Recently, a manager was concerned about his restaurant’s reputation – specifically, its online reviews.
In this post, we offer him solutions to manage online reviews, extend customer service to stay top-of-mind, and we provide a path to doubling customers.
His bar and restaurant is rich, airy and clean. His team is friendly and competent. They serve a consistent, healthy menu, and excellent drinks.
But he faces an existential challenge that many in the service industry face: though the restaurant’s service has rebounded from early growing pains, the online reviews have not caught up.
Now, despite 5-star service, as indicated by in-person feedback, they aren’t appearing high in searches based on rating.
Online reviews are critical in the service industry. They can make or break a local shop. For more context on the power of reviews, listen to this excellent podcast on the power of online reviews (& how to dominate the internet).
But their challenge is not unique. One reason is that happy customers leave far fewer reviews than unhappy customers. As a consequence, a restaurant with less than 5-star ratings can suffer from being overlooked. Recent data shows that 56% of Yelp, Facebook, and Google review readers use them as a basis for decisions.
THERE IS A SOLUTION
For some it took time to get it together after opening. For some only the few customers with a rotten experience have left reviews. In all cases a strong team is at the mercy of a lower rating and needs a solution. So here they are: the simple secrets to management, communication, and timing.
- Don’t be uncool, but don’t be too cool, either. If you want a review, you have to ask. But be sure the request is consistent with your service style. A few ideas include using signage that is seen but not distracting. The best strategy is reinforcing the ask during the check presentation. If you want to dip your toe in, offering incentives can make an invitation feel less intrusive. IMD&M advocates leading every action with an offering that is valuable to the customer.
- Timing can be everything. If you are a restaurant, a recent Reputation.com post suggested that asking either immediately or soon after a customer has received a service is the best time. This can be done via text or email using a online review manager or by suggestion at the table. The article goes on to say that email sent to customers in the morning are 5% more likely to get a response, and an email sent mid-week are 10% more likely.
WATCH: Invisible Man on how to get more reviews right now.
3. Reviewing is a chore; make it easy for customers. Get a customer review manager. Consider it a priority if your reviews are less than 5-star. They can do the job of suggestions #1 and #2; they are extremely affordable and they allow you to see and respond to every review efficiently from one dashboard.
For example, there is no chance I would review my dentist on my own. He does a great job, but once I’m gone, I am not thinking about his office for another six months. But, he asks me about the service via text in the afternoon after every a cleaning. He could do it by email, but I gave him permission to text. His text points me right to his review sites. I am happy, and it’s easy, so I leave him 5-stars. Model yourself after this simple strategy.
4. BONUS TIP! A great way to get those people out there to give reviews is to ask for a review when your business is tagged. A simple message via messenger could drive dozens of happy customers to leave 5-star reviews. If you are not doing this, you’re leaving so many opportunities on the table.
Use all these tips, making them consistent with your service and style, and learning your core customer’s lifestyle, the review rebound challenge can be solved in weeks. The benefits include exponentially more people to serve – who don’t just give reviews, they spend money.
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To learn more about saving 50% on a Customer Review Manager and set up, email firstname.lastname@example.org.