There’s no denying that online reviews play a unique role in the restaurant industry. According to Tripadvisor, 87% of UK diners are influenced by online reviews. This leaves many restaurants hyper-focused on sites like Google My Business and Tripadvisor. While great reviews can lead to new business, don’t feel like one bad review is the end of the world. It’s how you handle the bad reviews that show what type of business you really are.
To calm down upset customers, it’s important to respond to their reviews. Even if they said something that you know is untrue, don’t engage in an argument. Instead, thank them for taking the time to leave a review and – here’s the important part – apologise for whatever it is they were unhappy with. Then, provide them with contact information so that you can try to find a solution in private. You could take the conversation to direct messages on social media or give them a customer service email to reach out to. Sometimes, people just want to talk, and engaging in a conversation with them may resolve the issue. Use this as an opportunity showcase your excellent customer service.
But don’t forget the good reviews! Respond to the happy customers to keep them coming back. Writing a review takes time, so it’s always nice to acknowledge the effort someone made to spread the word about their positive experience at your restaurant. If they provided lots of detail, it can be nice to call it out to make the response feel personalised. For example, “We are glad you chose to celebrate your birthday with us” sounds much more thoughtful than “Thanks for stopping by.” A generic response is always appropriate for a short review, but it’s good to add a personal touch whenever possible.
Keeping up with your restaurant’s reviews is a good way to further your reputation. Aim to respond to each review that a customer has written, whether it be good or bad. Trust us, these responses go a long way!