The Mr Men Approach to Reviews
TripAdvisor, whether your reviews are generally good or awful, we all hate it… It has become the bane of our lives and yet another thing that we have to analyse and review. And not only TripAdvisor but there are dozens of review sites in dozens of languages that are all impacting our business – whether we like it or not.
I still very much stick to my guns that we should be replying to reviews. After all, if a guest takes the time to leave you a review, shouldn’t you have the manners to reply? But here is the trick – it is all about how we reply – like everything in life… words matter. So lets look at the Mr Men approach:
Mr Angry – now he is a Mr Man you want to avoid. We all know that customers are ‘key-board-warriers’ and that very few would say to your face what they actually feel they can say when they are safely hidden behind a screen, but it is disadvantageous to take the bait and rise to those negative comments.
My advice is to walk away from a negative review, go do something else and come back to it a few hours or preferably a day later. Give yourself time to calm down. Now if the negative comments are true (and after all, we all make mistakes), then acknowledge them honestly. Apologise for letting your guest down and admit that it has highlighted some training issues. Never, ever offer to give something away as an apology but do give your email address and ask for them to contact you directly to discuss further (people seldom do but it shows you are listening and you are willing to open a dialogue)
But if the comments are wholly unfounded then a good response I have found, is to offer an apology but always ask if ‘they advised any of the team while they were in the restaurant of their issue as a member of staff would have been delighted to help’. That usually makes a great point! But never, ever rise to abuse – just rise above it!
Mr Sad – another Mr Man you don’t want to be. If the review is negative, don’t get all ‘gushy’. Don’t go overboard with your apologies. Don’t make yourself look weak because if you stand for nothing, you will fall for everything. Address whatever issues your guest had and in a professional way but don’t go on and on apologising. Keep it short, keep it simple, respond with integrity but don’t be over-apologetic.
Mr Defensive – practically the opposite to Mr Sad, Mr Defensive can sound like an out-and-out stand-off! I have seen reviews where hotel owners profess to their staff ‘never talking rudely to guests’ or having a ‘wonderful check-in procedure’ or ‘their team having an excellent knowledge of the wine list’ when quite frankly they never step into those departments to find out how great or poor their staff are. Don’t let yourself be defensive if you don’t know the facts. Investigate all issues before responding and again respond with integrity.
Mr Happy – now this guy can do you more harm than good if you don’t rein him in! Rule number 1, don’t thank bigspannerhead167563 for leaving a review, it sounds ridiculous. Start with a good morning or good afternoon – keep it simple. Even if you do have a decent name like Mary1976, don’t keep using the name Mary – overuse of someones name is over familiarity, so don’t do it. If someone leaves a long, gushing review, you don’t have to pick-out every single thing they found wonderful and respond to it (same goes for negative reviews by the way). Too much gushiness (not sure it that is a proper word but it sounds good) is off-putting and over indulgent. If they mention someone by name be sure to say you will pass their feedback to that team member, keep it simple – easy!
Little Miss Helpful – (and of course the best character had to be a women lol) – but reviews are there for a reason, so use them. Whether we like them or agree with them is irrelevant, they are telling us someone else’s opinion of our product or service. If you are getting repeated complaints about noise or poor wifi or a certain member of staff being abrasive, then for goodness sake use that information. If possible, track all negative feedback and measure it. How often are comments made about the wifi, your poor breakfast or chipped paint? Shouldn’t this be alerting you to changing or fixing? If there is a particular team repeatedly getting poor feedback, doesn’t that alert you to training issues? And if a guest says they they can’t wait to come back, use this review to confirm that they will always find the best rates, special offers and availability on your own site. Or perhaps advise them of an email address they can send their details to privately so that they can be added to your mailing list – just to be sure they don’t miss out on some great offers!
In short, stop thinking about reviews as something negative and use them to improve your business.
(and for all things revenue just firstname.lastname@example.org)