Online reviews are simply word of mouth on STEROID!
Also, they are the kinds that last forever!!! It’s not like someone just talks to someone about you in that corner, and when the conversation is over, it’s over.
When people leave reviews for us, it’s forever and you must really keep that in mind to fully understand the power of Online Reviews and how it can affect your restaurant positively and/ or negatively!
Let’s focus on how can we turn EVERY single review that is left on your review sites whether positive or negative into REPEAT customers!
Before we dive in, let’s talk about 3 things to shift our mindset toward Online Reviews.
They are FREE customer feedback
Let’s remember an obsolete business called “Secret Shopper”!
There were these companies, restaurants and businesses paid $$ to, to anonymously purchase from them and let the owners/ managers know of their experience!
What was the purpose?
Why would a smart business owner pay for this service? To IMPROVE!
To have a pulse inside their business of what truly happens in their front line.
Guess what? You can save that $$$ and get to find out how your restaurant is perceived without spending a dime thanks to Yelp, FB Review and etc.
Awesome, huh? :)
2) Look at every single review as an excuse to ENGAGE
This is a great opportunity to show the human side of our restaurant. That we are not just some corporation. We care and we are talking to them directly.
They are simply starting this conversation on these online review sites.
3) Even a negative review is simply an opportunity to gain repeat business!
Did you know research shows that 70% of folks who leave a negative review are willing to give the business another shot! Which is far better than those that had a poor experience and are not willing to make the relationship right. They are gone and we have no way to getting a hold of them.
Now, it’s critical for us to give those negative reviewers a reason to come back! To give us another opportunity to serve them.
This would require us ASKING them for this and in return treat them to something. We are ultimately negotiating.
We need to give them an incentive. By that, I mean something free! A dish, an appetizer, a dessert. Something!
Why? Because you are a smart restaurant owner and you’ve done that math and you know the lifetime value of your customers.
Say, an average customer spends $50/ month with you. Then, 50x12 = $600/ yr
That’s the value of this customer. So, let go of the $5 dessert and be generous because you are giving $5 in hopes of gaining $600.
This is a good deal!
PLUS the fact that this review will be seen by thousands in the future and as we mentioned before it’s PERMANENT.
It’s a win win situation for us because:
When people glance through the 1 star reviews and see how we handled this customer, they will be impressed and hopefully don’t hold this against us and come check us out. Win for us.
There is a big chance the customer will change his/ her rating to a higher star which also is a WIN for us!
This is how we turn every single online reviewer into repeat business: We respond to every single review placed on all of our online ordering sites. Negative and positive. (+ anywhere a customer is communicating with us)
We offer an incentive to BOTH positive and negative reviews! We want to not just “reward” bad reviews! What kind of impression are we leaving to those who will read that review later? “Hey, if I leave a bad review I get a freebie!!”
We ask them to email us so we can email them a gift certificate which has 2 benefits: a) We are growing our database! And we can always send emails to them and bring them back again and again! More sales! b) We can take the conversation PRIVATE! And take control of this in our inbox instead of on a public platform such as Google Places, TripAdvisor and etc.
We are more re likely to turn those who are browsing our Yelp page into customers by the way we handle our online reviews. “Oh hey, look they care. They respond and incentivize positive negative reviews”. Now, that may be subconscious but we are for sure leaving an impression!
With every review, we are building our database, and our sales!
When you consider the fact that 85% of customer (research shows) make decisions to come check a restaurant out based on our ONLINE REVIEWS. Then, we know this is a very important matter!!