Guest Reviews – How to become an Alchemist!

Are your negative reviews earning you kudo’s?

15 Tips for turning Customer Feedback into Gold!

We hope that you only receive glowing accolades and fabulous online reviews but chances are there are one or two grumpy ones that creep in from time to time.

Your hard earned Brand reputation plus applicable consumer protection legislation demands that you suck it up and deal with it!

Although your first objective must be to resolve all issues before the guest leaves the premises; the reality is that some slip through the cracks and go unnoticed or are not reported. It is likely that you will hear from these via a third party platform and although it may feel like gout after holiday excesses, it’s not all doom and gloom.

I have leveraged enormous value from ‘working’ reviews and actually believe most guests complain because they ‘care’ and are giving you a valuable opportunity to “Fix It”. My belief is substantiated by an emarketer.com article quoting a November 2014 study (more)  which reveals that “62% of Consumers (respondents) don’t write online reviews to release anger.

Instead, the top reason was “to help others make better purchasing decisions.”  Interestingly around 25% of respondents wanted to let others know about their own good experience and to help ‘suppliers’ get good business.

So, you see it really is worth the effort to encourage guest reviews during or following their experience (Enter FREE Wi-Fi…but that’s a separate topic on it’s own!). Try to guide guests to where you want them to ‘talk’ about you so that you can easily navigate these treacherous waters.  Give them a link to your preferred platform e.g. Trip Advisor, Facebook page, your feedback form; automated feedback CRM, etc.  What other methods do you use?  Tell us more in the Comments below.

You hopefully agree that is crazy to ignore what is shared about your business online and therefore it is wise to keep an eye on popular travel review platforms. Most of you will have local forums that you need to check. 

MY TIP:  Set up Google Alerts for your Brand, Location and Competitors. (This is also a great source of content for Social Media newsy posts).

The point is, the internet is a unrestricted and has the craziest ‘reach’ making the overriding reason for responding to ALL ( negative and positive) critical to building and preserving your Brand’s reputation.

If you need more reason to pay attention, yet another study conducted by PhoCusWright on behalf of Trip Advisor, revealed that more than half (53%) of their respondents stated that they don’t book a hotel that does not have any reviews on the site.

Plus, they pay close attention to how you respond on behalf of the business.

The e-marketer article also says that about 25% of the sample group wanted to warn others and expose bad service but we all know that it is impossible to please humans, by their very definition, all of the time; making negative reviews inevitable.  It is also quite natural for owners and management to take negative feedback personally and makes them eager to defend their business and staff.

For this reason we recommend that a trusted member of the team, who is not as vested emotionally, is empowered to handle the guest feedback job on a day-to-day basis. But, Beware please! To protect your Brand you must set a clear and consistent policy for commenting and responding to comments; specify the tone, acceptable compensation, chain of command for escalating complaints etc. and you must stay informed to avoid anything spiralling out of control.

15 Tips for putting a Guest Feedback policy in place

1. Don’t delay – deal with all feedback promptly
2. Never take a comment personally
3. Show you are listening and care about solving the problem
4. Acknowledge and thank them for the feedback
5. Don’t reveal guest names or any personal guest information.
6. Never blame or imply that the responder created the negative situation
7. Don’t use an emotional tone
8. Be professional and respond in a balanced and appropriate way
9. Use a personality and tone that is consistent with your Brand
10. Keep it brief
11. Take the complaint offline as soon as possible by TELLING them to deal directly the appropriate management and where to direct a detailed report.
12. Some may complain online after you have dealt with the situation so, let everyone know.. “As you are aware, your feedback has been escalated and is being handled by management. Any unresolved issues should be referred there.”
13. Viewing reviews in the same way as a guest survey info is very handy. Read between the lines to understand what is really being said; which strengths and weaknesses are highlighted and identify useful tips to improve the guest experience
14. Share positive as well as negative reports with your team and link to employee development.
15. Update your CRM by noting comments on booking channel and guest profiles for future reference.

Source

Is your Trip Advisor profile set up properly and up to date? Send us a Link to check it for you. 

trip advisor travellers choice 2012

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