835: Reputation Management Can Help Drive Sales in Your Operators’ Businesses

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“It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.”

— Benjamin Franklin

Love them or hate them, online reviews of your customers’ operations will affect their business. The restaurant industry is at the forefront of the online business review revolution, and it can make or break just about any operator.

Your customers’ customers are searching online as to where they want to dine — and they need your help to learn how to manage the online restaurant business review revolution.

Restauranteurs now have to live with the fact that individual diner’s opinions are magnified. One unhappy diner can multiply into dozens of lost new diners over the course of just a few months

  • More than 50 billion local searches are performed each year, and the number is growing.
  • 80% of people search online before making a purchase.
  • 98% of searchers choose a business on page one of the search results.
  • Over 60% of searchers choose one of the first three businesses listed.

(Source: Amazon, 2013)

As to how much online business review websites like Yelp! matter, consider the following data points:

  • 83% of consumers say online customer reviews influence their purchase decisions.(Source: Opinion Research Corp., June 2008)
  • A word-of-mouth recommendation is the primary factor behind 20% to 50% of all purchasing decisions. (Source: McKinsey Quarterly, April 2013)
  • Harvard University research on Yelp shows that a 1-star difference in reviews on Yelp may result in 5% to 9% in business gained or lost. (Source: Harvard University, September 2011)
  • A half-star improvement in average star rating makes it 49% more likely that a restaurant will fill all seats for the evening. (Source: The Economic Journal)

Online reviews are basically word-of-mouth written into the digital cloud. And because they are written, the comments have far more staying power. A series of poor reviews on a site like Yelp! is the equivalent of a dining area that is always empty. People look through the window, see nobody is eating there, and assume it must not be that good. It’s all about perception!

The best way to control online reviews is to have great food and service. Nothing has really changed here: Make people happy and they’ll give you positive reviews. But just about every restaurant gets occasional bad reviews. Some people are just impossible to please. Staff can make mistakes.

DSRs, help your operators “be the place that’s always full” by bringing these insights to their attention, and help them learn to manage this part of their business.

Below are links to help your customers manage online reviews:

Claim your Listings to reviews:

Yelp TripAdvisor Facebook Google
YAHOO Bing OpenTable Manta

DSRs, Be a Resource…and Sell Something!