Improving Restaurant Ratings and Reviews: Creating a Feedback Loop
Customer ratings and reviews can have a significant impact on your business. Whether good or bad, these reviews provide priceless feedback you can use to improve your overall customer experience. They allow you to recognize specific things that customers love, and those that need improvement.
Smart restaurant owners and operators are constantly monitoring their online ratings, reviews and conversations about their business. They understand that positive restaurant reviews not only generate a great deal of marketing power and social proof, but they contain hidden gems of information about your food, service and atmosphere. It’s real-time custom market research at its finest.
If you’re not paying close attention to your online ratings and reviews, you are missing out on vital information that can help grow your business. And if you’re not actively pushing those rating higher, you are leaving a lot of money on the table.
Using a WiFi marketing and analytics platform like Bloom Intelligence, you can proactively increase the amount of positive ratings on the major online ratings websites, while decreasing the amount of negative ratings. This is done by creating an automated feedback loop.
Using a WiFi Marketing Solution to Improve Online Ratings
Using Bloom’s advanced automated marketing suite of tools, it is quick and easy to create this type of feedback loop. Here’s how it works.
Bloom users create the initial message that is sent to their customers. This message will typically thank them for a recent visit and ask them to provide a rating of their experience — from one-half star to five-stars. The message can be configured to be sent after a specific amount of visits to your restaurant so they do not get the message after every visit.
Then, a rating threshold is configured for which a follow up message will be sent. For instance, if the threshold is set at 2 ½ stars, then if the customer gives a rating of 2 ½ stars or less, a follow-up message can automatically be sent. In this case, the follow up message would offer an apology for providing anything less than stellar service, and can include an incentive to get the customer back through your door for that valuable second chance.
The idea is to grab the customer’s attention and offer some kind of resolution to their issue before they get to an online ratings website. If they know their issue is being addressed in a friendly and positive manner, they will most likely refrain from complaining online. Over time, this will mitigate many negative reviews that would have been sitting online — damaging your reputation — for years to come.
Likewise, if the customer gives a good rating in the initial message, you can follow up with a message thanking them, and include links to your pages on Yelp, Google, TripAdvisor, or any other online ratings website. Over time, this will greatly increase the amount of positive ratings and reviews you have online.
Using Bloom, users can see all of their ratings for any given time period, along with any comment/review the customer added. They can be sorted by the rating itself, or by date, customer name, or physical location (if you have more than one restaurant using the Bloom platform).
By studying the ratings list, you can find hidden trends or operational issues you were unaware of. Perhaps a good portion of your lower ratings commented that they ordered a specific menu item. If so, you can address that item. Or perhaps your great ratings mentioned a specific person on your wait staff. If so, perhaps you could make that server a trainer for your new employees. The opportunities are countless.
It is important to remember that not all WiFi marketing platforms offer this type of advanced marketing feature. Simply put, Bloom has been at the forefront of WiFi marketing for years, developing and improving the best WiFi marketing solution available today.
Use Reviews to Make Your Business Better
The first step in utilizing reviews to improve your business is to monitor and evaluate them consistently. Once you are on a regular schedule of evaluating your reviews, you may begin to see patterns emerging. When an issue is identified, good or bad, take swift action to improve it.
For instance, if you are seeing consistent positive comments about a certain menu item, you might want to feature it as a special. Or, if you see consistent negative reviews about a certain menu item, you could try modifying the recipe, or removing it from your menu altogether.
Perhaps you notice positive comments about the cleanliness of your front-of-house. You can use those reviews in your marketing to tell the world what other people are saying and experiencing. If, on the other hand, you notice consistent comments about uncleanliness, you can begin paying more attention to keeping your restaurant clean and clutter-free.
Respond To All Reviews
It is also very important that you respond to your reviews. If the review is great, thank the reviewer and tell them you hope to see them again soon. If the review is positive, but not glowing, try to see if you can spot something that would have made their experience better.
Responding to negative reviews is also very important. Your response to a negative review can actually influence and impress potential future customers. Make sure to respond in a positive tone and provide an effective solution to the issues that caused the negativity. This shows that you are actively listening to your customers and that you are committed to making things better. Again, make sure and take action to resolve the issue.
These are just a few examples of using customer reviews to make your customer experience better — the options are endless. By monitoring and evaluating your online reviews and conversations, and then taking action based on them, you can keep your restaurant top-of-mind of your local consumers, build that five-star reputation, and watch your business bloom.