Current public rating systems can pull down a great restaurant rating because of one bad server. Most people rate when they are upset but can rate when they are delighted with service also. People want to give feedback while they still have information fresh in their mind therefore it being available on mobile is important.
Today we find ourselves in the ‘Age of the Customer.’ This means that customers are more and more shaping the strategy in business. But when looking at the customer “review” space these business owners have very little control over what customers say after they leave their business or how to address it.
As we will see in the data section below customers might not feel comfortable telling business owners at the time something happened but will often leave a review or otherwise tell many people about their experience, good or bad.
This impacts business owners in that when people leave reviews about service it can often impact the businesses overall rating and it could have been addressed at the time of service had someone spoke up.
What I hope to illustrate with this project is how Wait Staff Reviews by Google can give customers the outlet to share their their thoughts and business owners the peace of mind knowing that service reviews will be separate from overall reviews and they can address the concerns directly with staff.
We have all likely experienced a great or perhaps a terrible service experience at some points in our lives, and I'm sure most of us tell others. These influences do impact the business. As stated in the intro its kinda crummy that people leave bad reviews on a bad customer service experience but loved the place and the food/drink. I want to detai the data I found around the impact of customer service reviews on the industry.
Negative customer service experiences can really hurt a business.
News of bad customer service reachers more than twice as many ears as a praise for a good service experience.
This information can be found at Helpscout.net
It takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience.
This information can be found on Helpscout.net
86% of customers will pay more for a better customer experience.
This information can be found on Groovehq.com
Perfecting the customer experience can do wonders for business.
More information about these stats can be found on visioncritical.com
Knowing and being able to have actionable insight in what is causing a negative customer experience is key to helping business thrive. With the new Wait Staff Review feature by Google business owners can know and separate these ratings from their overall ratings.
Its important to look around the internet to see if anyone else has attempted something similar. This can be used to see what they maybe were doing right or perhaps highlight things you should not do.
Currently operating: No
Summary: Users can go in and rate waitstaff at establishments then owners and managers pay a fee to see those ratings. Site is down and store listings are not available. Additional information on foodandwine.com.
The good: I thought the model of having reviews private and only viewable to the management staff was a good idea in reducing personal slander that can sometimes accompany these types of reviews.
The not so good: Users do like to see their impact on rating systems, therefore a complete system that just sends a message to a manager might not feel satisfying to a user.
Currently Operating: No, or at least wasn't available in app store.
Summary: Users can rate waitstaff, wait staff can promote their shifts and build their loyal customer base, managers can gain insight on customers and staff and create promotions. Additional information can be found on crunchbase.com.
The good: I have always heard my friends that work in the restaurant and bar industry talk about building their loyal customers and finding creative ways to bring them in. I like that this gives them an additional way to engage.
The not so good: It felt like they were trying to cram in a lot of features into the app, not only many user types but even allowing for ads and push notifications, which I think might get away from what the essence of the problem is, wait staff reviews.
The competitor analysis helped me understand what users might have been asking for and how these apps were trying to solve the problem. Although I liked some of the other features they were offering they were hard to maintain and scale it seems.
I was inspired by the way Grate kept the reviews between the business owner and the user. This allows users to share their thoughts about their service experience with out the risk of personal slander being plastered all over the internet.
I wanted to look more into the rating itself and making this as simple as possible while solving the main question, the actual server review.
I wanted to think about the personas and their day in how they would Wait Staff Reviews by Google. I usually like to make graphics for these but in the interest of time I will write out persona's I had in mind.
Father that enjoys finding new spots to dine.
Josh loves taking is family out for a nice meal but also having some beers with friends after work. He likes to share his experiences at bars and restaurants with people on Google and is also a Google Local Guide. He feels bad when he is writing a rating on a great place but has to take off some stars for a server that had a bad attitude. He would like to tell the management directly but feels uncomfortable doing it at the establishment itself.
Goes out occasionally but wants good service.
Daniella enjoys taking her parents out for a nice meal while they are in town. The quality of the food is important, of course, but she also knows her dad is a stickler for good service. She wants to fine a place that not only excels in food but also service.
Restruantur that knows the impact of reviews.
Alex runs a handful of restaurants in the city and knows that ratings make a difference in how many people walk though the door. She hates it when one of her top performing restaurants gets a bad review due to a service problem or miscommunication. The bad review decreases her star rating and it feels unfair at times. She would love a way to separate the service reviews from the overall review and have a way to address the customer about the issue so she can resolve it.
Usually when I start a thinking about interaction design I like to have information about all the requirements that the product will need. Therefore I started a small user story sheet that can be viewed here.
You'll see that I have looked at the user experience from the customer perspective but also I wanted to look at how it would impact the business owners.
If we blended the server ratings and the overall ratings we won't really be changing anything, currently one of the problems with ratings is that users will score a business low because of a server experience despite loving the food. This sucks as a business owner, it scares away potential customers based on a server perhaps having a bad day.
When thinking about how it would appear to the end user I thought it might be good to show the normal rating then the server ratings below that. I showed it in a more simplistic way, just a word as the rating, so that visually it would not compete with the overall star rating.
A user when adding a rating would have the options to add a service rating if they wish to. They will then slide a scale with a rating then add an optional description. Users can then submit and edit at any time just like a normal rating. Where things differ here is that they will see that their service review (good, great, etc) is added to the overall ratings and their message, if they chose to send it, is private just to the business owner.
A business owner will see an area in their dashboard with the customer service ratings. They can read the reviews and customer concerns and address them inside their business.
I decided to do it this way so that the public ratings could be kept indipendent of service problems and just focus on the quality of the business itself.
Below I have outlined the user flow for this approach and the wireframes for both sides.
Given the approach above here is how I would approach the user flow.
I wanted to break this out further before committing to wireframes and detail out some items a bit further. The service rating area will be optional of course, but a star rating is required as a minimum in order to see the service review area.
Slander on the internet is all too real, we all know that. I wanted to pay special attention to how to be sensitive to this but still get the business owner the information they need to correct the problem.
I also wanted to think about reviews about people who may no longer work at a business bringing down a place’s overall ratings. This thought got me in the weeds rather quick...I was left wondering do we allow for manager/business owner users to mark employees as no longer there (could be abused to remove not so great servers that still work there) or do we just let it stand as an overall quality score for the caliber of staff that has been through those doors. There are pros and cons to both and although I would love to show the server score publicly this is one reason to not do that.
Given these two challenges you will see that I continued with the logic to keep the service reviews private.
My first inclination was to build this as a stand alone but I remembered, this is for GOOGLE!
We already have the most powerful tool for business listings and ratings so I should use that.
The approach I am thinking of taking is going to plug into the existing Google ecosystem.
The listings and ratings area inside the Google map apps as well as the responsive Google map site is a logical place to put the new Wait Staff Review feature.
Here is a wireframe on how the Wait Staff Review area could work on the mobile app in iOS.
The user can re-edit their review including the service review at any time similar to the exiting edit flow inside Google Maps.
If a service review is available for the business it will appear below the star rating for the establishment.
Separating the main review in the service reviews will give users confident that the star ratings are true to the quality of the place and not a problem with service. It could also encourage one to visit a place if they see that the service is good.
In UI the different levels of service reviews can be shown in colors that coordinate with the rating.
The business owners can also review their service feedback inside the Google for business panel.
This can be found in the Google for Business panel under reviews in a secondary nav containing their normal views and their service reviews.
I went back and forth on the decision to allow the business to message the user but decided against it because by not posting the service reviews publicly it also eliminates a space to respond. In order to support it there would have to be a message sent from the business owner to a user and that seems like its too much.
I think the way this is scoped down still works to answer the problem, the user is able to share the concern or compliment and not impact the overall star rating.
As mentioned in the "approach" section above I have decided to use a scale rating for the service reviews. This is mostly so that it is very visually different than the star scale.
When executed it might look something like this. the user will drag their finger and the result will snap to the closest possible point for each option.
For businesses marked as bars and restaurants I used generic labels such as Great, Good, OK, Needs Improvement, Poor - I considered putting in one that said “not great” but it felt like it could be too direct.
Also considered: Service rating - for other business types (salons, shops, stores, etc) - Ill consider this out of scope for now but just a thought. I think this could work for those types of businesses as well though.
Scales give us a very precise measurement with values that are generic enough that the user can feel confident choosing one. It also is a simple thumb slide action that will feel natural to users.
Slide scale data on Nielson https://www.nngroup.com/articles/gui-slider-controls/
I have mocked up what the end result could look like in the review state (mobile app left) and the public state (web results right).
I tried to keep the UI simple and familiar to Google users.
I really loved working on this project because its something that I think about all the time. I hate seeing reviews of my favorite places where they mark a place down due to a server or the prices. I don't think it's fair to the business owner's or the hard working people there to have their work tarnished on the internet by a rating that had nothing to do with the food or atmosphere that that bar or restaurant create.
Wait Staff Reviews by Google would be a great addition to the rating platform.
As you read above I struggled a bit with not allowing the business owners to respond to the service comments. I explained that this made scope much larger if it was included and perhaps this thinking was beyond the idea of this exercie. But, upon further reflection, I think the single message system (user to business owner and not business owner back to user) still works and answers the problem that we were trying to solve for.