According to a December 2020 survey of U.S. Online customers, 94 percent said positive reviews made them more likely to use a local business. On the other hand, 92 percent said that negative reviews made them less likely to patronize a local business.
How do online customer reviews affect your opinion of a local business?
Online customer reviews/ratings are usually consulted before purchasing a product service. Each increasing star of the rating influences our buying behavior. A study shows that 52% of the customers will opt for the local businesses with 4 or 5-star ratings. Talking specifically about the restaurants/hospitality industry, the same holds true here as well as businesses are largely dependent on customer reviews and the customer experience.
What is user-generated content?
Content created by consumers or end-users of an online system or service that is made publicly available to other consumers and end-users is known as UGC. This can be a social media post, a story, or a blog where customers voluntarily share their reviews.
Top benefits of user-generated content
If you are a marketer, you can perceive customer reviews as a free advertisement jackpot. And that’s true for every positive review or star gained at ratings. Here are a few top benefits of user-generated content.
92% of customers trust the reviews and recommendations shared by other consumers more than advertisements. Another customer, posting reviews, is perceived as a peer. Thus, the trust level is higher than any of the paid advertisements.
2)FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) factor
It is a natural tendency to want to try out the positive experience that someone in our social circle has had. My friend writes a review about a restaurant. Influenced by his/her reviews I plan to dine in the same restaurant. This is how my friend’s review helped the restaurant.
Online customer reviews gain more weightage (6.47%) in organic local searches. With increased customer engagement and additional UGC, your web page ranks higher. Thus, this free-of-cost UGC can help you achieve the most of your marketing goals.
How to use customer reviews effectively?
The customers post reviews voluntarily only under two circumstances:
1)They were extra-delighted with the restaurant food/services and want to tell the world about that.
2)They are extremely disappointed with the restaurant’s food/services and want to tell the world about that.
In both conditions, the emotions and the content are of high/strong intensity, which should never be missed upon by any marketer. Here are a few ways you can leverage such golden content.
1)Post the best reviews on your social media as testimonials
72% of customers say positive reviews and testimonials make them trust a business more.
More than half of the world’s population is on some of the other social media platforms. Thus, making a flamboyant graphic of your customer review, used as a customer testimonial, helps in a long way. This is a red-hot social media trend, followed by almost all sectors.
2)Scheme the customer review posting as a loyalty program for repeat customers
Keywords like “discounts” and “free” are guaranteed to motivate many of your customers to write reviews about your restaurant. You can utilize this opportunity in a dual way of UGC with a loyalty program.
You can come up with schemes like: “Post reviews about us and get a free snack/beverage on your next visit.” Alternatively, “Post reviews about us and get a 10% discount on your total order value on your next visit.”
3)Use as feedback to improve your food/services
Ever considered using negative reviews as constructive feedback? The negative reviews posted are the key points your restaurant can improve upon and grow in the future. Such points should be referred to and acted upon immediately to improve your business operations and customer service.
4)Social media contests disguised as branding and promotional activity
The social media contests, namely “The best review on our restaurant’s Pizza will win free Pizza over the weekend”, or, “Every 5th review posted wins a free smoothie for the next restaurant visit.”
Such social media contests create both a huge UGC and increase brand engagements. You can announce the winner(s) on your social media pages tagging the winners. This practice will automatically increase brand awareness.
5)Create an Instagram-worthy ambiance & food presentation
The Instagram-worthy food presentation and restaurant ambiance can help you grow your business in two ways. Now this UGC is not only a text but a catchy picture of your restaurant and the food you served. The hashtags of your restaurant can add a cherry to the cake.
a) Preferred restaurant for Instagram enthusiasts
According to a survey, 71% of the billion monthly active users on the Instagram app are under the age of 35. Everyone has a friend or family member who shares stunning photographs on social media now and then. If your restaurant is a good photo booth, Instagram enthusiasts would return to your restaurant, not for the food but the Instagram stories.
b) Automatic publicity of your restaurant with customers posting Instagram photographs/stories.
Instagram enthusiasts usually post one-liner reviews of your restaurant along with impressive food/ambiance photos. Hence, you get free social media branding. Did you know? Instagram helps 80% of Instagram users decide to buy a product or service.
6) Respond to the positive reviews to turn customers into the loyal customers
““Customer service shouldn’t be a department;
It should be the entire company.” ”
-Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos
Do we make a point to thank every customer for posting a positive review about us? Have we ever rewarded them for their kind gesture? Warmly thanking each customer for their positive reviews and rewarding them on top of it, will create customer delight, turning them into regular/loyal customers.
Food & hospitality companies faced a myriad of challenges related to profitability under COVID-19. Thus, marketers must leverage the free-of-cost but effective content- UGC to its highest potential.
42Works has 8+ years of experience in accelerating the restaurant business. If your restaurant is facing too many business challenges like customer loyalty, online food delivery management, competitive environment, etc. Then we have an unerring solution for you in this link!