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VoC Restaurant 101: Develop a Voice of the Customer strategy

October, 2020

Online reviews have become increasingly important to restaurants. In such a saturated market, it’s the key to getting seen in an online search. Implementing a VOC Restaurant strategy, that is, a Voice of the Customer (VOC) restaurant strategy, is the best way to build your restaurant’s online reputation. 

Consumers read restaurant reviews more than reviews for any other industry for the 6th year in a row! (1)

Convincing no? 

Why do restaurant reviews matter to the Voice of the Customer? 

The first thing new restaurant clients say to us that they want is a way to not only get more positive reviews, but a way to distribute these reviews to relevant online platforms. They know that this is the best way to boost their online reputation and grow in Google rankings. 

We have the details for you here: Restaurant management: Why reviews matter

These online reviews are the honey that attracts new customers. Additionally, restaurants that earned one more star on the review platform Yelp yielded a 5-9% increase in revenue (2).  

With more authentic reviews and an increased star ranking, more potential diners will find your restaurant online and select your eatery. While they might not phrase it as such, it is because you are using and displaying the voice of the customer. 

Additionally, with the right VoC solution, you can analyse customer reviews and send personalised questionnaires to get major insights regarding your diners. 

What does a restaurant VOC strategy look like?

Once a customer decides to book a table or walks into your restaurant, they are moving in your customer journey. Map out your customer journey with digital touchpoints to build loyalty.  

A VoC restaurant strategy which follows the customer journey of pre-dining, dining, and post-dining.

Pre-dining: Attract potential diners with your restaurant’s reviews & ranking

Focus on your restaurant’s online reputation.

Of course, the first filter that customers use is the star rating. You definitely want to work on that by providing the overall best customer experience, but how can you be sure you’ll climb in your Google search ranking in the meanwhile? 

You need to make sure your good reviews are popping up on the relevant platforms so that your VOC restaurant gets seen. (We call it review distribution around here). 

This looks like responding efficiently to all reviews, and particularly quickly to those that are negative. Not only might you be able to bring back this diner, but you can show other potential guests that you care about every interaction. Why? 

97% of people who look at a business’s reviews read the company’s responses to them (1).

Next, to have a completely effective VOC Restaurant strategy, we recommend that you display your restaurant reviews on your website. This user-generated content not only builds trust and attracts more diners, it can have a major impact on your Google ranking. 

Dining: Utilise digital touchpoints to cultivate loyal customers

We’re sure you’re aware, but the digital customer journey is here, and it’s not going anywhere. 

Particularly in light of COVID-19, many restaurants have taken digital measures to collect the necessary customer data contactlessly. (Think QR-codes or WIFi start page for mandatory registration and menu viewing.) 

What’s great about this touchpoint is that as a VOC Restaurant, you can optimise it! 

When collecting data digitally, you can also:

  • Use a questionnaire for diet info/allergies
  • Offer newsletter/birthday opt-ins
  • Ask the happy guests onsite for reviews

Post-dining: Restaurant software helps you understand guests to optimise 

Don’t consider the customer journey over once the guests pay the check and leave. Bring them back! 

Continue to engage with them by offering regular promotions or newsletters for those who’ve consented for you to do so. With the right restaurant software, you can even automate sending out review invitations to these diners and distributing the reviews on relevant review portals. 

Additionally, a good restaurant software should provide you with in-depth analytics. What are your customers saying most often and what’s behind that? How do you compare with your competitors? How satisfied are your customers? 

And lastly, as mentioned earlier, always respond to your customers’ reviews timely and professionally. 

3 reasons why you need VoC restaurant software

In addition to digitally capturing data with VoC tools at every step of the customer journey, you can utilise VoC restaurant software to show you truly care about the customer experience. 

  1. Remember, it’s to your advantage to create more touchpoints where you personalise the customer journey.From booking a table to sending a post-dining questionnaire to asking for dietary requirements or preferences such as vegetarian or vegan, you can introduce your restaurant brand to the customer and perhaps move them from a one-time visitor to a loyal customer.
  2. The analytics given to you by a VoC restaurant software can truly provide you with the competitive edge all restaurant owners need.Not only make data-driven decisions based on your customer’s feedback, but also on the insights gained from looking at your competitors’ analytics as well. Get ahead!
  3. Restaurant management is made easy.

Monitor and benchmark across your locations, provide employee surveys for retention, assign review responses, and simplify reporting. 

To summarise—Now is the time for your VoC strategy

Wow, that’s quite an impressive amount of things to be gained from a VoC restaurant software. It’s also a long list of “to-dos” to improve your restaurant’s online reputation. But don’t be overwhelmed, there are plenty of solutions out there.

There are also other restaurants who’ve taken these steps and seen great results like Relais et Chatea Villa Crespi, a Michelin starred Italian restaurant. They knew having a Michelin star doesn’t keep you at the top of Google, but review management can.

Naturally, we recommend you try out our flexible yet powerful VoC restaurant solution here at Customer Alliance. Let’s see how we can help you. 

Schedule a free consultation

Sources:

  1. Bright Local: Local Consumer Review Survey
  2. Harvard Business School “Reviews, Reputation, and Revenue: The Case of Yelp.com”

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