A customer review or feedback is a piece of content (e.g. text, video, etc.) created by a customer expressing a positive or negative experience such a customer had with a business/brand.
Let’s talk about reviews, shall we?
If you are a restaurant manager, I can bet that the thought of reviews would either excite or terrify you. Regardless of what feelings you have about reviews, one thing is clear: you know how important they are.
The importance of customer reviews and feedback cannot be overemphasized. Many restaurants owe as much as 67% of their sales to online customer reviews.
But why is this so?
Well, the answer goes by many names: peer influence, social selection, herd mentality, bandwagon mind-set, etc. take your pick.
Let me explain…
In nature, there are certain features male animals must have for females to find them attractive. Examples include the crown of a cock, the bright red head of an agama lizard, the long, colourful tail-feather of a peacock, and so on.
Males endowed with these feature find mates without too much effort.
However, it has been observed that female animals are less attracted to male animals that other female animals (of the same species, of course) don’t find attractive – even when such a male has all the right features.
This has also been observed in humans: the guys who always get girls always get girls. And the dork that never gets girls, never gets girls.
And here’s why…
Somewhere in the reptilian brain, animals make choices based on the choices of members of the group. Therefore, if the females are attracted to and mate with a certain male, there must be something good about that male. “He must have good genes”, they think.
It is the same story with customer reviews.
Customers buy based on the experience of other customers. This is why customer reviews are so powerful – both positively and negatively. And the reason businesses ought to pay more attention to it.
This is truer for the hospitality industry than most.
Covid-19 Has Changed the Direction of Customer Reviews in the Hospitality Industry
If you haven’t heard of covid-19, I have one question for you: How was your trip to earth?
Not too uncomfortable for you, I hope.
However, if you have, then you know it rocked every industry from the highest to the lowest – the hospitality industry taking the biggest blow.
Many in the restaurant business never recovered. The few that survived have had to move their business online – some fully, others partially.
As a result of the damage brought on by the pandemic, customers have changed the way they review restaurants. Customers know that many restaurants are struggling to stay afloat while trying to serve them. And even though they complain about the rise in prices of meals, they are a lot kinder with their reviews.
The moral bug has also bitten food critics around the world. Many of them are coming out to say they will not be writing negative reviews for the time being.
This doesn’t excuse restaurants or hotels to offer bad service. It just means that people – food critics included – want to be more positive about their comments on struggling businesses.
2 Things You Should Pay Attention To About Your Customer Reviews In A Post Covid-19 Era
The pandemic may have changed the tone of customer reviews, but it hasn’t eradicated it. Customers will continue to seek the opinions of other customers about your brand to make a buying decision.
With that in mind, there are 2 crucial things you want to pay attention to in regards to reviews in a post covid-19 world.
People Value Prompt Response
Here’s what customer reviews are not…
A bunch of texts written by customers with too much time on their hands.
When business owners stop seeing reviews in that light, they’d handle them differently. Customer feedbacks are windows to the souls of customers. Sorry, I didn’t mean to sound creepy but it’s the truth.
Feedback helps you know a few things; some of which include:
- Customers who are passionate enough about your brand to say something about it.
- Areas in your business that may need your attention.
- What people generally think of your brand.
Customers who take out time to write about their experience with your brand actually value your business. You don’t want them to feel like you don’t care about their opinions.
This is why responding speedily to customer reviews is invaluable.
Studies have shown that 45% of customers affirm that they are more likely to return to brands that respond to negative feedback. By deduction, this means that responding quickly to reviews can stop you from losing a customer (more on this in a bit).
Additionally, it will help you acquire new customers because people trust brands that take their customers’ opinions seriously.
To respond to feedback promptly and in real-time, you need a tool that alerts you whenever a customer posts a review about your brand. An advanced tool will notify you about a newly posted review, what platform it was posted on, and who posted it. Check out one of such tools here.
Handling Negative Reviews
Remember how I said people are a lot nicer with their comments about struggling businesses?
It’s still true and nothing has changed.
However, that doesn’t mean no one’s posting negative reviews anymore. Customers still reserve the right to voice their dissatisfaction with a brand, hopefully not yours.
And when they do, you should be ready to address it. And fast!
Here’s one thing many business owners fail to understand: a customer who posts a negative feedback isn’t lost. And it’s not the end of the world. Scathing reviews give you an opportunity to address customer grievances, correct flaws in your business, and win back unsatisfied customers.
Did you know that it is 5 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than keep an old one?
That’s a fact. As little 5% increase customer retention can improve your profits by a whopping 25 to 95%. For this reason, savvy business owners pay more attention to retaining old customers than acquiring new ones.
And you should, too.
Having this mind-set will stop you from seeing handling negative review as a chore, but as a customer retention strategy.
The covid-19 pandemic has changed the way customers review restaurants, maybe not forever.
While you may want to take advantage of this an rack up some shiny reviews, you want to pay attention to the points made in this post.
Train your customer service staff to be on the lookout for negative reviews and to respond to them quickly. Educate them on the advantages of responding speedily to negative feedback and provide them with the right tool to be able do so.POSTED ON November 25, 2020