THE CUSTOMER ISN’T ALWAYS RIGHT, BUT THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS THE CUSTOMER
Make sure you understand the value of responding to your reviews!
Let’s discuss something a little controversial: online reviews and how to respond to them. TripAdvisor reviews. Facebook reviews. Google My Business reviews.
How about Yelp reviews? There, I said it. Is your heart racing all of a sudden? Blood pressure up? Face red? Good. Now settle down and take a breath. We’re going to get through this together. We’ll focus on Yelp, but what I’m going to say translates to all review sites.
Between 65 and 90 percent of consumers, depending on which study you read, are influenced by online reviews. For Yelp alone, as of March 2016, there are an average of 164 million unique visitors per month (62 million desktop computer visitors, 69 million mobile web users, and 33 million app users.) 72 percent of consumers say positive reviews make them trust a business more, and 90 percent say positive reviews directly influence their buying decisions. And guess what – people are more likely to share a negative experience than a positive one. Common sense? Of course. Okay, enough statistics. So, what does all that tell us?
It tells us that the opposite is also true. Negative reviews influence people. It also tells us that your customers probably use Yelp. You probably even use Yelp yourself to find a restaurant, or a new barber, or any number of businesses you need to look up. I’m sure you take a peek at your own reviews once in a while, and hopefully respond to them.
Can you afford to risk 65 to 90 percent of your potential customers reading your negative reviews and you pretending they don’t exist?
Restaurants and hotels
Sometimes your food can fall short of expectations, or maybe the server or kitchen got it wrong. Maybe your front desk wasn’t as helpful as it could have been. Sometimes an employee can be perceived as rude or dismissive.
I know, your employees would never be rude or dismissive. But two things:
Like the title says, the customer isn’t always right. Perception is reality. And they are always the customer. You want to keep their business, right? Get referrals? Sell more rooms or get more butts in your seats? You need to fix your negative reviews. Here is our “best practice” strategy:
How to handle negative reviews (the “recovery”)
We’ve seen two important outcomes from our partners who follow the above. First, often the customer will update their review and add additional stars. Awesome! Second, customers who have been recovered using these techniques often become extremely loyal fans of the business, sometimes even more so than if they had a good experience to start with. Super awesome! Going the extra mile and showing the attention makes a big difference.
A recent study showed that a one-star increase in a business’ Yelp score translates into substantial revenue increases. You may not like Yelp, but you can’t afford to ignore it. So, go win back a customer! | Jay Skowron, Hospitality Defender
Jay Skowron is the Founder and Principal of Hospitality Defender, specializing in social media marketing, online review management, websites, and process consulting. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Any views or opinions presented in this blog post are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association.