The 2004 introduction of Yelp was a game-changer for the Restaurant Industry. It provided customers with a platform to post reviews about their dining experience. Today there are several relevant platforms like Trip Advisor, Google and Facebook. Customer reviews have turned into an important tool to build trust and attract new customers.
Review and ratings are of prime importance for most of us while choosing a restaurant. Some establishments have mastered the art of using customer reviews to their advantage. For those who have, business is booming. But many are still struggling to deal with negative reviews. Unfortunately, the use of reviews today is widespread so there is no way around it.
Trends – Social media
The rise of social media has opened up a wide range of possibilities for business. Customers are using social media platforms extensively to share their views and opinions. In fact, social media channels have turned into a customer support platform. A quick response is mandatory and customers don’t support businesses with poor online support. Research by ReviewTrackers state that restaurant guests are more likely to leave high ratings on Facebook than on any other review site.
The internet has changed the way we eat. The demand for delivery of food has significantly increased over the years. The demand for your food on delivery apps like Uber Eats & Dash Door is solely based on reviews. A 2014 Local Consumer Review Survey by Bright Local states that 80% of consumers trust online reviews and ratings as much as personal recommendations. A survey by Small Business Trends also suggests that 31% of respondents would spend more money at a restaurant that had positive reviews. Be it a local business or a chain of restaurants positive reviews play a crucial role in driving growth and bringing in new customers.
But how significant is the impact of negative reviews on a business?
Impact of Negative Reviews
Customers primarily look for reviews to reduce the risk of a disappointing purchase and fasten the decision-making process. The research by ReviewTrackers shows that 80% of the customers are more likely to use a rating filter while searching for a restaurant. For restaurants with low ratings, this can mean minimal to no business through delivery. Research shows that one negative review drives away 22% of prospects. Establishment failing to address such reviews may face low footfalls.
TripAdvisor’s “Influences on Diner Decision-Making” survey states 94% of US diners and 87% of UK diners are influenced by online reviews. A majority of customers depend on reviews and ratings for decision making. Hence, it’s crucial to maintain your ratings online and address negative reviews immediately.
How To Address Negative Reviews?
Maintaining a positive online presence is crucial for your restaurant. Your restaurant is simply invisible to the customers if you don’t have a positive online presence. However, there will always be customers who are unsatisfied. But look at them as opportunities to improve and grow your business. Understanding the pain points of your customers and improving them over time is vital for a successful business.
A good thing about negative reviews is you can always control the narrative. Respond positively to all the negative reviews. Learn to apologize no matter how irrelevant the complaint is. If you have time constraints respond to all the reviews in person so others don’t get agitated. You can also offer complimentary food or drinks to those unhappy customers. It’s better to do it in person so others don’t follow the path to get free drinks. Ensure that you address negative reviews within 24 hours. As per ReviewTrackers, 53% of customers expect businesses to respond to negative reviews within a week.
Many restaurants also use fake reviews to keep them in sight and attract more customers. Using such tactics exposes you to a lot of unwanted risks and the damage done will be irreversible.
Handling negative reviews is a nightmare for many restaurant owners. Focus on acting positively and tackling the issue provides a better customer experience in the future. Customer reviews are indeed going to decide how your business grows and the kind of reputation you have in the market.