Managing online reviews can be challenging. The way your company responds to online reviews can build trust and respect with your community… or the opposite.
In our previous blog, “Online Reviews- Your Guest’s First Impression”, we covered the statistics behind reviews and why they matter, both in the profits of your company and guest perception. It is important to know the statistics and science behind reviews. This foundational knowledge is integral in order to execute the next step in the review process and subsequently is the most important – responding to reviews in an effective and strategic manner. There are a few rules of thumb as it comes to responding to online reviews.
Rule #1- When to respond:
Urgency is key here. Guests want their voice heard, and they want it to be heard immediately. By responding instantly, an unsatisfied guest will feel valued. They see that you are listening and working on resolving their displeasing experience.
Rule #2- Let reviewers know you genuinely care:
Tap into the perspective of your guests and how they feel. First, thank them for their review and giving you the opportunity to resolve the situation. Try to understand their pain points and how you would feel if you were in their shoes. How would you feel if you experienced a disappointing visit?
Listen. Listen. Listen. Having high emotional intelligence and responding in a nonreactive way goes a long way in the eyes of your guests and community. Sometimes, people are simply looking to be heard and respected.
Rule #3- Offer a resolution:
Make it right with unsatisfied guests. This means listening to them, and seeking how you can resolve their experience in a way that is beneficial to both your guest and your company. This could include taking the review offline, offering to meet them in person or if necessary, compensation in the form of a gift card. This can provide an opportunity for guests to return and another chance to make their next visit better.
Rule #4- Follow up:
After a resolution has been made, follow up with your guests and make sure that their redemption visit was up to snuff! If it was, ask them to join your loyalty program and thank them for their patronage.
Why Are Reviews So Important?
Online reviews offer user-generated content that allows users to describe their experience on a platform that is unfiltered. The user experience design on these platforms create an online forum that is both reputable and trustworthy. The online review platforms we use at Charleston Hospitality Group include TripAdvisor, Google, Facebook and Yelp.
Toast All Day TripAdvisor Accolades
This past year, one of our restaurant’s, Toast All Day was announced the winner of their annual “Travelers’ Choice Best of the Best list” and was ranked in the top 25 as a ‘restaurant that hosts the weekend’s favorite meal. Winners are chosen just as the name suggests: the travelers’ choice. According to a press release by TripAdvisor, “The 2021 Best of the Best Restaurants Awards are calculated based on the quality and quantity of traveler reviews and ratings for restaurants on TripAdvisor collected from Jan. 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021.” This award is their highest recognition and is presented annually to those businesses that earn excellent reviews from travelers and are ranked in the top 1% of properties worldwide. What an accolade to be a part of! We can attest this great accomplishment has been possible due to efficient management of online reviews which allows us to understand our guests and continuously provide an experience that generates loyalty to our brand.
Sam Mustafa is the the CEO of Charleston Hospitality Group and Toast! All Day Franchise. Named one of the nation’s 100 most influential CEOs by Nation’s Restaurant News and frequent speaker on Joe Pardavila’s Podcast on ForbesBooks Radio. He has also been featured on Medium, Authority Magazine, describing his version of the American Dream. Sam is one of the leading voices in the Restaurant Industry.
1) Karr, Douglas. “10 Rules on How to Respond to a Negative Review Online.” 10 Rules on How to Respond to an Online Review, 19 Sept. 2021, martech.zone/how-to-respond-to-a-negative-review-online/?utm_medium=feed&utm_source=feedpress.me&utm_campaign=Feed%3A%2Bmartech.
2) Thomas, Andrew. “The Secret Ratio That Proves Why Customer Reviews Are so Important.” Inc.com, Inc., 26 Feb. 2018, www.inc.com/andrew-thomas/the-hidden-ratio-that-could-make-or-break-your-company.html#:~:text=Here%27s%20the%20ratio%3A%20It%20takes,of%20a%20single%20negative%20review.&text=A%20customer%20who%20has%20a,to%20leave%20a%20good%20review.
3) “Online Reviews- Your Guest’s First Impression.” Charleston Hospitality Group, 28 Aug. 2021, charlestonhospitalitygroup.com/blog/online-reviews-your-guests-first-impression/.
4) “How to Respond to Good & Bad Reviews.” Google for Small Business, Google, smallbusiness.withgoogle.com/free-google-training/how-to-respond-to-google-reviews/#!/.