Boy did I have an epiphany!
Let me explain.
I work exclusively with locally-owned retail and restaurants. So as you can imagine I have read literally thousands of Yelp reviews over the years! I analyze them for clues to what my clients do well and what they could be doing better. From there, we try to improve what needs improving in the hopes of getting less negative reviews and more positive ones.
Makes sense. Right?
Well it did to me too. Until yesterday when, after a rather lengthy review analysis for a client – and trying to figure out next steps -- I started looking at this whole review situation a bit differently.
Let’s say you have a restaurant with 40 items on the menu. There’s a good chance somebody’s not going to like one of them (either due to personal taste or it perhaps it wasn’t prepared properly) and they write about it. Or a particular server is having an off day. Or the restaurant’s too cold. There are so many moving parts and personal preferences that even the best-run establishment is bound to elicit a negative word or two from a reviewer.
The same holds true for retail and service businesses. With a thousand pieces of merchandise on the floor or a lengthy menu of spa services from which to choose, there’s always going to be someone who doesn’t like something…even if it’s the distance from their parking space to the front door! And out comes the laptop and your ranking takes a it.
Even for the most meticulously run business, the odds are sort of stacked against you.
Unless you change the way you approach your business using my new super, secret plan to get rave reviews.
And that secret is….Give them ONE thing to talk about.
Do one thing better, different, more exciting than anyone else! Just one thing that excites and inspires your customers to rave … and write.
Make sure there’s one thing that looks or tastes spectacular or is presented in a unique and memorable way. The best or biggest burger. The most amazing packaging. Silk robes for spa guests. Just one thing!
I did a little research and I’ll use Eleven Madison Park in New York City as a glowing example of this technique.
Eleven Madison Park has 3 Michelin stars and was voted the number one restaurant in the world in 2017. At about $300 per person, you can imagine its customers are pretty discriminating with the highest expectations fortheir dining experience. Yet despite all their accolades, even Eleven Madison Park falls short of a 5- star Yelp rating. (They claim 4.6 stars out of five.)
BUT (and here’s where is gets interesting) despite differing personal opinions on specific dishes, service and atmosphere, one thing is universally mentioned in almost every review: the to-go gift. When you leave Eleven Madison Park you are given a gift of menu and a jar of homemade granola as you leave.
This little surprise causes reviewers to leave comments similar to this one,
“To wrap up the evening we were brought a small bag to take home which had our menu folded in a tiny box along with some granola. A very beautiful gesture and elegantly presented."
It totally changes the tone of the review. And regardless of the overall impression of this business, which quite frankly has many glowing reviews, this one small gesture giveEVERYONE something to write positively about.
Just one thing!
No matter what type of business you own, you can employ this same technique. You can find a way to surprise and delight your guests and actually make them gasp. Take a little time to think about your customers and what you can do that lets them know they’ve just patronized someplace very special. Whether it’s a parting gift, amazing packaging, an extraordinary presentation or a singing server, find that connection that makes your customers so entranced, any other potential issues are forgotten.
The positive reviews will follow and increase your ratings, but even more importantly, they’ll let readers know your establishment has set a higher bar.
Until next time remember…
You can do this!