For a restaurant to keep running successfully, it needs returning customers and a great reputation. What's more, with the growing competition of different places to eat, it's no longer fur customers feeling satisfied, but to have a greater feeling of delight, enjoyment or some great experience they'll remember and tell their friends about.

So, how do you know you're customers are getting this experience from eating out at your restaurant?

One of the simplest ways to tell is by creating a survey.

Customer surveys give a great chance for customers to share their thoughts and feedback about eating out with you.

How do I get customers to complete surveys?

One of the challenges business owners face is getting customers to complete a survey. This is due to customer disinterest in completing it, seeing it as a chore or simply

But a survey doesn't have to be long with lots of questions.

With the right questions, it can be kept short and to the point. If customers don't seem interested, consider an incentive for completion, such as a free coffee on their next visit or entry into a prize draw.

Here are the top reasons to run a customer surveys and how it can benefit your business:

They can reveal potential return customers

We all like to have cheerleaders for our restaurants. The type of customers who are only too happy to sing from the rooftops about what you're doing. The trouble is, you might not know who they are or who is likely to turn into one. Running a customer survey can help you to identify those customers that really rated your service, which gives you the opportunity to then offer them a return promotion or discount!

It shows you care about your customers

Every person likes to know that they are valued, listened to and cared about. This is particularly true for customers. By creating customer surveys, they'll know that you value what they have to say and that their opinion matters. How do you show you care? Ask staff to hand out surveys personally in the restaurant and promote the incentive, rather than posting them out to homes. Besides, catching customers in the restaurant means they're much more likely to get filled in.

It gives you ideas to improve

Improving and growing is important in the success of any business. However, sometimes, business owners can be a little too close to the action to make decisions about how to improve and change. This is where customer surveys can help. They give your customers a space to put forward their ideas on what steps you can take to become even better at what you do, and best of all, they're often things that you didn’t even realise needed some work.

Another tip: Since customers may be sceptical about you taking ideas on board, how about taking the best idea from a customer and makingit happen? Share with customers the new idea that came from a customer, which will show you really listen.

Surveys stop issues before they snowball

No restaurants want to find out that they have any negative talk being said about them. After all, this can have a huge impact on your business. Picking up on issues early is a great way to stop this from happening, which is where customer surveys can help. These will highlight any issues that have come up more than one, and give you the opportunity to change things. What's more, it will highlight an unhappy customer and give you the chance to put this right there and then.

Making sure that you keep your customers happy is important for any business, and with restaurants, it can affect your ongoing journey to success. Why not see if you can find out what your customers think of you by running a customer survey? Any information will be enlightening and give you great opportunities to see where you can improve and find out what you're doing well.