Working for the “GREAT American Sports Bar”

Photo by Drew Farwell on Unsplash

For nearly 40 years, Buffalo Wild Wings has focused on providing a combination of great service, food, and sports entertainment to create the best guest experience possible. As the go-to spot for many people to watch sports, Buffalo Wild Wings has high expectations to live up to.

The total number of locations now nearing a whopping 1,300, all came out of one location on Ohio State University’s campus in 1982.

I began working for Buffalo Wild Wings when I was 16 years old and have continued working for them for the past three and a half years. I am a hospitality team member and its my job to ensure that our customers leave wanting to come back.

Whether the guest is there to watch their team’s big game, or just to enjoy dinner with the family, Buffalo Wild Wings wants to give you the ultimate guest experience.

When customers have a great experience with your company, you retain those customers, and their word of mouth can send new customers in your company’s direction. That is why customer success is important.

Inevitably, you will have times that a customer doesn’t leave overjoyed about their experience. After something happens that disappoints or upsets a guest, how you handle it and how you make it right is so important. Buffalo Wild Wings team members are to follow BLAST:

Believe

Listen

Appoligize

Satisfy

Thank

These are the steps team members are to take when a customer has not reached success. Along with additional training, the strategy is usually successful in reviving a disappointed guest’s experience.

In addition to BLAST, Buffalo Wild Wing team members completed the Dennis Snow virtual training, “Creating Magical Customer Experiences.” As an employee of Disney for years, Dennis Snow became an expert on customer service, customer success, and magical customer experiences.

The Dennis Snow training was lengthy, but it covered a lot of content that is important for those who work in customer service or hospitality. Some of these topics include:

What is the Goal?

When a customer is disappointed or upset, it may be more difficult to understand what outcome they are hoping for and expecting. It’s okay to ask clarification questions to the customer to make them feel heard, but also to get to the bottom line.

There are NO Stupid Questions!

It is also important to remember that not everyone, especially not customers often have the same knowledge that you do of your company’s product or service. With that being said, be understanding and accommodating to any customer questions.

“Show Ready”

My final main takeaway from the Dennis Snow training was that team members are responsible for making the business “show ready.” Keeping the building clean and tidy, as well as making sure team member behavior in front of guests is appropriate are all important factors in creating a “show ready” environment.

Why would they spend all of this money on some online training videos, you ask? Because customer success is crucial for the company’s success.

My time at Buffalo Wild Wings has strengthened my communication, problem-solving, and hospitality skills. I have also learned how to anticipate and fix potential problems before those problems ever reach the guest.

Game Days!

Under circumstances such as game days where we get especially busy, I know that there are a few ways to anticipate potential problems customers may have. For example, on game days we don’t give wait times to guests who want to be seated. We realize that most of the people in the sports bar are there to watch sports events, and we don’t want to upset the guest by giving them an untrue and uncertain wait time. Another example of this would be giving higher quote times for takeout orders during busy hours. While a typical takeout order on a normal night might take 15 to 20 minutes, on a game day ticket times will likely reach 45 to 50 minutes.

It is important to prepare your customers for the fact that their order may not be ready as promptly as usual. They are more likely to be more understanding if they are given a heads up.

“Don’t Make This Order!”

I communicate both with my fellow employees and with guests to do my part in making shifts run as smoothly as possible. Communication is so important when it comes to working with a team because one person cannot do the entire job themself. If a customer calls and places an order, but then changes their mind on what they want after that order has already reached the kitchen, the team must communicate on what changes are being made to that order so that product and time are not wasted making that order

Oh… so you didn’t love the wings, beer, and sports?

It is important to understand that not every encounter you have with a customer is going to be positive. You will deal with upset and disappointed customers no matter what product or service your company provides. I can empathize with customers, make them feel heard, and solve their problems to give them a better memory of Buffalo Wild Wings to walk away with.

Fix Problems Before They’re a Problem.

When customers are spending their hard earned money, they expect to get what they want. As an expo, I make sure orders are sent out to guests looking appetizing, hot, and correct. If something doesn’t look right, fix it before it goes to the guest. They’d rather their food come out right the first time.

Customer Success= Company Success= Employees Success

Employees at all levels of the company need to understand the importance of customer success and how it affects them. If the customers are not doing well, it is likely that the company isn’t doing well either. When the company and its customers are not doing well, that is typically clear through employee wages and tips. Make sure that you are treating your customers like your paycheck depends on it, because it does.

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Katherine Hinz

My goal in life is that at the end, I can say I lived it to the fullest! I am constantly looking to learn, experience and explore new things that’ll grow me.