So, you’re the owner/manager of a restaurant, pub, cafe, or pop-up?
Did you realise that every single person that walks into your venue has the ability to instantly market your business?

They could be doing it right now! It’s shocking to hear I know, especially if your online reputation is not what it needs to be. The really scary part though is that these marketers don’t require a degree. All they need is a smart device and an internet connection.

I’m talking about social media engagement and the rise of the keyboard/touchpad warrior that could be negatively impacting your business – even as you read this.

Now, before you go off harassing all of those patrons currently consuming their smart device, I want to discuss how you can minimise negative feedback altogether but also how interpreting social commentary as gospel, can be extremely costly.

Customers talking about your business in the online arena can be incredibly valuable and if it isn’t already part of your strategy it should be. Creating an online conversation is what we want right? Absolutely! However, what we don’t want, is too many negative things being said. If that’s happening to your business there is often a reason for it. Finding out why and decreasing the amount of negative attention can be done with the right tools, but it begins with asking the right questions.

"does that mean you're going to rush off to the grill and monitor every steak that hits the hotplate? Of course not. But that doesn't mean the review hasn't had a negative impact on a few would-be punters."

Matthew Lush

Think about it this way: Would you be confident diagnosing yourself for a disease by using Google?

We all do it. But this anxiety-inducing method of diagnostics is not only counter productive to your state of mind it’s also UNQUALIFIED. The same applies to an online reviewer. Take “BurntSteak87” for example who states: “I could have substituted a week’s supply of my charcoal tablets with one mouthful of this sacrificial cow. Refund needed for me to ever come back again”

Now does that mean you’re going to rush off to the kitchen and monitor every steak that hits the hotplate? Of course not. But that doesn’t mean the review hasn’t had a negative impact on a few would-be punters.

This kind of attention is inevitable. Social Media and “Hate” seem to go hand in hand no matter what you do. However, the true cost to your business is when you don’t respond to the “Haters” at all. And don’t just take my word for it.

The Sensis Social Media Report published in May 2015 noted “Ratings and reviews should be a major focus for businesses online. They can play an important role in increasing customer satisfaction and retention, with 62% of people open to changing their opinion of a business if it responds to negative feedback on social media.”

The importance of responding is clear, but if BurntSteak927 isn’t alone in the negative critique of your business, then you need to address immediately. Seeing consistent, sub-par reviews and low score ratings across the major review platforms like Zomato, Yelp! & Trip Advisor means that something is fundamentally wrong.

So what exactly can you do?

1. Respond to the hate. The damage of non-reactivity is evident. Addressing the disgruntled patron in a positive way, might not change their opinion on the business, but it gives you a chance to get involved in the dialogue and also demonstrates that you’re not avoiding any issues raised.

2. Keyword search. This will literally highlight any consistent themes from your reviews that could indicate a fundamental problem. Head to your review platforms and on your keyboard press Cmd + F (mac) or Ctrl + A then Ctrl + F (PC), type “Service” into the search bar and cycle through each time “Service” is mentioned from a reviewer. Take note if it’s mentioned negatively or positively, and repeat for the top 5 pages of reviews.

3. Reduce the hate. You’re never going to eradicate people like BurntSteak87 but if there are too many of these reviewers appearing that bring down your average and you can’t figure out why, then you need to look at alternative action.

Monitoring every single aspect of your operations to find the weak link costs time & money. Allow Me is all about diagnosing the problems – fast. We are like the House MD of the Hospitality world. If you can’t pinpoint the problem of your business, don’t be a “google patient” get in touch and start getting qualified insight now.

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