Marketing is about the customer, and reputation management is a tactic in your restaurant marketing plan. A few months ago, I had a bad experience in a restaurant where I live, so I posted a review on TripAdvisor as well as sharing my experience on various social media channels.
The response from the owner was very positive and thanked me for highlighting his need to improve his service. It was a great outcome; not only did I get an apology, but it served as a reminder of why being active online is vital for any business.
If you have a problem with negative feedback on your social media profile or website, read this blog post for everything you need to know about responding to bad restaurant reviews.
How to Deal with a Bad Restaurant Review
Bad Restaurant Reviews are inevitable. My restaurant has had its fair share of bad reviews (like all restaurants, I’m sure). We don’t do well with Yelp; most of our bad reviews come from there. However, we don’t do badly with Google Reviews, which drove me to write this article on how to deal with lousy restaurant reviews.
And let’s face it – if you run a restaurant and try to take advantage of a free online ordering system for restaurants, you’re probably going to need to deal with negative reviews at one point or another. So here are 10 top tips for responding to a bad restaurant review.
10 Top Tips To Respond To a Bad Restaurant Review
- You Should Keep Calm
We understand all the frustrations experienced by a restaurant customer who just went out for dinner and wrote a bad review on our restaurant. It is tough to receive any demeaning comments, such as horrible food or lousy service.
Nonetheless, the way you handle negative reviews will significantly affect your restaurant’s reputation. You should never tolerate any abusive language from your customers since they don’t know you personally, so there is no reason for them to insult you or your staff.
Instead, try to put yourself in a calm state of mind to prevent being too defensive or offensive. It will increase your brand trust level amongst your customers.
- You Should Respond Quickly
If you want to come up with the best possible solution that could please your customers, you have no choice but to respond quickly. It is only through that way that you can resolve their issues with good food services or restaurant. It would help if you were quick in responding to any complaint that the customer has made regarding your restaurant food or service.
If the guests are satisfied with your restaurant, you must solve the issue quickly and with good results. If you do, in most cases they will come back to your restaurant next time too.
- Encourage Positive Reviews
When a customer takes time out of their busy schedule and takes the pains to review your business and products, it is essential to acknowledge it. Even if they say something bad about you, don’t ignore the positive ones. Positive reviews can still help you build trust amongst your existing audience for your brand.
- Start Using Instant Feedback Channels
Instant feedback channels not only help in addressing customer complaints but will also help you correct the mistake before the complaint escalates. For this purpose, you can consider adding a feedback section on your website so that customers can directly make a suggestion or provide a review. You can also take it further by having two-channel for giving instant feedback: Email and text message (SMS). Both have been used as successful feedback methods.
- Reply in the Public Domain
Every negative restaurant review online or in any other public domain should be reverted to the very same platform where they were posted. This is important to engage consumers with the company to get more reviews while portraying a conciliatory approach towards negative ones.
- Offer Amazing Incentives
Everyone knows it’s bad practice to chase bad reviews. But what if customers are unfairly reviewing your restaurant? You should not engage them in a war of words. Instead, try to provide an amazing incentive to make your customers want to come back for round two.
- Start Moderating Comments
At times, it becomes difficult to handle the comments on your blog. Some spam comments related to your restaurants bounce back and forth between the blog owner and spammers. This is sometimes referred to as ping-ponging spam. If you like to get rid of such useless spam, you can consider moderating comments for a time.
- Be Proactive With Your Restaurant Customers
Negative reviews are an issue that businesses in all industries are always trying to handle, and restaurants are no different. When a customer has a bad experience at your restaurant, it can be easy for them to post a negative online review, and it can be easy for the review to get lost among the others on sites like Yelp. By being proactive about making sure you hear your customers out, you can learn from and fix any issues they have before they have a chance to post anything online. You can also encourage positive reviews as this would affect your blog content as well.
- Delete When it’s Necessary
On another note, with regards to reviews written by competitors, if there is a review that makes no logical sense in terms of anything that has happened between your business and the person writing the negative review, then don’t be afraid to contact the administrator of the site and put forward your case. If you have a genuine reason to have these reviews removed or reclassified as negative reviews, then give it a go. It’s always better to try and get them removed than have them present on your business listing.
- Don’t Use Automated Feedbacks To Your Customers’ Review
When a customer complains about your service or products to you, they are looking for you to acknowledge and resolve their problems. This is especially important in a situation where the customer has to take time out of their schedule to reach out and explain how the problem occurred in order for you to fix it.
At the end of the day, negative restaurant reviews happen. We can’t control what people say about our brand, and we can’t force someone to like us. If you are smart about how you handle negative reviews, you can get the best of both worlds: build a sustainable brand image while also maintaining your integrity.
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