7 tips to help your restaurant deal with a negative review on Google Maps, Yelp and TripAdvisor
One thing you cannot escape in the restaurant industry is negative reviews. What you can control is how you choose to deal with them.
A recent consumer review survey found that 95% of consumers actively look to reviews of restaurants before they choose to eat there. While this great news for restaurants that are only receiving predominantly good reviews. Keeping a completely clean record on Google Maps, Yelp and TripAdvisor is impossible. A series of good reviews is a free marketing campaign for your business. You should also take the time to thank each and every person who leaves a review, always inviting them to return in the near future.
What to do when you get a bad review? How you handle one can be vitally important to the health of any restaurant’s business? Regardless of how good your establishment is, it is impossible to please every customer, know exactly how to respond to a negative review is important. Bad reviews hurt, but you cannot take them personally, focus on the fact that the majority of your customers have been happy. Produce a strategy to ensure this type of review is a one-off and works towards minimizing its impact.
#1 Keep an active social media presence
The first thing you need to do in order to deal with a negative review, is to respond to it as soon as possible. This means actively keeping an eye on your social media accounts. Responding to both good and bad reviews every few days or as soon as they are received if at all possible. For many companies this is an unpleasant task, it is not unusual for them to employ someone to take charge of their restaurant marketing on social media.
In order to do this, you will need to set up alerts on twitter, google and any other sites that can send you a notification when a review is posted. This allows you to react to a negative review straight away.
#2 Don’t overreact
The last thing you want to produce is an emotionally charged reaction to a bad review, hit the pause button and take a deep breath. Remember that any rushed, poorly thought out response could prove extremely difficult if not impossible to retract. Even a terrible review does not have to be the end of the world, there is no need to panic.
#3 Plan your response, but don’t take too long
The first thing you should do is write down the bad review, highlight the key points and craft your response to address all their concerns. Write your response and ask someone else to read it for their opinion. Make sure your response does not feel reactionary and emotional. Your response should contain four key points:
- Offer an apology and direct feedback
- Let them know you appreciate their feedback.
- Outline the step you are taking to fix the problem.
- Ask them to contact you in person to resume the conversation.
#4 Address the problem
Regardless of whether you think the complaint has merit, you should address it. For example, if the complaint was about the speed of service, ask a friend to come and order the same meal, and see if the wait time is unacceptably long. If there is room for improvement, take the necessary steps to fix the problem.
#5 Review the changes you have made
After a few weeks, take a full and fearless inventory of the changes you have implemented. It is also a good idea to invite a focus group of family and friends to help you review the service you are providing. If they are happy then you can confidently take the next step.
#6 Invite the reviewer for a complimentary meal
It is never a terrible idea to invite the reviewer back, to prove to them that you have addressed the solution. If they are willing return and give you and your staff the opportunity to make a second impression.
#7 Never forget, that you cannot please everyone
Once you have taken all these steps to rectify the situation, remember that people just have bad days. It was neither the fault of you or your staff. Once you can be sure that you have taken the measures required to fix the problem, don’t spend any more time dwelling on the issue.
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