Why Negative Feedback Can Be Music to a Restaurant’s Ears

Apr 06, 2015

Last week, I attended Social Media Examiner’s Social Media Marketing World  conference in San Diego. You’ll see new insights sprinkled across blog posts and the like in the coming weeks, but let’s talk about the final keynote speech: “Hug Your Haters”, as presented by Jay Behr.

Jay’s chat applied to any B2C industry, but hits home for restaurants, who for better or worse are continually bombarded with both praise and complaints across social media and the various review sites. We at Synergy suggest that restaurants respond to every complaint with a cool head and the best intentions, but instead of feeling the sting of negative feedback, restaurants and chefs need to see the silver lining: Each and every complaint is an opportunity to turn a brand hater into a brand advocate.

TNS, while the number is slightly lower for onstage haters, though these should still be addressed promptly.

But more dangerous than the public haters are the guests that leave an establishment feeling “meh” about their experience, not returning and even worse, telling friends and family that the trip to XYZ Bistro isn’t worth it. The restaurant is left with no way to win back the miffed diner’s patronage nor can the restaurant learn from the feedback, making changes to their operation to better meet the needs of future guests.

Bottom line? Hug your haters, and do what it takes to keep offstage haters offstage and appease onstage haters to the best of your ability. But above all, acknowledge the opportunity that lay before you: to turn haters into advocates. Here’s how.

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