According to a recent survey by Nielsen research, a whopping 83% of U.S. adult Internet users check online reviews before they order from a restaurant. On the other hand, the proliferation of review sites has made managing a restaurant’s online reputation more important now than ever before. They can either enhance your brand image or diminish it.
Whether it's a QSR, a fine dining, or a fast food chain, one thing that all restaurant owners have in common is the fear of getting negative online reviews. It's indeed a nightmare that they have little to no control over. If you’re sailing the same boat and have no idea whether to swim with or against the tides, here are a few tips that will help you deal with negative online restaurant reviews effectively.
Instead of ignoring, delaying or hiding in your shell, respond to the review within 24 hours and make it public. A timely response to a negative review give out the impression that you're genuinely concerned about your customers and thereby doing your best to stand up to their expectations. This makes people feel valued, even in this day and age, they want to know that they are being heard. Smart POS tools are equipped with modules that notify you whenever there is a social conversation about your restaurant. Act immediately and promptly.
In simple words, post a sincere apology in your response to the review with a promise to fix the problem and then initiate to take the discussion offline. If appropriate, ask for his or her contact details and address the concern over a call. At the end of the call, be sure to invite the reviewer to your restaurant to make his/her next visit a positive one. If you are an online only restaurant, you can send a discount coupon with some free goodies. Going the extra mile might prompt the customer to post a retraction.
Here’s an example of how to respond to a negative online review:
“This is Robert Plato, owner of R&T Kitchen, I’m sorry you feel that way. We always try our best to make all our guests happy and satisfied. Please call or email me at (XXXX) so I can resolve this issue to your satisfaction.”
Taking the issue offline shows that you’re willing to provide a resolution - and not just apologizing for the public.
People on the internet are unpredictable. When they are unhappy, they can jeopardize your brand reputation with their abominable views and opinions. While ease of communication has helped connect brands with their target audience, it’s also a roadblock if you get stuck on the wrong side of the game of reviews. Unfortunately, negative online reviews about your restaurant can hurt your bottom line if not taken seriously.
Sometimes a bad review can seem like a slap in the face. If you see a review that is too abhorrent and odious, then don’t be afraid to contact the site administrator to put forward your request to remove the review.
Let's face it, bad reviews happen! Everyone has bad days at work. Use negative online reviews as an opportunity to turn your customers' bad experience into a good one. Most of all, consider them as free market research.
Take control of your online marketing today with Restolabs. Take a tour of our marketing services here and revamp your restaurant’s digital presence this week!