In today’s connected world, positive customer ratings and reviews can be one of the most valuable and powerful customer acquisition and marketing tools for your restaurant business. If you’re currently not paying attention to your ratings and reviews, take a look at our post, Why Every Restaurant Should Care About Customer Ratings, to discover the potential revenue you’re undoubtedly leaving on the table.
It also goes without saying that receiving more positive customer reviews can not only help you increase foot traffic and revenue, but consumers will have more assurance and trust that they will have a pleasurable experience at your establishment.
Here are a few ways in which you can get more of those valuable positive ratings and reviews from your restaurant visitors.
Put Your Reviews Where Customers Can Easily Find Them
If you want your customers to leave you ratings and reviews, you need to make sure they know where to do it. One of the best solutions is to utilize your guest WiFi landing page, sometime referred to as a captive portal. When customers log into your WiFi network, you can ask for a review there, or provide links to your review pages on the popular review sites.
Other ideas might include adding signage on your tables or at your POS, or adding a review form directly on your website.
If you have an automated WiFi marketing platform, you can set up an automatically triggered email to go to your customers after they leave your establishment asking them for a rating. If the rating is good, you can follow up with links to the popular online rating sites and encourage them to share.
Ask Your Customers for Ratings and Reviews
There's nothing wrong with asking happy customers to give you a review. When you see a guest having a pleasant experience, strike up a conversation. Then ask them to visit a site like Yelp, Google or TripAdvisor and share their experience.
Requesting a review while face-to-face with your customer can be incredibly effective. According to marketingland.com, "asking in person can garner you seven to eight times more reviews than asking via email."
Strike at The Right Time
Yes, a mixture of good and not-so-stellar ratings can appear more authentic to internet surfers, but you obviously want a lot more of the positive ones. When asking your patrons for ratings and reviews, look for those who:
- Are outwardly having a great time
- Are "regulars" at your location
- Are dwelling longer than your average patrons
- Compliment your food or atmosphere
- Finished their entire meal
- Gave a large tip
These customers can become your best online advocates, so be on the lookout for them and don't be afraid to ask for a rating or review.
Go Where Your Customer Go
You can ask for ratings and reviews online, as well as in person. The key here is to find out where your customers are online. For instance, if a large portion of your customer base is active on Facebook, make sure you have a company Facebook page that you are actively posting and commenting on. This engagement generates trust, loyalty and comfort.
This applies to any social media channel. The time you spend engaging with your customers will be well worth it. And when they feel comfortable with you online, they'll likely leave you a more positive review when asked.
Offer a Reward for Ratings and Reviews
Asking for a rating or review is a very effective way of increasing positive online ratings. So why not reward customers who rate or review your restaurant? You could offer every customer who gives you a rating a free item from your menu, or a discount on their next visit.
Make sure to mention that the offer is for any rating or review – good or bad. If they feel “bribed” and leave a good review solely because of the payback, your data can become skewed, and you will miss out on the valuable reviews that you can use to improve your business.
Be Best at What You Do
Above all, you should always strive to present the best food and drink with amazing service in an incredible atmosphere. When you do this, great ratings will inherently follow. And when you begin encouraging customers to give you ratings by following the tips above, you'll be sure to see increases in overall foot traffic, customer frequency, and customer spend.