A few of the practices that can keep you looking great:
1. Don’t call out negative reviewers.
For every viral response post that gets a digital round of applause, there are dozens that simply make other customers uncomfortable. It can be painful when someone posts a vicious one-star review about your place, but, you should never respond in anger. When you call a negative reviewer out, you make yourself look aggressive and angry, which are two qualities we don’t want in the people who prepare and serve our food. Those replies live online long after the bad customer has gone on their way and can hurt your business for years to come.
2. Fill the top slots on Google with positive entries.
Cultivate active presences on Instagram, Facebook and other social networks. Create an attractive and frequently updated website that people will see when they search for your place. By tying up the links that you can control, you can reduce the power of the ones that you can’t.
3. Address problems mentioned by reviewers.
If several people complain about curt or inattentive service, the problem may be you and not them. Hire experienced and conscientious servers and make sure that they are trained to give your customers excellent and consistent care.
It can be galling to have to say that you are sorry when you do not feel that you are in the wrong. A simple apology, however, can not only smooth things over with the offended customer but can also show prospective new customers that you are dedicated to quality customer service. Instead of hurting you, a bad review with a measured and sincere reply can actually work in your favor.
5. Offer comment cards.
Often, people who are leaving bad reviews are writing in the heat of the moment. If they can vent their anger on a paper card inside your restaurant, they may burn off the bad feelings that may otherwise lead to a bad online review. You can also use these cards to build up a strong supply of positive endorsements to feature on your website.
6. Ask happy customers to post reviews.
You can usually see when someone is enjoying the time they are spending at your place. If customers approach you to thank you for an excellent meal, ask them if they would be willing to post a short review on Yelp, Trip Advisor or another platform. It is important not to ask for positive reviews; this can be seen as review manipulation. Instead, ask the happiest people you see to leave an honest review of their experience. Most of the time, this will get you the positive mentions that can help you rise to a five-star rating. The more people who you ask, the better. On Yelp, customers can sort by highest rating or number of reviews. Getting more people to chime in will help you rank higher and get seen by more potential diners.
7. Create Google alerts for mentions of your restaurant.
In order to keep your reputation intact, you need to know what people are saying about you. Google Alerts delivers links that mention your name to your inbox. Check regularly so that negatives can be addressed right away.
Managing your reputation is not a task you can perform once and then forget. You need to provide excellent service and food, keep an active social media presence and practice good SEO to keep your restaurant’s own website high in the search engine results. By taking the time to nurture your reputation or hiring outside help to do it, you can improve your looks online and your chances of winning new customers.