As customer service is a big aspect of Hospitality, it's important to make sure your online customers service skills are on par with what is offline. Some say that to prevent negative reviews is to make sure your customers aren’t unhappy enough to post them in the first place. Unfortunately, it's impossible to please everyone and bad reviews will inevitably happen from time to time.
Thanks to Social Media, not only are reviews public to everyone but if dealt with badly and it's a slow news day- your mistake could end up being published on a news website. Don't want to become the next social media snafu? Follow these steps:
- Keep calm- you care a lot about your business so it's easy to get offended, but don't take it personally and lash out at the complainant. Step back and think about it from the customer's point of view, then decide what you'd like to do
- Address the complaint- repeat the complaint so that the customer can see that you have publicly acknowledged their review and apologise. Remember to keep it professional and try not to use excuses
- The humble brag- while they may have had a bad experience, it's good to remind anyone reading this exchange that it was a once off and also of your business' other redeeming qualities
- Take the conversation offline- as the complaint is already public, and the person complaining might still have angry words, it's best to take the conversation to email or phone so that it can be dealt with privately. Suggest that you would like to discuss in more detail and offer your direct line or email address
- Offer compensation- only if absolutely necessary and if the matter cannot be resolved with words - while it's easy enough to refund, perhaps you want to change their negative experience into a positive one. Invite them back to your venue with a complimentary dinner or drinks and make sure that your staff look after them
- Learn from your mistakes- ask for input from your customers, they will see that you care about what they think and that you're trying to improve yourself. If there's a recurring theme in your complaints - make sure to implement solutions to the problem to avoid future problems
The only time to delete or ignore comments is when you are certain that a claim is false (for example, a competitor might write a fake review) or someone is trolling your website.