Dealing with a Complaint – Bar & Kitchen

Dealing with a Complaint

Dealing with a customer complaint is part and parcel of the industry. However, how you deal with it can determine whether this leads to return custom or a negative online review.

TripAdvisor has revealed that the average review rating posted on its site is 4 out of 5; showing that the vast number of reviews are actually positive. However, since reviews are no longer the sole realm of TripAdvisor, and appear on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even Google, knowing how to manage negative reviews is vital.

“Although feedback is great and helps venues to grow, poor reviews can be frustrating, particularly if it feels like it’s an incorrect representation of your business,” said Kamiah Overaa, marketing manager at Go dine digital, a marketing agency that specialises in the restaurant industry. “With 81%* of people using the internet as their first port of call when it comes to outlet information, it is vital that operators keep on top of their online reviews.”

Prevention is key
The best way to keep your digital reviews healthy and positive is to offer excellent customer service and address any customer concerns at the table.

Train staff
Attentive, genuine and proactive service, delivered with a smile, is all most diners require and goes a long way towards keeping poor reviews at bay. Most mistakes are human error, and are forgiven easily when dealt with promptly and positively.

Comment cards
Hand them out with the bill and get some honest feedback. Diners will let you know what they think, and it’s an opportunity to capture data too. Why not have an email opt-in on there too?

Table talkers
Signpost to your customers that if they’re having a bad experience, they shouldn’t be afraid to let someone know.

Token treats
A free drink or dessert is a simple technique to ensure customers feel they are important to you if an unfortunate error has occurred during service. Work out the costs involved, and give your staff guidelines on how complimentary treats can be used.

Dealing with online reviews

Don’t delete
Websites and social media platforms with review functionality do a lot to ensure that reviews are representative, so you won’t have the option to delete them. They’re also keen on authenticity though, so reporting a review you genuinely believe to be inappropriate is an option.

Respond promptly
Responding to reviews in a timely manner demonstrates that the business pays attention to feedback and cares about their experience. Replies are public, so be polite, professional and friendly – not defensive – even if you feel the review is unfair.

Address the complaint
Explain what has been done to address the problem so that the reviewer and potential customers are reassured that concerns are taken seriously, and that the outlet is willing to resolve problems.

Say thank you
Thank guests for their feedback (negative and positive) and express appreciation for taking the time to write about their experience. Use it as an opportunity to demonstrate an excellent level of customer service, invite the user back or even offer to talk about it further in a phone call.

Embrace them
Everyone gets unflattering reviews at some point. Customers are used to it, and poor feedback here and there won’t drive the masses away – especially if it’s being acknowledged and dealt with. They can be a challenge, but one to embrace – reviews are a valuable business tool and an excellent opportunity to strengthen your reputation, customer service and customer loyalty.

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