Invesp, a leading consulting firm of conversion rate optimization, released a 2023 report on the importance of online customer reviews, stating that 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business, and 88% trust these reviews as much as personal recommendations.
With these statistics, it is essential for you to know how to handle negative reviews, especially if your restaurant is caught up in a lot of them.
It could be done by responding proactively, monitoring your online presence, encouraging positive customer feedback, or maximizing technology like interactive menu software for reputation management.
But remember that negative reviews don’t need to be seen as obstacles but instead as opportunities for growth and improvement.
In this article, we’ll delve more into effective tips for handling negative online reviews.
Negative customer review examples for you to check
Online reviews are crucial to customers’ decision-making processes, especially when choosing a place to dine.
One negative feedback can instantly impact a restaurant’s reputation, dissuading potential customers and even affecting sales and revenue.
Knowing the specific context and elements that lead to negative reviews is essential for restaurant owners like you to avoid mishaps.
Here are some examples:
“My recent visit to your restaurant was marred by frustratingly slow service: Your staff seemed overwhelmed and disorganized and waited for ages for our food to arrive. A disappointing experience overall.”
Slow service is a common complaint in negative restaurant reviews. This example highlights a customer’s frustration when service falls short of expectations.
“I had high hopes, but for the price you charge, I won’t be returning anytime soon.”
Food quality is of paramount importance for diners. The dishes you serve must be at par with the prices you charge.
Hygiene and cleanliness issues
“The table was sticky, and I even spotted a cockroach scurrying by. This is unacceptable!”
Hygiene and cleanliness are non-negotiable when running a restaurant. If you receive a review like this, it can severely damage your business’s reputation.
“The atmosphere could have been enjoyable if it weren’t for your rude staff.”
Staff interactions are crucial in shaping your customers’ overall dining experience, having feedback citing rudeness or lack of hospitality signals the need to train your service crew in interpersonal skills.
“I dined at your restaurant expecting a top-notch experience given your prices, but I left feeling ripped off: the portion sizes were small, and the quality didn’t justify the cost.”
A restaurant’s menu should align with the quality of the dining experience it offers.
So, you need to be transparent about pricing, ensuring customers feel they are getting value for their money.
Why you need to know how to handle negative online reviews: Top 3 reasons
If you’re new to the restaurant industry or perhaps new to online feedback, you might not feel the need to pay attention to these as you focus on other aspects of your business.
But remember, in this digital age, everything revolves around the internet, making it easier for a business to fail with just one negative feedback.
So, professionally handling these negative online reviews is paramount to maintaining your brand’s reputation and fostering customer trust.
Here are three reasons why addressing negative online reviews is essential:
Turning challenges into opportunities
Though disheartening, receiving unpleasant comments and restaurant complaints provides valuable insights into areas needing improvement.
This direct line of communication from customers to your business highlights specific concerns and pain points.
Preserving brand reputation
Your brand’s reputation is one of your most valuable assets.
take note that in restaurant marketing statistics, it has been noted that about 72% of customers trust an online review as much as they trust a recommendation.
Negative feedback, if left unaddressed, can tarnish this reputation and potentially influence customers, damaging their trust in your brand.
Building customer trust and loyalty
When customers feel heard and valued, they are more likely to develop a sense of trust and loyalty toward your business.
Addressing online negative reviews is paramount.
Make sure that you respond thoughtfully and constructively. It will show customers that their opinions matter and your business is committed to resolving the issues.
How do you respond to negative reviews online: 5 effective tips
Embrace a proactive approach to handle negative online reviews
- Monitor your online presence
Regularly tracking online platforms such as social media for restaurants and websites is the first step in handling negative feedback.
Use your social media monitoring tools and stay vigilant in reviewing websites pertinent to your industry.
By being aware of reviews in real-time, you can respond promptly, mitigating potential damage to your branding.
- Encourage positive feedback
One effective way to counteract negative comments is to encourage positive ones actively.
You may request your satisfied customers to leave their reviews on the platforms of their choice.
If you’re using QR codes, it would be easier for your customers to access since they’ll only have to scan them through their devices. It will then direct them to the survey for food forms or websites where they can leave their reviews.
Having these positive reviews will not only boost your overall rating but also dilute the impact of the negative feedback you have.
Answering online negative reviews
- Stay calm and collected
When faced with unpleasant comments, your emotions can run high, influencing your response.
However, it’s crucial to approach responses with a level head. Resist the temptation to react defensively or confrontationally.
A composed response reflects your professionalism.
- Acknowledge and apologize
This is one of the best responses to bad reviews. Begin your reply by acknowledging your customer’s concerns and offering a sincere apology.
Demonstrating empathy and understanding in your replies sets the tone for constructive conversation.
So, even if it’s negative, maintaining a diplomatic and apologetic tone is vital.
- Take the conversation offline
While it’s essential to respond publicly, aim to move the conversation offline.
In your response, you may ask for their contact information and invite them back to your restaurant to discuss their experience further.
This demonstrates a commitment to resolve the issue and minimizes public escalation.
- Offer a solution
In your response, present a practical solution to address your customer’s concerns.
You may offer a refund, a replacement, or additional support, reinforcing your dedication to customer satisfaction.
Turn negatives into positives
- Learn from feedback
Feedback can serve as valuable insights into your business’s weaknesses.
Use them as a learning opportunity to identify areas that require improvement. Whether it’s product quality, customer service, or communication, constructive criticism can fuel positive changes.
- Implement changes
Plan an action on the reviews you received. Make tangible improvements to address recurring issues.
For instance, if you’re swamped with complaints like long waiting lines to take orders, you can resolve this using the QR code menu placed on your tables, where your customers can access your offerings by scanning them.
Just make sure to put an instruction on how to scan a menu QR code to cater to those customers who are not familiar with using it.
Harness positive online reputations
- Showcase positive overviews
Feature glowing testimonials on your website, social media channels, and marketing materials.
This will help you highlight your strengths and provide a more balanced perspective for your potential customers.
- Encourage customer advocacy
Convert satisfied customers into advocates for your brand.
Encourage them to share their positive experiences on social media or participate in case studies.
Positive word-of-mouth is a powerful antidote to negative reviews and helps build a robust online reputation.
Maximize interactive menu software for reputation management
If you’re still new to the digital scene, establishing a robust website using interactive menu software is one of the industry’s effective tools for branding and communication.
You can share positive news about your restaurant, update your content (e.g., menu and promotions), and interact with your audience.
Having this will not only streamline your overall operations but also provide a platform for you to gather customer feedback and assess what area of your restaurant needs improvement.
This way, you can manage your restaurant’s reputation without the hassle of navigating different applications.
MENU TIGER: Use this interactive menu software to gather negative online reviews
Gathering online reviews can be valuable for your business, providing perspectives into customer experience and influencing potential customers.
However, manually collecting them can be a bit of a hassle, primarily when overseeing other aspects of the business.
That is why you need a multifaceted tool like MENU TIGER—an interactive menu software that can streamline your restaurant operations, including a website builder and customer feedback collection.
This restaurant menu system has a feature where you can create your survey forms and add them to your website.
So, as your customer orders or skims through your webpage, they can leave their reviews at their discretion.
The system then automatically collects them and generates analytical reports based on the data.
How to set up your survey form to handle negative online reviews: A step-by-step guide
Create your account
Create your MENU TIGER account on your device by adding your active email address and password and entering the exact captcha value.
After successfully creating your account, look for Surveys on the left side of the panel.
Click Add on the right side of the dashboard
Click the Add button to start creating your survey form.
Input the survey name
Before adding your questions, label your survey form according to what aspects of your restaurant you need feedback on.
Create your questions
Construct your questions and choose whether they are answered with a rating of yes or no.
Go to Preview at the top right corner of the dashboard
Click the Preview button on the upper right corner of the dashboard to review your survey forms and edit them if necessary.
It will then automatically reflect on your website.
Handle online reviews like a pro with a QR code menu software
Negative online reviews are an inevitable part of doing business.
However, these should not be a cause of despair but a transformative opportunity to improve and grow your restaurant.
All you need to do is master how to handle negative reviews.
With interactive software like MENU TIGER, you’re guaranteed features that will help you effectively craft and deploy survey forms.
It automatically gathers the feedback and consolidates it into a report, making it easier to spot what aspect of your restaurant to improve.
So, create your account, and let’s turn setbacks into opportunities to demonstrate your commitment to customer satisfaction.