Negative reviews – a restaurant’s best friend


Powerful ways to answer online reviews and improve your business

Your customers are talking about you online. In the digital world, potential customers check online reviews to learn everything about your service, menu and customer experiences. In fact, 98% of consumers read online reviews.

When customers tell their stories, it can help or hurt your reputation. Every business is vulnerable to negative online reviews. The way you respond to them – and not just online – is the key to positive business results. Statistics show 80% of consumers are ‘likely’ or ‘highly likely’ to leave a review if their initial negative experience is met with a positive outcome

Here are areas to consider when faced with negative customer service reviews:

Address complaints directly 

Always respond to the primary concern. It shows the critic you sympathize with the bad experience, care about the dining experience, are resolving the issue and want them to return for a better experience at your restaurant. 

If appropriate, offer contact information to move the conversation offline. A personalized, one-on-one meeting can help to fully understand the customer’s bad experience. 

Listen to your staff and make changes

When management pays attention to bad reviews, it can turn a bad experience around, likely earning a positive review and generating new sales. 

A negative review can indicate an internal staff issue. For example, if your team is having issues with the POS system that causes longer ticket times and missed tables – a bad dining experience – then you can look into carbon notebooks and paper tickets while you train employees on restaurant technology. 

In addition, if you are noticing reviews citing incomplete takeout orders (no utensils, condiments, garnishes, etc.) – a bad dining experience – then you can speak to your staff and figure out how to fix it. If they don’t know what orders need, print checklists of everything that must be included for ultimate customer satisfaction.

There is a cause-and-effect behind every bad review. Understanding the situation and promptly fixing the core issue will make happy staff, happy customers, and happy owners. 

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