Today we want to talk a little bit about online reputation management for restaurants post-coronavirus. As we draw closer to the opening of business doors all over the country, there is absolutely no doubt that restaurants everywhere are going to be slammed. With everyone itching to get out of the house and lose that cabin fever, lines are going to be long, wait times are going to be extended, and tempers are likely to be frayed. Every restaurant owner can tell you that this is a recipe for disaster, which is why you not only need very skilled customer service reps on hand, but you also need a reputable and experienced online reputation manager.
Online Reputation Management for Restaurants Post-Coronavirus
So, your restaurant plans to reopen once the stay at home orders are lifted and you’re given the all-clear to get back to business…We can all assume that the hoards of cabin fevered customers are going to be taking the opportunity to eat something away from home. We can also assume that this is going to have you run off your feet…but that’s not necessarily a bad thing…unless your restaurant is unable to accommodate all of those customers when they walk through the door.
There is no doubt that you will do your best to keep up and try to appease guests who are left waiting, but the inevitable fact is that some of your customers are going to be irate. Honestly, it’s unlikely that they’re going to be frustrated at you as much as they are frustrated at the situation and have weeks of pent up aggravation that they want to take out on someone…but this doesn’t stop them from taking it out on you. Unfortunately, that means that you are increasingly likely to receive negative reviews and comments from unsatisfied customers online.
Do Negative Online Reviews and Comments Matter?
You may have been raised to let things “roll off your back” and we certainly don’t recommend letting negative comments and reviews ruin your life, but they do matter!
Once a negative comment or review is made online, it’s there for everyone to see. So the next time that someone goes looking for a local restaurant like yours, that potential customer is going to read that negative comment or review and they’re going to have to decide whether your restaurant is worth a visit. In this situation, the majority of potential customers aren’t going to take a risk on a restaurant that doesn’t come highly rated by customers, they are much more likely to opt for a “Sure thing”. So that negative press thanks to unhappy customers has now cost you business.
What Can You Do About Negative Reviews and Comments?
We have talked before about the importance of addressing this type of publicity, but if you didn’t catch any of those posts, here’s a quick rundown…
- You should ALWAYS respond to feedback from customers whether the feedback is positive or negative.
- You should NEVER respond to displeased customers by taking offense and attacking them for sharing their opinion.
- When responding to negative reviews, remain professional and be willing to set things right…even if you don’t think it was your fault! Should you offer them a bribe? Of course not! But politely respond to the feedback and then take the conversation into a private setting where you can offer to pay for the cost of a second meal by way of apology if they would be willing to give you another chance. DO NOT try to use this as a bargaining chip to have the individual remove their feedback, this will backfire terribly.
- Respond to feedback and criticism as a person but not by taking their comments personally. Know how to accept constructive criticism (even when it’s not presented particularly well) and use that feedback to better your business if possible.
Can You Get Negative Comments and Feedback Removed?
It can be particularly difficult to get negative reviews and feedback about your business removed. In fact, many online forums make it nearly impossible to take any kind of action without a legitimately written request from a licensed attorney. Even then, it’s no guarantee that the content in question is going to be removed unless it meets very specific criteria – for example, you can prove that it was left by a competing company to intentionally destroy your business.
So, while it IS possible to get content removed, the situations in which this is possible are rare. This means that your best option is to know how to professionally handle the negative press.
To be fair, most small business owners take an extreme amount of pride in their company which can make it very difficult to handle criticism without taking it personally. This is why it’s to your benefit to hire a professional company that is experienced in managing and responding to less than positive feedback.
OPM Can Help
At Online Presence Manager, we have experience working with companies in a wide range of niches, helping them to handle their existing online presence and increasing their positive exposure online.