Posts Tagged ‘relationships with customers’

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.