The Value & Power of Engaging Our Customers

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Kasa Indian - Tim/Anamika

We’re 8 years old at Kasa this week!  

Over the years, I’ve felt the increasing importance of engaging with our customers, sustain a strong brand presence online and using social media channels as tools for feedback.  How important or necessary really is this?

I try to think about you all, my customers.  I really love dozens of SF restaurants. Do I really want to hear from them?  What would be interesting? How often? Am I wasting my day on unnecessarily getting hungrier looking at amazingly delicious photoshopped pictures of food instead of focusing on my work? Do I want to hear about special in-store events in my Facebook feed whilst checking out baby pictures of my nephew in London?  

Looking at this newsletter itself, something must be working because our readership and open rates are steadily growing.  I have to believe that at least some of you are interested in engaging and growing closer to the team that feeds you.  What you put inside your body requires trust after all. (But at any time, please feel free to unsubscribe at the bottom of this email if this isn’t what you want.)

The main impetus for engaging with our customers is to build the best restaurant possible. We try to use the following channels to gauge how well our food, concept, and team are resonating in SF. They really all serve different purposes:

  • Yelpan apparently self-selecting group of critical, sometimes harsh providers of feedback 🙂  We wade through these and search for the few pearls of constructive criticism that we can work with and improve upon.  I used to hate the harshness of Yelp, but now we simply follow a matter of fact system where we read each yelp review we receive, share it with the core team, analyze what we can learn from it. If it’s good we pass on the positivity to more of the team so it continues to fuel their next interactions and days. I’ve also observed a pattern where we get a bunch of good reviews followed by a bunch of negative reviews and then back around again. It’s almost like if a few people like Kasa too much, the hyper-critical folk come out, and then the defenders come back out and the cycle continues.
  • Google Plus reviewsappears to be the opposite of Yelp.  Self-selects to very positive reviews with ratings.  An appreciative and easy to please a crowd.  Very little in terms of feedback, just 5 stars often. Often on the same day and time that we receive a negative Yelp review, we will have a glowing Google Plus review.  This swing makes it quite difficult to learn from, although we pass on the positivity to motivate us to continue working and loving what we do.
  • Facebook – This is a great spot for us to learn from.  The fans have taken the time to be on our page, follow our posts.  ANYTHING they say, we listen to very carefully.  They also provide us feedback that directly benefits them, but yet they also want to keep us in business!
  • Twitter – The direct messaging is a great tool, for people who have quick questions or need to directly let us know if they need the attention of any kind.  
  • Instagram – The visual aspect of this makes it so very positive.  People on Instagram always seem happy.  They post elements of our design, the colors of our food and the simple beauty of our Thalis.  This sharing by our customers is so motivating to Kasa.

Ultimately the most important piece of feedback is to see our regulars in-store in the flesh. The people we know by name and whose orders we know by heart.  We observe the empty plates or the people who specifically tell us that the food reminds them of their parent’s cooking.  The people who have never had Indian food before and were surprised that they loved it.  The people whose eyes light up at the beauty of the colors on the Thali.  We also really listen to those people who are brave enough to come and speak to a server or me and give us hard feedback because they really want us to improve and continue to support us.  They are our most valued customers.

Ultimately, celebrating Kasa’s 8th birthday this month is the best indicator that we have made a lot of people in our community happy and well fed!