Before the average person visits a restaurant for the first time, they check out the reviews and ratings online. If you’re a marketer that’s been targeting that person, it’s a pivotal moment in the process of customer engagement. The prospect is not only aware of your client’s establishment, they’re investigating it online.
There are ways to be sure the posted reviews and ratings give prospects the final green light they’re looking for, and WiFi marketing can play a major role.
In this article, we’ll discuss how agencies can better serve their restaurateur clients by using WiFi marketing to get more reviews and ratings, then we’ll go over how customer feedback, even when it’s negative, can be leveraged to promote and improve your client’s business.
Using WiFi Marketing to Get More Reviews and Ratings
It’s crucial that people see positive reviews for your client’s restaurant. It’s often a prospect’s last decision point when selecting from two or more options. Good reviews will validate the establishments’ reputation as one that offers a great customer experience.
This section will present three ways an agency can use its client’s WiFi network to get more feedback from restaurant customers. All three employ data collection and analytics that are central to WiFi marketing.
Before jumping in, let’s touch on one important point: many customers understand the value their review will have for the restaurant and they expect something in return.
Your request for reviews will get a better response if you offer a deal. After a customer posts a positive review, a discount code for 10% off their next purchase, for example, could be texted or emailed to the customer. Especially when a restaurant is new and has not had a chance to get a lot of reviews, trading discounts for reviews is a great way to get the ball rolling.
Now, let’s look at three ways you can employ WiFi marketing to encourage restaurant customers to post good reviews.
Solicit Reviews as Part of the WiFi Login Process
The few seconds it takes to log in to the guest WiFi network are valuable because you, as a marketer, have the customer’s full attention. Immediately after they log in, you can redirect them to a “Thank you” page where they’ll see a message that strongly encourages them to leave a review.
Links to the preferred review platform, which could be Yelp, Google, or TripAdvisor, for example, can be prominently displayed with your branded message.
Trigger a Review Request One Day After the Visit
By allowing you to send targeted messages that are triggered at a precise time after the customer’s visit, WiFi marketing helps restaurants get more positive reviews.
The “next-day check-in” is a classic approach when soliciting reviews. It’s easy to do with a single WiFi analytics metric—for every customer, a “Date of Last Visit” is logged—that makes it possible to schedule an automated text or email message asking them to leave a review.
One day after the customer’s visit, they’ve had a chance to reflect on their experience, and it’s still fresh in their mind. That’s a prime opportunity to ask for feedback. With data collected through WiFi marketing, you can ask restaurant customers to review the business at the precise moment they’ll be most receptive to the request.
Run Targeted Social Media Ads
When customers log into the guest WiFi network via social media, or if you have connected via social media by any means, you have a golden opportunity to engage them on a platform they’re likely to use a lot. Take advantage of this by employing a targeted ad asking the customer to leave a review.
Timing plays a big role in this approach. Using WiFi analytics, you can be sure that people see the ad one hour, one day, or one week after their most recent visit to the client’s restaurant.
All reviews and every kind of customer feedback should be treated as valuable in your marketing efforts. Positive feedback should be brought to the attention of your prospects and existing customers, and negative feedback should be handled carefully. We’ll cover both in the next section.
All Customer Feedback Is Valuable
It’s important to constantly monitor online reviews and ratings. Favorable reviews have a lot of marketing value, as they represent proof that your client keeps their patrons happy. Any feedback, good or bad, can be used to improve your client’s business.
In this section, we’ll go over the three important aspects of dealing with customer feedback.
Use Positive Reviews as Testimonials
If you can help your client earn a great rating on Google and glowing reviews on TripAdvisor or Yelp, you’ll have something immensely powerful to highlight in your marketing messages. You should include snippets from positive reviews on the restaurant’s website and social media.
Email campaigns, the WiFi splash screen, online ads, and every other form of customer outreach should highlight the establishment’s high ratings and stellar reviews.
Pivot Off Customer Preferences & Concerns
When a lot of restaurant customers are saying the same thing, you can use that group feedback to suggest changes to the menu or recommend operational tweaks.
Imagine that sales of your client’s flagship sandwich, which is heavily promoted, aren’t meeting projections, but another menu item, which is selling great, is mentioned in nearly every positive review. That’s valuable input that can help you change direction in your marketing messages.
This responsive approach works for negative feedback too. If several customers state in their reviews that the service was slow, the counter was messy, or a menu item was not available, you can advise the client to make operational changes related to staffing and stocking.
On the topic of negative feedback, if it’s dealt with properly, it can represent a chance to highlight your attention to customer satisfaction, as we’ll discuss in the next section.
Diffuse Negative Feedback or Treat It as an Opportunity
If a customer has posted a negative review or rating, you have a two-pronged problem—a customer is unhappy with your establishment, and a lot of your prospects and existing customers may know about it.
There are a couple of ways to deal with that. One is to prevent the negative review from being posted in the first place, and the other is to reply with genuine concern and a promise to fix the problem.
Let’s start with the approach that avoids publicly visible negative feedback completely. One way to achieve that is to have your login message or post-visit “Thank you” message request reviews in a way that sends happy customers one place and unhappy customers another.
Diners who enjoyed their experience are encouraged to follow a link to a public review site while those who experienced a problem with the food or service are steered toward a link that will handle their feedback discreetly by sending it just to the restaurant management.
While some users wield online reviews like a weapon, fully intent on harming the establishment that failed them in some way, the vast majority of disgruntled customers want satisfaction in the form of an apology, a conciliatory discount, and a promise to fix the problem. They have no desire to publicly drag your client’s establishment through the mud.
If a negative review does make it onto a public website, reply to it as soon as possible with a peace offering and a promise to fix the problem. Even if you don’t win back the unhappy reviewer, others will see that you take customer satisfaction seriously.
WiFi Marketing Opens the Floodgates for Great Reviews & Ratings
Restaurants depend on good Yelp, Google, and TripAdvisor reviews; without them, it’s almost impossible to grow the business or even remain competitive. WiFi marketing can help provide a consistent stream of valuable customer endorsements and feedback.
By facilitating the use of highly targeted messages that are synched with customers’ visits, you can ask for a review in a way that maximizes the response.
We hope this article has shed some light on how important reviews and ratings are for your agency’s clients who run restaurants, how WiFi marketing can be instrumental in encouraging customers to provide feedback, and how all kinds of customer feedback can be used to improve and promote your client’s business and strengthen their brand.