We all know that diner reviews can make or break your restaurant business. The Local Consumer Review Survey 2020 conducted by BrightLocal shows that restaurants are among the top 5 industries where customers are most likely to have gone through reviews. And rightfully so, experience is everything when it comes to food! Hence, you cannot ignore the increasing influence of customer reviews. A negative review can tarnish your brand reputation terribly. But, at the same time, a few excellent reviews can catapult your restaurant in the top league.
What is customer-generated content?
A positive customer review is nothing but customer-generated content or user-generated content (UGC). It can be a social media post, story, or blog where customers voluntarily share rave reviews.
3 major benefits of customer-generated content
Unlike paid content, the trust factor is more when it’s customer-generated. Any customer, for that matter, feels that it’s just a regular user like them who has shared the review. The survey results released by Businesswire vouches that consumers find user-generated content 9.8 times more impactful than influencer content. Secondly, when it’s your friends or relatives who have shared a rave review, the FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) factor naturally prompts you to experience that brand. Last but not least, customer-generated content comes for free. So without spending a single penny, you are getting free publicity.
Top tips to make effective use of customer reviews
Let’s see how you can take advantage of the reviews posted by your customers on online platforms.
1. Post the best reviews on your social media profile
Look for the best online review about your restaurant. Pick the one with appealing images and vivid descriptions. Add graphics to the content and share them as posts and stories on your Instagram and Facebook profiles. ImpactPlus reports that one out of four Gen Zers and millennials actively look at levels of the products and services they are planning to buy.
Tag your customers while posting the content. In all likelihood, they will share the post on their profiles as well. This increases the reach and visibility of your restaurant on social media. This also inspires other customers to share the reviews along with their photos. If it’s a video review, it can be pretty beneficial for your brand name.
2. Lure your customers for repeated visits through loyalty programs
When customers share excellent reviews on your internal feedback platform, take advantage of that opportunity. With India’s leading digital feedback management software, such as inresto Feedback, you can instantly collect feedback. In case of any inconvenience, you can settle the matter in real-time by, for example, sending a free beer or offering a small discount on the customer’s bill. You can also request your customers to share their good experiences on social media as well.
You can make good use of feedbacks and create loyalty programs best suited for your customers. Say, for example, a corporate honcho shared the feedback that group discounts are missing at your restaurant. You can introduce reward points for every 5th buffet lunch for such regular group visitors. Similarly, young couples might have expressed their view to introducing red wine to your menu. On Valentine’s Day, launching red wine with a special offer of a 10% discount on every second red wine ordered would be an attractive offer for couples.
3. Use customer reviews as testimonials
As per the survey results reported by Bigcommerce, 72% of the customers opined that positive reviews and testimonials influence them to trust a business more. Hence, whenever your customers share positive reviews on online platforms, post them on your restaurant website, too, as testimonials. The food lovers who do a Google search will come across these testimonials. It will prompt them to try out the variety of cuisines offered by your establishment.
4. Use the reviews to improve your offerings and operations.
Positive feedback and critical criticism is a fantastic opportunity to develop your business further. An example is a bunch of great reviews about the newly introduced Mexican burger. Come up with offerings on the same lines that can boost your sales. An excellent review of the exceptional service offered by one of your waiters is another opportunity. Reward him and motivate him through words of appreciation in team meetings. This will encourage fellow staff to keep up the excellent work. Thus positive reviews can contribute significantly to the overall development of your restaurant.
5. Run social media contests to create more user-generated content
Everyone loves freebies. Launch a social media contest where the best comment on your dishes will win a prize. It can be a free meal or a dine-in offer. Naturally, customers will share the news with their friends on social media. It means more engagement, likes, and comments for your restaurant brand organically.
6. Create a social media-friendly ambiance
Gen z is used to taking photos before having their food. Posting on Instagram, they want their friends and relatives to know about where they are dining out. Hence create an ambiance at your restaurant which is quite ‘Instafriendly.’
Here’s what you can do:
- Natural lighting makes a big difference while taking photos.
- You can build a booth with your restaurant branding printed on it. It will prompt the social media savvy generation to pose for pictures near the kiosk.
- Presentation of dishes also makes a huge difference. Never overcrowd the plates with too many things.
- Develop a branded hashtag for your restaurant. Ensure that your customers use the same hashtag while posting on Instagram and Facebook.
In these times of Covid-19, sales at restaurants have not been the best. So to tide over the challenges, the best way is to cash in on every marketing opportunity. Positive customer reviews on online platforms being one such—Marketer’s, world over vouch for its effectiveness over other paid forms of advertising. Hence by making maximum use of positive reviews, you can retain your customers and persuade new ones.