If you work in the hospitality industry, perhaps running a B&B, hotel or restaurant, then one of your biggest issues for the last two or three years has probably been the damage that can be caused to your business by negative online reviews.

Whilst you may work hard to ensure a quality service, the likelihood is that from time-to-time you still get negative reviews, as what is considered excellent by one customer, will be viewed as unacceptable by another. The truth is that guests or customers often aren’t best placed to critique an establishment, since they are not an inspector who is spending their days inspecting similarly priced venues in the same locality, therefore their ‘yardstick’ may have been set at an unrealistic level.

So if you are in hospitality, perhaps running a guesthouse, hotel, pub or restaurant, what can you do to protect your business reputation against the often unjustified negative online reviews? Well in reality it is often tough to get existing negative reviews removed. Some sites do offer a system whereby you get points for each positive review, and so collect enough and you can exchange them for having a negative comment removed, but this is often not an available option and so the best solution long-term has to be to avoid getting them in the first place.

It’s impossible to get everything right, for every customer, all of the time…but you should always aim to. However when things do go wrong, to avoid negative reviews firstly provide an easy to use feedback scheme, making it more likely unhappy customers will feedback to you rather than vent their displeasure on a review site as people these days are busy and would seldom have time to do both. Then when you do get negative feedback it’s essential you fight the impulse to be defensive, you must challenge yourself to make the customer happy, remembering often they will then become a bigger advocate for your business than one that was happy in the first place.

Secondly, since you are putting in place a feedback scheme and acting upon the feedback i.e. implementing closed loop feedback, why not go all the way to adopting a customer experience focus within your business, and really set out to ‘wow’ your customers with your service levels. If you do you will find the word of mouth benefits will easily outweigh the extra time, money and effort invested, and also you yourself will feel far more positive about and indeed rightly proud of your business.

It's impossible

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