How often do you leave an online review for a venue?
When the service is particularly good? Or exceptionally bad? Or just as you have come to expect with every visit?
Sometimes reviews give me, as a business owner, a new perception on what’s happening “out the front”. Or what isn’t happening as it may be.
I need to know if orders are being carried out, if our staff are following procedure or if they are able to react to changing situations. I need to know if our quality control in the kitchen is up to scratch or if our food is still hitting the spot on value and taste. So I am happy for people to leave honest reviews even though at times they may not show our business in the best light.
But how should we react here at The Glost House, when we know a simple review is not giving an honest picture? What weight do potential customers place on reviews when making a decision to visit for the first time?
The cleanliness of our cafe and quality of our food is rarely placed into question when you look at reviews for The Glost House across the various forums. I would almost go as far as to say the only negative reviews we receive are when we haven’t been able to meet some customers’ demands – however unreasonable they may be.
Sometimes we haven’t tried hard enough. When you are self employed you have to come to work when you are unwell, bereaved, tired as hell or are having to carry staff who are ill, grieving or suffering at home. A review we once received suggested one of our waitresses “could be a little more cheery”. This was on her first shift back after her mother had died. This particular ‘insight’ wasn’t passed on, needless to say.
Sometimes the words we use when talking to customers come out wrong although the message is right. Sometimes we miscalculate demand and don’t deliver the goods. Sometimes we just drop the ball. Not often. But sometimes.
On the other hand The Glost House has received negative reviews from people who I know have ordered nothing more than a glass of tap water. We have had people give a full rundown of our menu, describing – or guessing – what they must think they would have received had they ordered any food despite it being totally incorrect and potentially damaging.
My least palatable reviews though, are the ones starting “we have been going here every week until… ” or “we are have been frequent customers until…”. Usually the “until” is when they have been asked not to block the aisles or the emergency exits. Or not to take chairs from other tables rendering them useless to other customers. Or not to crowd round tables too small for their party, getting in the face of other diners.
The reason many of these reviewers have been coming regularly in the past is because we try our hardest to make sure everyone is made to feel comfortable and safe at The Glost House. And everyone includes staff as well as customers. And everyone includes all customers of varying accessibility and dietary needs.
It’s just a shame that instead of reviewing us at the good (or every day standard) times, they choose only to write about us when they see their visit in a negative light.
I’m not saying I only want positive reviews. We welcome all feedback. But if you are such a good customer, then you should be able to discuss certain issues with us face to face, not over the Internet. That is, if you are being honest of course………..