With the digital age booming it is no secret that most restaurants must have an online presence to both thrive and succeed. The market is becoming more and more competitive and every single day people are posting reviews of their experiences online for the world to see.  

Whether the review is positive or negative responding to the reviews well is extremely important. If the review is positive, responding might seem pointless but it is vital in order to create loyalty and important for those scrolling through Trip Advisor to see that the restaurants care about their customers. If the review is negative it will potentially persuade them to give the restaurant a second chance and responding well could prevent a potential PR disaster. A restaurant that doesn’t respond to reviews is playing with fire. According to TripAdvisor 65% of their users are more likely to book a hotel or restaurant that responds to their reviews.

How to write a good response on TripAdvisor?

First and foremost, we suggest creating a response matrix for your restaurant to refer to and this especially comes useful in a restaurant PR company when we have many different clients and restaurants with different tones and ways to respond. It is useful because you can base your response on the matrix but change and personalise it according to each customer. You will notice that often similar questions and topics pop up on TripAdvisor.

Below are a few simple tips which will help you with writing a good response:

1.       Setting a tone for the restaurant: Responses to reviews should vary in tone according to the style and type of restaurant it is. Certain restaurants will be more formal than others for example Scott’s will have a very different tone to a Pizza Express. It is important to portray the restaurant’s tone to the customer when writing the response.

2.       Try to keep it personal yet still professional: Addressing someone by their name is possibly the easiest way to do this. Creating a personal tone can also be easily achieved by referring to something that the customer specifically mentioned in the review e.g. if someone says ‘the fish was perfectly cooked and flaky along with the perfect white wine’ you could respond with ‘We are delighted you enjoyed the fish and white wine, we really value this feedback and hope to welcome you again soon’.

3.       End by thanking the customer for reviewing: For both good and bad reviews it is important to thank a customer for leaving a review in the first place because they took the time out of their day to do so and all most feedback is in fact useful. A good review can encourage other people to visit the restaurant.  A bad review can in fact still give a restaurant the chance to learn from the mistake and gracefully correct it therefore we should still thank them for leaving it despite the negative comments.

4.       Welcoming the customer back to the restaurant: The restaurant should always welcome back the customer to encourage repeat business.

 

Responding to a good review should stick to the tips above but can often remain relatively short and simple. 

Responding to a bad review is trickier of course and often it is longer but vital in trying to save your relationship with the customer and other potential customers who are reading it. The response should be respectful, apologetic and thoroughly address all customer complaints in a well-worded and sincere response. Where possible it should also try encouraging the guest to return. We sometimes suggest asking them to email us more information about the day and time they visited because this makes us seem sincere and that it isn’t a regular occurrence. It also suggests that we really want to get to the bottom of the problem. For a bad review going on the defence and making excuses will not go down well with the customer or those reading it so in most cases it is better to just apologise.

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