Customer Reviews are just like beauty, they come in all forms and ways. When it comes to millennials and Gen Z they are more likely to read the customer reviews before they buy anything or decide on a place for their dine-in. People are going to read the reviews, especially negative customer reviews, whenever they are planning for a premium dining experience or even a casual hangout at a neighbourhood cafe.
These customer reviews can affect small/medium businesses the most. When you go to McDonald’s or Taco Bell you pretty much know the standard of services you are going to get but when it comes to your restaurant people read those customer reviews to get that assurance. In fact, the restaurant industry is the most googled industry by consumers on their mobile devices.
If there are multiple unhappy customers who have left negative reviews for your business it is going to be a problem.
Here’s How You Can Handle The Bad Customer Reviews For Your Restaurant And Boost Your Ratings
1. Respond to all customer reviews
As mentioned above, customer reviews can be good as well as bad. You may think you did the job pretty well but customer interpretations can be different at times which can result in negative customer reviews for your restaurant. As a restaurant owner or manager, you need to make sure that whatever is the review, it needs to be well responded to. You can prepare easy to use feedback templates to record initial responses of your customers as good or bad.
Never ignore or delete bad customer reviews as it can drastically backfire on your brand reputation. When you choose to ignore a bad review everyone else in the public domain can see that you don’t take criticism well. Also choosing to ignore a bad review will not make sure that your potential customers will also ignore it.
2. Practice to respond on customer reviews without being defensive
Don’t be afraid, take a deep breath and look at the feedback constructively. Each and every person on this planet has a different way of interpreting the same day. Similarly, different people have different interpretations and standards of quality, quantity, leisure, experience and comfort.
When you get negative feedback or customer review make sure you consider where the person is coming from and respond to them without being defensive. Respond to them with a resolving mode and not with an argumentative or attacking mode. You can finalize some drafts or customer review templates that you can use as a first response to any positive or negative customer reviews.
3. Respond on time
Make sure that all your customer reviews whether good or bad are responded to within 24-48 hours of posting them. You will not be able to convert that response into a positive one or get to the bottom of the issue if there’s a delay of more than 48 hours on it.
When you respond within the appropriate time it shows that as a brand how much you value customer reviews and how much attention you pay towards customer satisfaction.
4. Take it offline
Most of the time when a person leaves poor feedback about your restaurant services they don’t want any reimbursements, all they want is to be heard.
It’s a good practice to respond to them on time, ask for their contact details and take it offline. Taking things offline will give the customer a personal touch. You may think it might be time-consuming but it will go a long way to retain customers in the longer run. You can simply call the person or send them an email asking more about their experience and getting to know the reason for their disappointment in order to solve the problem.
5. Make them feel important
When a person had a bad experience at your restaurant you should make sure you give them attention, make them feel important and put effort to retain them. It’s a good time to showcase your brand personality on a public forum. When you respond on time, take that extra step to get in touch with the customer, dig deeper into their problem, provide them with an incentive and bring them a solution it leaves a lasting impression on the customer as well as potential customers.
It showcases as a brand that you care about your customers and will invest more for their higher satisfaction which is the brand impression you should be thriving for.
6. Do the damage control
Once you know the reason for the bad customer reviews it’s time to fix that problem, do the damage control.
Most of the time, the issue could be trivial and can be fixed almost immediately while sometimes the bad customer reviews can have large scale impacts on the process of maybe inventory, food serving, customer service etc. Fixing those issues can take a long time but you can at least assure the customer that you will be taking care of that issue.
All bad customer reviews are feedbacks that you should consider for your restaurant. If the food was the problem you need to go into the kitchen and let your chefs know about it. If customer service was the problem you need to share it with your waiting staff for them to understand and improve. Learn from those mistakes in order to grow more.
7. Attract positive reviews
People feel most comfortable when restaurants have at least three out of five stars.
For small/medium local businesses like restaurants reviews can make a huge difference. One bad review can bring down the rating drastically given that there are fewer reviews in total to begin with. In order to boost your ratings and recover from negative customer reviews, you need to get more reviews for your google my business profile or website or third-party food delivery profile on Zomato/Swiggy.
Send campaigns to collect feedback, take feedback before the bill is settled, ask for feedback when you are conversing with the customer, reward them to provide feedback and so much more. In such small ways, you can collect a lot of reviews for your business which can attract a lot of potential customers to your restaurant.
Hope this helps you in managing bad customer reviews and boosting your brand value. Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram for more restaurant updates!