Customer reviews are everywhere and are a key part of the purchasing process nowadays. Whether it be on Amazon, Deliveroo, or on social media, consumers go fishing for information before going through with a purchase. In the hospitality market, customers use websites like TripAdvisor or Booking to compare customer reviews, prices and the competition, before booking their hotel or restaurant. Customer reviews are thus your shop window on the web and can be a powerful ally in helping you to stand out among the competition.
Customer Feedback in Figures
Whether you agree or not with the idea of customer reviews, it is important to understand their importance for a restaurant:
- Nine out of ten people in France check a restaurant’s reviews before going there. Most find them a useful source of advice (source: IFOP study 2016).
- In 2015, TripAdvisor claimed it received 200 new comments a minute.
- In 2018, 66 million reviews were posted around the world.
- TripAdvisor is used by 260 million people a month.
Although many of the reviews featured are biased or fake (Source: DGCCRF), the reassuring thing is that 81% of the reviews published are positive with scores of 4 or 5 out of 5, and only 10% give scores of 1 or 2 out of 5.
You also need to understand how the TripAdvisor algorithm works. The three key criteria are:
- Volume of reviews
- Recentness of reviews
So a restaurant will rank higher in listings if it has a lot of reviews scoring 4 out of 5 rather than just a few reviews with a 5 out of 5 score.
The Impact of Customer Feedback for a Restaurant
Now that we know these figures, what impact can they have on your restaurant?
According to the magazine Tourmag, a drop of 1.5 points in the average review score equates to an 11% drop in the sales of a business.
A low ranking can be bad for corporate image. A poor score can indeed have a negative effect on your existing clientele … as well as on your bank’s confidence in you when it comes to asking for a loan, or on recruitment. Potential future employees would prefer to work for businesses with good scores.
A positive score, on the other hand, can be extremely good for your business in terms of reputation and customer traffic, resulting in better food and beverage sales. Raising your score by 1.5 points is said to help increase revenue by no less than 11%.
Unfortunately, it is the unhappy customers that most often leave comments online and more rarely the happy ones. So how can you boost your score on customer review websites?
How to Improve your Customer Reviews
There are several ways to enhance your online reputation:
- Take control by closely managing your business’s page on review sites.
- Check the accuracy of the information provided, like the telephone number, opening times and website address.
- Post good quality photos in high definition to attract customers and draw people’s attention away from any unofficial ones posted by customers, which are often less enticing.
- Reply to customer reviews. Replying to positive customer reviews can help build loyalty. It also encourages potential new business, while answering negative feedback will allow you to set the record straight.
- Report defamatory reviews. Comments which specifically name or identify an employee are forbidden by TripAdvisor. To request that such comments be deleted all you have to do is complete a form.
Lastly, encourage happy customers to submit reviews in order to eclipse negative feedback:
- Ask customers in person at the end of their meal: “Please leave us a review on the internet”.
- Make this easier for them, by having a QR code on the menu for example.
- If you have the customer’s email address, you can send them a post-stay or post-meal email, thanking them for their visit and encouraging them to leave a review.
The process of increasing and improving customer reviews can be long and tedious. It can take time and the results won’t show immediately. However, customer feedback is a key way to develop your business and customer behaviour in this area is something that must not be ignored. Don’t forget that online customer reviews are a shop window for your business. Solutions exist to help you manage them effectively, such as Guest Suites, which, like 10-Vins, is based in Nantes ?
To learn more
Customer satisfaction also comes from the recommendations you make to customers and your ability to offer them what they are looking for. If you want to make successful wine suggestions and fulfil your customers’ needs and wants, there are several steps to follow. Read our article to find out more.