Nothing affects your business more than the court of public opinion. Think of how many brands you’ve tried based on good reviews and a friend’s recommendation. Amazon’s bookstores choose their titles entirely based on user star ratings, and when polled in an independent study, 68% of users say that they pick restaurants based on positive online reviews.
Word of mouth is everything, however, getting satisfied customers to leave positive reviews on Yelp can be a struggle. We’re breaking down the ‘musts’ for reaching the coveted 5-star Yelp rating, and how to hold onto it for dear life.
Website & Ordering Navigation
What wows a customer goes beyond gimmicks. The dining experience and delivery process have to be smooth from start to finish. If your website is difficult to navigate, order from, or just plain awful to look at, you’ve already lost.
There are three things to consider when you’re working towards impressing your customers: usability, accessibility, and clarity. The idea of a website is to make your restaurant an online presence as well as physical, providing your patrons with essential information such as open hours, specials, discounts, and contact information.
Being able to get what they need quickly and without fuss will make a huge difference in how people see and interact with your brand. On the back of adding an option to order straight from your site as opposed to a third party, you’re suddenly cutting down on the hoops your diners must jump through. They’ll appreciate the extra mile, and be eager to spread the word.
Easy Yelp Access
Getting your customers to access Yelp while in-store is key, whether by placing a QR code linked to the page on their receipt or having the link displayed on every table. Making it simple and no hassle to access will encourage your diners to leave a positive review while still at their seats. Alternatively, creating an email list checking in with your customers, and asking how the experience was can also be incredibly effective. They’ll feel as though they’re part of the community your restaurant serves and creates, and will be reminded to leave a review. This fulfills two purposes: keeping in contact with your customers and sourcing feedback. Many programs can help you collect customer emails, such as point of sale systems like Toast PoS, NCR Silver, and more. Other solutions, like Bbot, have powerful APIs that integrate with websites and established systems with the option to cut out the third-party apps.
Responding with Care
Negative reviews are part of owning a restaurant. Many brands have found out the hard way that taking criticism personally and with vitriol can only end badly. How you represent your brand while being criticized is just as important as when you’re being complimented. Responding with grace, understanding, and solution-oriented thought will gain you more customers and more chances to redeem yourself. After all, you attract more flies with honey.
Apologizing for a bad experience and offering to make it right are key parts of gaining loyalty and support on Yelp. Don’t over-rotate and beg for forgiveness, but do admit your faults and how you’re willing to work on changing them. With the right incentive, some customers might even take down the negative review, or bump their rating up to reflect how you handled their complaints.
5 Stars might feel like a lofty goal.
But with hard work and a solid strategy, it’s within your reach. Sit down ahead of time with your team and come up with ways to respond to negative feedback, and go over how you can incorporate QR codes for your Yelp into your online presence. Never be satisfied with good when great is just around the corner.