There’s no escaping it; no matter what you do, people read restaurant reviews. Whether you’re a five star or a greasy spoon, people will talk about their experience, both good and bad.
And while getting a bad review isn’t the best feeling in the world, the bad experience can actually morph into a good thing for your restaurant. It sounds backward, but trust us, this is going to make sense.
First things first: people are fickle, and no matter how solid your restaurant is, someone is going to complain. It’s just the nature of the business. The best thing you can do is take the criticism head on. According to INC, people trust online reviews as much as they trust friends. That’s a massive jump from a few years ago when review trustability ratings were hovering around 60%.
So how do you get more people rating your noodles or talking about your pizza?
Claim your business
It seems easy, but take a few minutes and claim your business on Yelp, Google, TripAdvisor, and Opentable. Make sure you’re on social media; connect your Yelp to Facebook, Twitter, and any other platforms where you maintain an active presence. Make it easy for people to say something if someone likes you enough to like the business on Facebook; that’s already a win. They’re vested.
Respond to reviews – not just the positive ones
When someone leaves feedback, make sure to address the issues. Don’t fly off the handle if you get a bad review, but ask what went wrong, and work to actually improve whatever the complaint was. Plus, if there are any lingering problems from before, it’s always possible to right old wrongs.
If you take a measured response to the feedback and actually show that you’re listening, it offers insight into the personality of the restaurant. Customers appreciate when their feedback is integrated, and it also shows a willingness to evolve and see problems head on rather than after the fact.
This shows you genuinely care about the business and how people perceive the brand. More than half of your guests will check online reviews. Chances are the customer will agree or disagree with the rating after the meal, which will prompt them to defend your honor or argue with the rating, citing their own experience.
Seems obvious, but ask
It’s not tacky; it’s totally ok. Ask your customers to leave a review. The more reviews your restaurant has, the more accurate the representation is of how people feel about the business. If you’re killing it with a ton of four and five-star reviews and some random man leaves a one-star review because he didn’t like the bread, that review becomes an outlier.
Everyone’s texting, so why not you?
Texts have a 98% open rate; they serve as a way to communicate without going overboard. Apps like OpenTable and Yelp utilize texting as a way to relay important messages effectively. If you need to communicate with a customer, prompt them to take action: send a direct link to leave a review to Yelp or Google. Chances are, the open rate and conversion rates will be high. Besides, people love texting; plenty of people prefer to communicate via text messages over emails or phone calls. Everyone has a smartphone, so why not use that to your advantage?
If you’re a restaurateur, what’s your best method for landing customer reviews? If you’ve got a tried and true method, we’d love to hear it. But, for everything else, check out the Adia blog.