Posts Tagged ‘responding to feedback’

Restaurants and Social Media: Responding to Negative Commentary

July 17, 2013

It’s a fact of life that as a restaurant owner, you’re occasionally going to get an unhappy customer. Unfortunately, in today’s age of social media and online connection, that customer’s negative commentary has the potential to do a lot more damage to your business’s reputation than it ever had in the past. Therefore, learning how to address negative commentary on social media properly is more important than ever.

Having a Social Media Presence for Your Restaurant is Critical, and Encouraging Commentary Is Key

With more than 65% of online adults using social media forums such as Facebook, it would be foolhardy not to create a social media presence for your restaurant. In fact, many restaurants have vastly increased their traffic and customer loyalty through social media campaigns.

Social media presents an incredible opportunity to engage and communicate with your customers, and you certainly want to encourage commentary as much as possible. That said, how you respond to the occasional negative comment that pops up can end up having far-reaching retributions which you may not have considered.

What not to Say When Responding to Negative Feedback about Your Restaurant

The worst thing you could possibly do when responding to negative feedback is to get into an argument or tell the person that they are wrong. Remember, everything you say online is broadcast to the whole world, and once it’s said, it can’t be taken back – it’s forever there for potential future customers to see.

Therefore, it’s crucial to be as professional and diplomatic as possible in all of your online communications. If someone voices a problem, the best thing you can do is thank them for alerting you to the issue and assure them that you will look into it. Apologies are appropriate, denial and excuses are not. The old adage applies here as well – if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all!

Learn to See Negative Commentary about Your Restaurant as an Opportunity

While it may seem counter-intuitive, negative commentary can actually represent an opportunity for you to build relationships with your consumer-base and demonstrate your commitment to creating a quality experience and furthering goodwill. While you might be tempted to simply delete a negative comment, doing so creates a lop-sided conversation that is suspect to your viewers. In some ways, people actually pay more attention to how you respond to negative feedback than they do to the feedback itself.

Allowing the comment to stay and demonstrating how you respond to such feedback shows your followers that you are a real person who sincerely cares about your customer’s experience and that you are comfortable enough with the quality of the service you provide not to be threatened by receiving feedback that may be tough to hear.

Social media truly does have the power to make or break your restaurant’s reputation, and while it can be a powerful tool to build your customer base, it can also be a highly damaging medium if you don’t handle it correctly. Taking the time to respond with sincere, professional responses that demonstrate your commitment to excellence can go a long way toward building the reputation you truly want your establishment to have.