The Importance of Your Bar’s Online Reviews
Online reviews are part of being a bar owner today. No way around it. While many bar owners don’t exactly love Yelp, there are clear benefits to review sites. Happy customers provide “social proof” to your prospective guests, encouraging potential customers to spend their hard-earned dollars and time at your establishment. Poor reviews can be frustrating, but also provide an opportunity to showcase your excellent customer service. Whether positive or negative, all feedback presents an opportunity for you to show off your location in a favorable light.
If someone leaves a positive review, realize they took time to find your bar on their preferred rating site and leave a comment. Given how quickly we all cruise the internet today, it’s kind of a big deal. So let these customers know you appreciate their positive words! A quick “Thank you!”is an easy way to get started. For glowing remarks, you could ask to share their review on your social media sites. You get to show the world what folks think of your establishment and your customer gets their name mentioned. Everyone’s happy.
Now, you may not have time to reply to every 4 star review. But you MUST respond to every negative review. Responding to this feedback opens the door to bringing an unhappy patron back through your doors because they’ll see you care enough to spend a few minutes finding out what went wrong. And customers browsing your reviews will see the same thing. All good stuff. Importantly, no matter how scathing the review may be, craft a reply that is magnanimous and professional (watch our webinar for tips on how and how not to respond).
This is all fine and good but maybe you don’t have time to check on the multitude of niche review platforms, let alone the heavy hitters like Google, Yelp and Facebook. Don’t worry! There are a number of software solutions that compile reviews on all review sites, notify you when a new review comes in and help you quickly respond. Services include Yext, Podium and Evergreen, which lets you monitor and respond to reviews from a single inbox while also tracking average ratings over time.
Or maybe you need a way to acquire more reviews from your customers. Asking them to write one is a start, but typically the request is forgotten once they’re out your door and onto the next thing. Brew Reviews is a service that allows you to send a text message to your consumers. The text contains a link that opens your page on the review app loaded on their phone. Simply ask your patrons for their mobile number, plug it into the Brew Reviews site and press Send. You can also use Evergreen’s digital menus to share positive reviews and encourage your guests (while they are drinking your award-winning IPA or digging into a plate of your famous wings) to leave one of their own.
However you structure the process of managing your online reviews, at the very least, make sure you’re responding to your customers’ comments. It’s what keeps them coming back!