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How to Protect Your Brand's Online Reputation by Empowering Frontline Restaurant Staff

Posted by Localyser | October 13, 2021

Hotels, restaurants, and other hospitality businesses have a lot to contend with when it comes to ensuring your customers are satisfied at all times. They often interact with multiple members of staff and have an increasing number of places to leave their feedback online.

Your brand’s online reputation also has more of an impact on your business now than ever before. So how can you manage it better? And how can you get frontline staff involved? 

Benefits of monitoring your online brand reputation

Increased revenue

It’s well known by now that businesses with overwhelmingly positive reviews attract more customers to their stores and restaurants. For example, 72% of customers say they use Google reviews to find businesses before making a purchase. Hospitality businesses such as restaurants are primed to take advantage of having a well-established review rating on Google, which is highly influential over a searcher’s decision to visit your premises.

Competitive advantage

Monitoring and encouraging online reviews also has an impact on your ability to beat out the competition for customers. More than that, it can have a direct impact on your ability to outrank the competition on search results, both on general search engines and within review sites such as Yelp.

Again, Google reviews are a good example here. High numbers of 4- and 5-star reviews boost your business further up your ranking in the “map pack” for local searches.

Operations

Managing your online brand reputation benefits your marketing efforts and your ability to draw in customers. But it can benefit your business internally too.

Detailed, honest reviews allow you to pinpoint problems with your operations, for example. Perhaps your staff needs retraining on your restaurant employee rules.  Or maybe your cooking staff needs to address some recurring complaints about a particular dish. Identifying trends in the negative or so-so feedback provided in online reviews for your business enables you to address anything that may be affecting your customers’ experience.

How to manage online brand reputation

Customers are now leaving reviews in multiple places such as Google, Yelp, and Tripadvisor, to name just a few. So, how do businesses manage their online brand reputation with so many places to monitor? 

Monitor social media & review sites

All potential websites where people can leave feedback about your brand should be monitored closely. That means sites that are not just specific to reviews. Many consumers now turn to social media sites to vent their frustrations with a business, and they might not be taking the time to include you in the conversation. So, it’s essential to keep an eye on social channels regularly for mentions of your business.

It’s also imperative that you claim and manage all listings on review sites and keep the information up to date. If not, you run the risk of customers not being able to find your profile when they wish to leave a review. You also miss key opportunities to boost the visibility of your business online.

Empower your frontline staff

While it may seem as though everyone leaves reviews online about everything these days, it can actually take a lot of work to encourage customers to leave reviews. From this perspective, it’s important to empower your frontline staff to remind customers to leave reviews. Some techniques and processes you can incorporate to do this include:

  • Ensuring frontline staff introduce themselves to customers. This makes it more likely that the customers will name the staff member specifically in their review.
  • Incorporating a standard service close into your customer service processes for frontline staff that encourages reviews, such as “Don’t forget to leave us a review to let us know how tonight went. Have a great evening!”
  • Try handing out cards that thank customers for visiting. On the cards, you can include a call-to-action for them to leave a review and suggest places for them to do so (Google, Yelp, etc.). You can also place a poster or plaque at the POS to remind customers to leave reviews.

You can even offer incentive programs based on review numbers and positive reviews received. Highlighting positive feedback to frontline staff shows them how their work is directly impacting the customer experience. This helps to boost morale and encourages staff to keep up these high standards. Some incentive ideas for review gathering include:

  • Monthly gift card prizes for the staff member who has had their name mentioned the most in reviews
  • Team-wide treats , such as a pizza party, if the number and/or quality of your reviews increases by a certain amount

Online reviews can also be used as an opportunity to highlight constructive feedback to your staff. Restaurant management should regularly take the time to highlight reviews to their employees and address any issues that come up.

Use an online reputation management solution

With so many outlets available to consumers for online reviews, it can become exceptionally difficult to keep track. But an online reputation management tool can help you keep everything in one place. It’s particularly useful for multi-location businesses that may be dealing with separate review streams for each location.

Many online review management tools also enable you to reply to the reviews right then and there and provide reports and insights on your review presence over time.

Another way to empower your staff is to allocate responsibility for online reviews to them for their individual locations. With some training on how to monitor and respond to reviews, you’ll help your frontline staff keep a pulse on the general feedback on their location.

Getting started with online reputation management 

If you’ve started looking around at the reviews for your business online, you’ll quickly realize just how many points of contact you need to manage. Why not make it simple for yourself with Localyser? Our online review management solution enables you to monitor and respond to all reviews from one location. Get started today by booking a demo here!

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