Getting the right kind of review
In the COVID-10 era, restaurant reviews are changing – and for better or worse, so are operators’ responses. At a time when consumers are placing elevated importance on restaurant cleanliness and may be more selective about the occasions when they eat out, a negative review can have extra power – and many professional restaurant critics are suspending their critiques right now to avoid adding to operators’ challenges. A recent Eater report detailed how Yelp is imploring reviewers to consider the challenges of the current environment before leaving a review – and some operators are shelving their “customer is always right” approach to review responses by actively challenging negative feedback. But focusing on generating positive reviews is generally the best approach – if restaurants routinely make the request. BrightLocal research found that more than 85 percent of customers are willing to leave a review. Can you ensure your staff knows to ask customers to provide feedback – and also make it easy and fast for them to respond? The Rail suggests including review link on your newsletter and email marketing campaigns, as well as using online reputation management tools to solicit views via email or text. Further, urge guests to come to you first when they have a complaint or concern. Make sure they know you want the opportunity to address a problem when it happens. It can also give you a chance to explain how the current climate has changed the experience customers are used to having with you – before they unload about it over Yelp.
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