"Slow service and salty bill, more than the first one I ate", how to respond to a negative review like this? Local managers often ignore feedback from less satisfied customers or, even worse, take offense by losing their temper and replying in a bad way. It's natural to get annoyed, but getting overwhelmed by emotions could permanently alienate the disgruntled customer and make the potential consumer suspicious. So how can you respond to a negative review without risk? It is said to count to 10, but we suggest even more to keep these 5 points in mind.
1. THANK YOU FOR THE REVIEW
Anyone who works in the hospitality sector knows how much smile and cordiality play a fundamental role in the perception of service, even when dealing with an unpleasant customer. The same goes for commenting on negative feedback. Show that you appreciate those who expose themselves and give a personal opinion. A first look review might be unfair, but it might make you think about the consumer experience. You can thank them with a “thanks for your opinion” or a “thanks for bringing this issue to our attention” to get the conversation off to a good start.
2. APOLOGIZE IN AN EMPATHIC WAY
After thanking for the comment, it's time to take responsibility and apologize. It's difficult, you take a step back, but it's basic so you don't seem obtuse and proud. What if the mistake is not yours, but the customer's? Simply show that you are sorry for what happened. You don't need big justifications, always refer to the individual customer experience to avoid negative generalizations about the service. “We apologize if our service did not meet your expectations.” “We aim to offer a great service, we are sorry to hear about your experience.”
3. CALL THE CUSTOMER BY NAME
Since the comment refers to a single personal experience, have a direct dialogue with the client. Mentioning the name of the reviewer makes the consumer feel more listened to. Avoid the generic "Dear Guest" or "Dear Customer": most of the reviews are done on Google, Facebook or by registering on the platform, so it is easy to identify the name of the person who is leaving the review.
4. EXPLAIN THE POSITIVE HAPPEN
This point should always be considered, not just when discussing how to respond to a negative review. Unconstructive and sarcastic rejoinder is time consuming and will make you appear arrogant. In fact, people tend to accept mistakes more easily if you explain what happened with solid and polite reasoning. So far you have shown empathy towards the customer, now it's his turn to put himself in your shoes. If, for example, he complains about the cost of the menu, you can answer: "We choose quality and refined raw materials for our dishes, for this reason they could be more expensive."
5. PROPOSE A SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM
What did you learn from the negative review? Tell that to the disgruntled customer and offer him a solution to the problem. Even better if directly in the club with the aim of making him change his mind about your service. Use phrases like: “We would like the opportunity to talk about it together, over a dinner hosted by us.” Don't close the doors to those who leave a negative review, but invite them to come back with the utmost welcome you can give to turn the review back into a positive way.
EXAMPLES OF RESPONSES TO NEGATIVE REVIEWS
Each case is unique, so there are no absolute right answers but answers that are suitable for each specific case. However, it can be helpful to see some examples of effective responses to negative reviews that you can use as a guideline and adjust based on context:
- Hello X, thank you very much for your feedback! We hadn't thought to consider this aspect yet. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you again for bringing this to our attention.
- Dear X, We really appreciate that you took the time to provide us with feedback on your experience with us. We are sorry to hear that our service did not fully meet your expectations. We take your feedback seriously in order to further improve our service.
- Hi X, thank you for sharing your experience with us. Our priority is to ensure the best possible service to all our customers, so we will take your feedback into consideration for the future, as it represents a precious opportunity for us to improve.
And now that you have responded to the negative review, it's time to evaluate the efficiency of your establishment in 7 key points and the speed of service. Did you know that with Combi line ovens you can serve customers 20 times faster?