Today’s consumer is smart & aware, has an opinion and won’t hesitate to share it with others. Word of mouth aside, now written reviews are most certainly deciding the fate of restaurant owners, as consumers want to see what others are saying about you before they try out a new restaurant.
In fact, 70% of the consumer base is reading reviews before heading to a restaurant & making a purchase. (source)?. In today’s digitally driven economy, it pays to be on a level playing ground, especially when the opponent is most likely to turn into a loyal customer, with a tweak in service or the correct addressal of a greviance.
While it is impossible for you as a business head to please everyone all the time, on the flipside, the better the reviews, the better your business is likely to do! So don’t let negative reviews bog you down, but instead treat them as the great feedback tool they are meant to be, in order to optimize your business and add value to every interaction you have with your customer! Here are a few tips to get you started on the right note:
Reviews can be a window into what your customers don’t like and what you can do better. So keep an open mind, fix the problem if there is one to fix and thank the reviewer for his time & consideration to bring it to your attention. Remember, he could have easily chosen another restaurant leaving you unaware of the problem.
Read the review carefully to comprehend the facts like the time and date of the review, the tone of the reviewer and any staff names mentioned. Be prompt in your response to your reviewer, but too prompt a reply seems like a knee-jerk reaction with no real remedial measure to back the response.
Communicating with the consumer directly not only makes him feel valued, but also gives you the opportunity to gain more insight on the matter.
A compensatory offer is not only an olive branch, but also an opportunity to turn an irate reviewer into a lifelong loyalist with a customer-centric approach. Requesting a follow up review after addressing the grievance will assure your future guests that this is a place of integrity.
This may be mentioned last, but it’s the first thing you must do. Whether it was the customer’s perception, or a service lapse that made him unhappy with his experience in your restaurant, you must apologize & empathize, assuring him that you care about his opinion and are committed to giving him a better experience on his next visit.
To conclude, perfection may be a myth considering the idea of service that can sometimes seem subjective, but cultivating an attitude that strives for perfection is certainly possible. More often than not, a gracious acknowledgement of the grievance pacifies the guest and, followed by corrective action, will not only do damage control, but will also turn negative reviewers into loyalists.