How to manage online customer reviews

Managing online reviews is now an essential aspect of reputation management for hospitality businesses. Online comments can significantly impact an establishment’s image and influence customer decisions. Consider the following statistics from

  • 94% of consumers say a bad review has convinced them to avoid a business.
  • 53% of customers expect businesses to respond to negative reviews within a week. 1 in 3 have a shorter time frame of 3 days or less.
  • 63% say that at least one company they reviewed never even responded.
  • ‘Customers don’t trust companies with lower than 4-star ratings. The most common filter applied is to see only companies with 4-star ratings and higher.’ from Online Reviews Statistics and Trends: A 2022 Report by ReviewTrackers.

Here are 5 strategies for managing them effectively:

  1. Monitor reviews: The first step in managing online feedback is to monitor them regularly. You can use tools such as Google Alerts, or other social media monitoring tools to receive alerts whenever a new review is posted.
  2. Respond promptly: Responding is essential, even if they’re negative. Responding to reviews shows that you value customer feedback and are committed to providing excellent service. Responding to negative comment can also help to mitigate the impact of the feedback and potentially turn a dissatisfied customer into a loyal one.
  3. Be professional and empathetic: A customer is sharing their opinion. You don’t have to agree with it, but you should carefully consider their perception of the experience. Acknowledge the customer’s concerns, apologise for any negative experience they may have had, and offer a solution or explanation if possible. Avoid getting defensive or confrontational, as this can escalate the situation and potentially harm your reputation further.
  4. Encourage positive reviews: Encouraging positive reviews can help to counteract negative ones and improve your overall rating. You can ask satisfied customers to leave a review or provide an incentive, such as a discount or free item, for leaving one. Most online booking platforms can be set to automate the process of requesting feedback from guests.
  5. Use feedback to improve: Use customer feedback, both positive and negative, to identify areas for improvement. Look for common themes in reviews and use this information to make changes that can improve your customer experience.

Key take-away:

Managing online customer reviews is critical for maintaining a positive reputation and attracting customers to your venue. If you don’t have a clearly defined process for how they’re handled, consider formulating a trainable policy that includes:

  • consistent monitoring of reviews
  • prompt & professional response standards
  • recommended language to use (and not use!) when responding.

If you’re interested in learning how to formulate and train these kinds of processes, consider attending our 2-day How To Train workshop.

Ben Walter