10 Secrets to Online Review Success

Google is one of the top review platforms, so make sure to increase your reviews, here.

Did you know that trust is key for restaurant customers? And did you know that nearly 75% of diners say they trust a restaurant with positive reviews over one without?

With this staggering statistic, you can see how vital restaurant reputation management is to your business. To help you with review management tips, let’s look at 10 secrets to online review success.

#1: Understand Their Importance

The first step for many restaurant owners is to first understand and appreciate the importance of reviews. How people decide where to eat and subsequently interact with your restaurant is vastly different than it was just 10 years ago. (tweet this)

Your customers can interact with you on your website, social media channels, and review sites before they ever enter your door. Moreover, they can share their experience with your business with everyone they know (and even some they don’t) right on the internet.

It’s never been more important to have a wealth of reviews for your restaurant because it affects decision-making.

The challenge is getting reviews and keeping them mostly positive. That all starts with your customer service, restaurant culture, and your food.

Five-star reviews are vital. Negative reviews aren’t the end of the world because everyone gets some. The key is making sure you have enough good reviews to outweigh the bad ones. Keep in mind that you need four five-star reviews to offset just one one-star review and maintain a four-star rating.

#2: Make It Easy to Leave a Review

The best way to get reviews is to make it easy for people to leave them. You do this by knowing your customer base.

Would they prefer you email them or text them for the review? You can’t expect your customers to search out Google or a review site, so you want to make it easy for them by meeting them where they are. Provide them a link and ask them to tell people about their great meal with you.

#3: Ask for Reviews Through Text

While you can send an email request for reviews, you’re more likely to get a review when you ask through text.

By texting your customers a review link using SMS, you make it super easy for people. It will take them just a few minutes, and they can share the review.

In addition, train your customers to request reviews. This way, when you send your text, your customers will already have reviews on their radar. Your employees can say something like, “I’m so glad you enjoyed your email. When you get a text from us in an hour or so, would you mind leaving us a review?”

#4: Respond in a Timely Manner

When someone does leave you a review, you want to respond to it immediately, whether it’s positive or negative.

For example, if someone leaves you a positive review, you’ll increase their customer loyalty by acknowledging their review right after they leave it. On the flip side, if someone leaves you a bad review, you want to try to diffuse the situation as fast as possible.

#5: Create a Plan for Negative Feedback

In the case that you do get a negative review, you want to be prepared. Every restaurant will get a negative review, whether the customer is right or not.

So, while you should tailor your response, you want to have an empathetic template in place so you can respond quickly.

When responding to negative reviews, remember that you are not only responding to the reviewer but also to potential customers who are eager to learn how you handle bad reviews. (tweet this)

Aim for those five-star reviews, but know that four-star reviews are great, too.

#6: Respond to Every Review

Another important tool for online review success is to reply to every review about your restaurant.

Sometimes, businesses forget about responding to reviews. Yet, by always responding, you set yourself apart from the competition.

Put someone in charge of responding and create a basic template for them to follow. Make sure they reference things from the review, so all of your replies are unique.

This is your chance to show the digital world you care about all your customers.

#7: Be Authentic with Reviews

Some businesses take the easy route and pay people to leave them reviews. You don’t want to do this. Potential diners can spot reviews that aren’t authentic. While they may mistrust the reviewer, they may also mistrust your restaurant.

Online review success means getting reviews from solid customers.

#8: Time the Ask Right

When asking customers for reviews, you want to time it right. For example, after someone dines with you, wait an hour or so and send a text message asking for a review.

You don’t want to ask them too late or too early. How do you know what’s right? Test the timing to see which time frame works best for the audience. Then, you can set up your automation to send review requests.

#9: Provide Top Notch Customer Service

The best tip for online review success is to provide excellent customer service and food people want to return and eat repeatedly.

Train your staff on an ongoing basis to provide customers with excellent service. Every customer touchpoint is important to your overall success.

Great service is key to getting those five-star reviews. Exceed your diner’s expectations, and you’ll find that people are more likely to leave you a positive review.

#10: Share Reviews on Social Media

Once you get some reviews, you should share them on your social media platforms. This will get your reviews in front of even more people and broaden your reach.

It also gives potential customers the social proof they may need to make the trip to your restaurant.

Get creative and use imagery to share your reviews with the best quotes. In addition, for happy customers, ask if they would be willing to do a video review. You can use this on social media and even on your website.

Finally, on the review posts, ask others to share about their experience with your restaurant and tag others who might love your food.

Final Thoughts on Online Review Success

Online reviews can help grow your restaurant. Your positive reviews are what get new people in your door and keep current customers coming back.

So, you want to use these review management tips to build customer loyalty and trust.

You can and should leverage all your positive reviews. Display them on your website, your social channels, and even on posters in your restaurant.

Highlight your success, and you’ll find you get even more customers in the door.

Is your website ready to host your online reviews? At Restaurant Engine, we can create a website for you that provides the pivotal spot for your digital marketing. Your website is the centerpiece of your online marketing, and it needs to look and perform well to increase your online sales. You can count on us to create an amazing website that presents a unified brand for your restaurant and works across all digital platforms. Let us help you make the perfect site that draws customers in, improves customer engagement and your conversion rate, and enables you to grow your business! 

 Are you ready to take your restaurant to the next level with a new website?

Get your free website consultation today!

Images: Diane Helentjaris and Brett Jordan on Unsplash

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