Customer ratings and reviews can have a significant impact on your retail or restaurant 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 about your business, as well as those that need improvement.
Smart restaurateurs are constantly monitoring their online ratings, reviews and conversations about their business. They understand that positive reviews not only generate a great deal of marketing power and social proof, but they contain hidden gems of information about your food, drinks, 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.
Using Customer Ratings and Reviews to Improve Your Business
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, you should 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, smelling good, and free of clutter.
I remember years ago when I was waiting tables at a fast-casual restaurant, one of my guests ordered a French dip sandwich. He later told me that the sandwich was great, but it would have been even better with slices of bacon on it. I began suggesting this to other guests when they ordered the sandwich and it turned into a big hit with customers. The owner of the restaurant even added the option in the menu.
Responding To Customer Ratings and 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.
The sooner you react to customer ratings and reviews, good or bad, the more it will show that you care about what your customers think. Over time, this will not only build more customer loyalty, your overall ratings and reviews should also inherently begin to improve.
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.