A restaurant business without happy customers is not a business. Even one with unsatisfied customers won’t be a running business for long!
The key to ensuring that your customers are happy and coming back for more is not only good food and friendly ambience, but also great service.
Customer experience is part and parcel of our everyday existence. In fact, it revolves around the very reason we select one brand over another. The secret behind the success of five-star restaurants is that they enjoy delivering a great experience to their customers and their customer feedback. When we have satisfied customers, not only do we gain loyal customers, but we also get positive reviews and grow as a business through word of mouth!
In our interconnected online world, it is risky to become isolated from your market, it’s unhealthy for your customers to just become a statistic. Once your restaurant loses the human touch, it loses its soul in the process and becomes a machine. That’s why it’s important to pay close attention to how you respond to your customers’ positive reviews and negative reviews online.
The following is a set of “must haves” which customers seek to see when you are responding to their positive reviews online.
Timely response, is the jewel on the crown. Resolving online review issues in a timely fashion is not only a substantial part of the overall customer service your brand offers, but also a prime quality your strategy should poses. It shows that you’re in-tune with your customers – something not everyone has! Also, while it’s unacceptable to make excuses for unfortunate incidents, we still know mistakes do happen. Addressing them, resolving them, and connecting with your customers and their customer feedback fast adds an edge to your brand and levitates it in the mind of its customers. It’s worth mentioning that studies show that 42% of customers complaining in social media expect a 60-minute response time!
Acknowledgment is king! Switch roles with customers, would your customer feedback to be ignored? Especially if you’re unhappy or in most cases “enraged”; Surely not. When you acknowledge the very existence of your customer and address their online reviews, that portrays valor and declares that 1) You have respect. 2) You are keen on building trust. 3) You appreciate devotion. 4) You are on standby and readily available to meet the needs of your customer. To be very honest, the acknowledgment of their constructive feedback part holds the highest importance.
Respect, customers pay your rent, salaries and keep your restaurant afloat and help you turn a profit. Respect this fact and you’ll be on your way to winning. Think of ways how to make them feel important and appreciated. Treat them as individuals, as the human beings they are. Remain polite even when the going gets tough. Thank them for reaching out and for giving you positive or negative review. Respond to their positive and negative feedback. Ensuring they feel respected solves half the dilemma!
Understanding, customers don’t buy services but experiences, they don’t buy food but indulgences. They become regulars to a certain restaurant because it starts to feel like a comfort zone, they feel welcomed, they feel… home! The better you understand your customers and their customer feedback, the better you can respond to their online reviews, be it good or bad reviews. Keep your ears – and eyes – open. Hear what the market is saying, initiate the dialogue and know that a great talker is in fact an amazing listener; if they’re saying this is the first time their pizza is not nice, it means they usually love it and don’t want to stop loving it! Encourage and welcome their constructive feedback and suggestions, make them know you pride yourself in hearing from them. The more constructive feedback, the more positive reviews left.
Actioning, on your promise or claim. If you have promised in your reply to contact them, then you better off doing that quickly, the same day. If you claim to hold your customer’s satisfaction dear, then live up to the promise. It is your responsibility to respond to their negative feedback and their positive feedback. Do all that is in your brand power and ability to deliver great experiences. It’s okay if they had a bad one, the smart way is to compensate them with so-good of an experience that renders them thankful for having the bad one to start with!
There is no magic wand to undo the done or unbreak the broken. However, there are endless possibilities, approaches, methods and actions for your restaurant to take in order to regain the trust and happiness of a customer. Trust that it all begins with consistent hard-work on bringing the just-cause which your restaurant’s founder and staff believe in, as close as possible to reality; and it better include delivering great customer experience!