After a challenging couple of years, the South African restaurant industry is finding its feet and beginning to chart a path toward full recovery.
For many small to medium owners and managers, finding new ways to unlock passive or lost value is key in ensuring the continued success of their restaurant.
In 2022 and beyond, this means plugging into your restaurant or brand's online review community.
Online reviews are the fastest, most accessible and affordable way to connect with your customers. Leveraging your positive reviews while using your negative reviews to improve and show off your customer service skills is the most effective way to let guests know that your business deserves their time.
Furthermore, investing in your online review community also improves your Search Engine Optimisation, making your business more discoverable online. Yes, that means more customers will find you on Google, faster!
Check out our five ways to help improve your restaurant's ratings and online presence.
If you want to attract positive customer ratings, then give your customers something positive to write about. Remember that you're competing with literally thousands of restaurants and delivery services, so ensure that you are on top of the things that differentiate your business.
Hire friendly, knowledgeable staff and consistently up-skill your team in customer service. Also remember that cleanliness is non-negotiable. Ensure the food and drink you offer is perfect. On occasion, you will drop the ball, so make sure you address the issue quickly and to your patrons' satisfaction.
Don't forget that your customers are 21% more likely to review a negative experience than a positive one, so when you receive a positive review, celebrate your team for their hard work! Give them the recognition they deserve, and they will more than likely work hard to get the same results.
Also, ensure that your internal processes include analysing your customer reviews every day and either using the negative feedback to improve or doubling down on what your customers praise you for.
“Your brand name is only as good as your reputation.” ― Richard Branson
Up to 70% of consumers trust a business with a minimum of 6-20 online reviews. That means most of your valued customers check out your Hellopeter reviews before they decide to visit your restaurant!
As Brightlocal suggests, up to 68% of your customers will leave a review if requested. If you're providing the service and care your customers deserve, ensure your guest protocols include asking for a review after delivering outstanding service.
Hellopeter Business offers restaurants the opportunity to send automated review invitations, so their customers can respond directly from their mobile or electronic device.
Whether at the pay-point, during the purchasing cycle or as a follow-up communication, start leveraging your amazing team's hard work by asking your customers for their opinion on the services you've rendered.
"Your brand is what people say about you when you're not in the room."― Jeff Bezos
Did you know that negative reviews can increase conversion by up to 85%?
The power of positive reviews is self-evident. However, negative reviews are almost as valuable. Most customers understand that even their favourite restaurant will make the occasional mistake.
Instead of viewing negative feedback as bad for business, understand that you're receiving valuable, actionable feedback for free — the kind of direct-from-customer information that businesses often pay an arm and a leg to acquire.
Acting on your review community's feedback publicly demonstrates to your customers that you care about their experiences and that show you can address customer issues quickly and accurately.
“Mistakes should be examined, learned from, and discarded; not dwelled upon and stored.”
― Tim Fargo
Collecting and publishing your fantastic reviews is just the first step on your restaurant's journey to optimised ratings. According to our research, up to 90% of unhappy customers will return (and buy again) if you resolve their issue quickly and efficiently.
Never forget that, besides seeking resolution on a specific issue, people write reviews to seek empathy and understanding. Often, half the battle is in simply communicating that the customer is heard and listened to.
If customers are taking the time out of their busy lives to post your business a review, the least you can do is actively engage with the review and respond to the customer. While you, of course, cannot resolve every single issue, showing potential customers that you're a responsive business leads to trust and repeat fare.
Remember that up to 57% of customers won't patronise a business that doesn't respond to reviews.
"Although a great restaurant experience must include great food, a bad restaurant experience can be achieved through bad service alone. Ideally, service is invisible. You notice it only when something goes wrong." ― Dana Spiotta
Finding the time to ensure your online reputation management is sorted while dealing with late deliveries, payroll, and demanding customers can be overwhelming.
So, why not partner with the best in the biz to give you a hand? Hellopeter is your expert in helping businesses take full control of their online ratings, with a track record of excellence across the large to small and medium businesses.
Partner with Mzansi's most popular, most trusted consumer-review platform and connect your restaurant to curated growth. Check out your FREE Hellopeter Business account today!