Posts Tagged ‘feedback’

Online Reviews; Blessing or Curse?

May 17, 2012

The pervasive nature of the Internet can be an advantage as well as a disadvantage for restaurateurs.  Useful for promotions, marketing, and connecting to potential and existing customers, the Web can also be used by the disgruntled to post negative reviews and harsh criticism.


Use the Negative and Turn it Into a Positive


How your restaurant copes with customer feedback posted online can make a huge difference in public perceptions.  The commentary found in such reviews is always helpful, providing you with the chance to improve your customer relations and make necessary changes.  This depends upon you making a proper response, not reacting out of anger or being overly enthusiastic.


The largest review sites are a mine of information.  Business owners should read customer comments and look for trends.  Individual reviews should not be given significant weight, although criticism needs to be addressed. Use the opportunity to establish a relationship with the unhappy customer and make an effort to resolve any problems they experienced.  Such responses are best managed privately unless they contain factual errors, and should be gently worded.


Learn from Your Mistakes


Dealing with reviews can be an emotional experience.  Having your work questioned is always challenging. An apologetic tone is more likely to have positive results than an aggressive rant.  Taking ownership of problems and fixing them may gain you a fan.


Responding to positive reviews is also important; it shows that you are interested in what your audience has to say.  Customers who go to the trouble of posting a public comment are already admirers.  Knowing that their review has been read and addressed by the restaurant is likely to turn them into enthusiasts who bring in additional business.


Developing Strong Relationships Can Equal More Customers


Positive or negative, all reviews are about developing a relationship with customers.  Open and transparent responses to negative comments, regular appreciation of complements, and a sincere tone will show that you are a serious restaurateur who values your clientele.

Obtaining Feedback and Putting It into Action

July 7, 2011

One of the most valuable resources for restaurants is customer feedback.  Surveys and questionnaires allow customers to give their opinion on how the restaurant performed, and the staff can use that information to enhance or maintain their service.


Technology has provided a way to shorten the time it takes between a customer providing his feedback and when the restaurant receives it.  In some cases, a restaurant may be able to respond to feedback almost instantaneously.


Some table side devices can not only display menus and other data to the customer but can also prompt him to take a survey right at the table.  This allows data to be gathered instantly while the experience is still fresh in the customer’s mind.


Further, using a paging system, a manager can be alerted when there is negative feedback.  This means that it is possible for a customer’s concerns to be dealt with before he leaves the restaurant.


Social media can also be a tool for gathering feedback, but it does come with its perils.  Often the data gathered on these sites are not tailored to allow restaurants to respond.  A person may use these sites to vent about a negative experience but may not provide where or when the incident occurred.


It can be vastly important to sift through the clutter and respond to negative feedback on these sites.  With comments and videos going “viral,” a restaurant can find their brand damaged by just one popular post.  So finding a way to locate and respond to such feedback before it spreads can be essential.


Learning and responding to customer’s concerns is an important aspect of the restaurant business.  A restaurant should show itself as a company a customer can trust and a company that cares.  Put in the effort to be such a brand, and customers will likely reward you with their business.