In the age of instant opinions, an online review has immediate impact: It can dramatically help, or hurt, your a business. (Photo: EyeSpyCC)
User-generated content is powerful enough to make or break your restaurant’s reputation. Negative comments, photos, videos, and live streams can start trending online like wildfire. If you’re not listening carefully and engaging with customers proactively, you’re running the risk of finding yourself in the middle of a brand reputation crisis.
Leaving reviews on platforms like Yelp, Google and TripAdvisor are popular among users. But snapping food photos and sharing them on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter is a key part of eating out for many people as well.
Every day millions of users share their dining experience through posts and stories on social media platforms. Keeping track of them is a perfect opportunity for restaurants to get the latest customers’ insights – and use that feedback to improve service.
Don’t Ignore Reviews
Don’t ignore reviews, address them quickly and directly. There are tips for responding to negative Yelp reviews. The outcome varies, but what is certain is that, more often than not, your response to reviewers can reverse a diner’s poor opinion, and a simple “thank you” for a positive review can go a long way in cementing relationships with your guests. Proceed with caution, though: In some cases, guests aren’t interested in a resolution, they just want to vent – try to have that type of dialog offline.
If a customer leaves a bad review and a representative from your establishment doesn’t respond then the reviewer has the final say. Potential customers will assume that the problems addressed by the reviewer are ongoing, or that the restaurant doesn’t care.
If instead, a manager addresses concerns left in a review, then potential customers will see that management takes customer feedback seriously and is taking steps to ensure that the mistake or problem highlighted by the reviewer won’t happen again.
Make the Best of a Bad Review
There are laws in many states that protect Yelpers from posting bad review. But before you resort to legal action to take a on bad review, why not try engaging with the customer, first?
Consider your response from a customer’s perspective: Say you’re hungry for a burger and you want to try a new burger place in town. You saw a review about the eatery that read, “There was a hair on my burger… YUK!” But the restaurant didn’t respond to the review. What message does this send you? That the restaurant doesn’t care (and doesn’t care much about food safety) and the staff is careless… As a result you decide to go somewhere else. Guess what? Not responding to bad reviews sends the same message to everyone else.
Now imagine that you saw that same review and it was followed by a respectful and acknowledging response from the management that read, “We are so sorry to hear about this, hygiene is of utmost importance to us which is why we wear hairnets to prevent this from happening. While we will do everything possible to ensure this never happens again if it ever does please alert staff and we will replace your burger immediately!” Reading that response, you (and your guests) are more inclined to give the establishment a second try.
Stopping Bad Reviews Before They’re Posted
Always listen to your customers and allow them to express their critical feedback before they share their poor experience online. It’s cheaper to apologize and offer a refund right away then put the situation on the web and have to manage damage control.
Even the tiniest issue can snowball into a reputation crisis if you do nothing with it. The faster you detect risks by monitoring your brand’s online presence, the better chance you have to prevent a potential disaster.
Oscar Wilde once said, “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.” I bet if Wilde could see society now, he would be surprised by how few people escape being talked about – especially those in the restaurant industry. How do you protect your restaurant from a brand reputation crisis? Respond and stay engaged with your customers on social media.
Responding to reviews or developing an engagement strategy for Yelp or any social media platform got you down? We can help. EyeSpy’s team of social media experts will help you craft general templates and then customize responses to each guest and their specific review. Learn more about EyeSpy’s social media and reputation management services.