It looks like the excitement surrounding social media for restaurants has seen a cold dose of reality. An Australian news outlet recently published an article explaining the agony restaurants are experiencing when bad reviews are published on social media and review sites such as Yelp.
Award winning restaurants “are being forced to defend their reputation as faceless diners use social media to complain about everything from the temperature of their meal to the cleanliness of their bathrooms.”
We’ve all had bad experiences when dining out before but businesses really have to be on their toes because accountability is being served, welcome or not.
Social Media For Restaurants: Reading Between The Lines
People have so much going on in their lives, you never know what’s happened that day when they leave a bad review. The bad experience at your restaurant could have simply been the feather that broke the camels back and for some reason their emotions drive them to leave a scathing review on Urbanspoon.
Whether or not their actions were justified, the way YOU respond makes all the difference. Services like Urbanspoon will give you an option to message the user who left the message. Reach out to them and offer a half priced meal or free entrée to give you another chance to change the review. Social media for restaurants always needs to be solution-based when it comes to bad customer experiences.
The fact is that mistakes happen and people will forgive you…but not if you ignore them. It’s very easy to only see the negative in this situation but it’s actually very positive.
Why? Because those people were already going to say bad things about their experience, with or without social media. By posting their complaints online, you have an opportunity to make amends so the whole world can see. Even better, you could reach out to disgruntled customers of the competition and offer them a great deal to see what excellent service is like.
Ask yourself these two questions:
1. When was the last time I checked out what people are saying about my business online?
2. How much longer will I delay improving and sustaining the good reputation I’ve worked so hard to build?
Don’t Learn The Hard Way
If using social media for restaurants has never crossed your mind, you need to at least be paying attention to what’s being said about you online. In addition to tracking review sites like Yelp and Urbanspoon, it’s wise to setup Google Alerts to receive notifications anytime your business is mentioned online.
As long as you’re in the loop and know what people are saying online, you can respond to it and fix the problems as they arise. Think about how happy you have been when the manager comes by to apologize for a mishap in the kitchen and slashes an entrée off your bill; these experiences turn a negative experience into a memorable, positive one.