The hospitality manager or venue owner knows each customer transaction is significant. You’ve got a great menu, amazing and engaged staff and sophisticated systems all working beautifully together to ensure each customer transaction is awesome.  Despite all you do, in the high-volume hospitality venue there’s bound to be a few less than ideal customer experiences, staff mishaps and misunderstandings. So, while you want customers to post about their amazing experiences to social media, a negative review here or there is inevitable.  How does your venue respond to negative online reviews?

As the manager or owner, you are so passionate about what you do that it is hard to resist getting riled up over a negative online review.  After all it feels like a dagger in your back after all you do to make every customer experience a great experience.  It’s natural to worry about the impact a negative review will have on your future career and the success of your business. It’s an undeniable fact that social media reviews and posts are incredibly influential when customers are deciding whether or not to visit your venue.  Maybe this is why some hospitality managers and owners misfire with an over-the-top response.

Take one US restaurant manager who recently went a bit too far LINK.  A woman made an online order for meal delivery from a local restaurant.  The meal was underwhelming and the customer didn’t think twice about posting a three-star review online.  An hour or two later she had two missed calls, a voicemail and someone knocking on her front door.  The customer checked her voicemail to find out it was the restaurant manager at her door wanting to talk to her about her order – it was 10 pm on a Sunday night.  Yikes.

The business owner of the restaurant in question later apologised for a “misjudged attempt by the manager to apologise and provide a replacement order”.  The restaurant’s future is now looking bleak after a call to the cops, a downgrade to a one-star review and suspension of the restaurant by the online delivery provider.  The message is clear.  How you choose to respond to a negative online review is crucial.

Social media is all about creating a dialogue.  How will your venue engage in the social media dialogue?  You can turn social media reviews into an immensely powerful tool for ensuring your venue’s success by taking control of the narrative.  Have you taken 10 minutes to develop a social media strategy? Decide today how your venue will answer these important questions:

  • Who is keeping an eye on your reviews?
  • How long will you take to respond to a review?
  • Whose job is it to reply to reviews?
  • What is the process for investigating the validity of a negative review?

Check out our next post for H&L’s five ways to respond to negative online reviews.