Voice of the Restaurant Industry
I preach this over and over and over again -If your customers leave you a bad review or critical remark on any of your social media sites or even your company website, do NOT delete it.
The only time that you should ever delete a comment like that is if there is profanity or otherwise threatening behavior. You are not invincible. You are going to make mistakes. Your employees are going to make mistakes. Get over it and deal with it. You cannot be on the front line 24/7 and if you are – chances are you’re making more mistakes than you realize. Your customer is the one who is going to tell you when something is not right and you know what? You should thank them.
Yes, thank them.
When I was working and managing in F&B, I wasgrateful to the customer that took the time to let me know when we messed up. You know why? They were in the minority. The other 80% of customers just never came back. So, we never got the chance to make things right, prove we were worthy of their business and win them back.
Now that I am on the consulting side of the business, I see it all too often both as a consultant and as a consumer. It happened last night to one of my former clients. I still get the pings when someone comments on their Facebook page or mentions them on Twitter. Their customer (who was an obvious frequenter) posted that if they weren’t going to accept a certain coupon, they should remove the advertisement from their establishment. And the restaurant deleted his comment. And when he mentioned that them deleting the comment made him angry, they deleted that one, too.
Ouch. Guess what – he’s not coming back. And he was right in his complaint. They shouldn’t advertise a special they’re not honoring.
So, how do you handle it?
First and foremost – acknowledge it. Let them and everyone else who’s watching (they are!) know that you are there to listen and help their issue. Then, you take it off line ASAP. Say something to the effect of “Joe Diner, we are sorry that you had an issue in our restaurant. Will you please email us at YourEmail@Company.com so we can get all the details of what happened?”. I recommend you have a “spare” email address set up just for these kind of instances. Then, from there – you solve their issue. Or maybe you don’t.. but either way you’re showing John Q. Public that you care what they have to say and are interested in doing something if they have a problem.
Have you seen really bad cases of this? I know I’ve seen plenty but always love a good war story especially if there’s a happy ending!
Good luck and good engaging!