman, the usual message:
BE CAREFUL, because it is in your hands, not only the customer's purchase decision, but also satisfaction and repeat. Do not promote products that you are not going to offer. In other words, do not promise what you are not going to do.
I am a dreamer and in my dreams I believe that a better world is possible, that no one knows more than anyone, we all learn from everyone. I love gastronomy, numbers, teaching and sharing all the little I know, because by sharing I also learn. "Let's all go together from foundation to success"
customer service
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