Clipboard illustrating negative reviews

With so much information available on the internet, travellers are increasingly looking at online reviews about places and activities. During the travel buyer journey, such reviews contribute to decision making and create expectations. The result of this process returns to the business in the form of feedback and online reviews, be it positive or negative. While everyone loves to receive positive feedback, it is not easy to face negative reviews. However, it is very difficult to escape from them. Even if your company does everything right 99.9%, it is likely that someday someone will be disappointed with something and you must be prepared to deal with it.

Use negative reviews to improve your business

If it happens, don’t be upset! Negative reviews don’t always occur because of a failure in the service, but also by misalignment of expectations. That’s why we want to help you recognizing and managing your customer’s expectations, and deal with any negative review in a constructive way.

Communicate your value proposition clearly

One important pillar of the value proposition is to communicate how your product benefits your customer. It is important to use a language that your customer understands, avoid metaphors and give preference to true photos rather than illustrative ones. Work for the message to be clear to your customer. If necessary, review your communication plan.

Try to anticipate customer expectations

Who is your customer and what is his motivation? Different types of people engage in food tourism activities for various reasons (e.g. to be in a sociable environment, to acquire cultural knowledge, to learn cooking techniques and recipes, entertainment, etc.).

In some food tourism activities, for example on a food tour, it is interesting to conduct an integration session between the group before starting the program. At this moment you can take advantage to know them better and anticipate what motivated them to be there. Identify the profile and expectation of each customer and work on this information during the activity.

Read more: Understand the different profiles of Food Travellers.

Try to understand the level of satisfaction during the activity

Observe your customers. Very often their body language will be more than enough to warn you that something does not meet their expectations. If you realize that some people are not very happy, choose to approach them individually. When you have the opportunity, ask if it’s all right and put yourself available to help. If possible, change something in the program to meet their request without compromising the others.

Be careful not to exaggerate. For many people, it may be unpleasant to keep asking it all the time, besides the risk of being seen as an insecure and annoying person. Evaluate the situation and try to understand the mood of each customer during the activity.

If you make a mistake, acknowledge it and do something to compensate right at the moment

We all make mistakes. The important thing is to not let your customer go home with a bad impression. If you or someone from your team make a mistake, admit it and do something to compensate. It could be a discount, a little gift, or a simple apology, but don’t ever ignore it.

Ask for feedback

After the program is over, separate a time to chat with your customer and ask for feedback. On the other hand, it’s important to acknowledge that many people do not feel comfortable saying what they think in a personal way and therefore prefer to fill out a feedback form before leaving or take an online review. Choose the best way to get this feedback and implement it.

If the customer is unsatisfied and leaves without an opportunity to tell you about it, they will use other platforms to express their discontentment. Keep in mind that public negative feedback has a greater impact on the reputation of your business.

Track customer reviews on digital platforms and respond with agility

Monitor your business reviews in all digital platforms and respond with sincerity and agility. In the case of negative reviews, position yourself with moderation and respect. Demonstrate that you understand your customer’s disappointment and that you work constantly to fulfil what your business proposes. Be constructive!

Benchmarking

Benchmarking can be defined as a comparative evaluation of good practices, results and indicators in relation to competitors. Map your market and understand how your business is positioned in relation to your competitors. Work on this information according to your strategy.

Define an action plan and track the results

After receiving the feedback, try to understand the root cause of the negative review. Why did the customer complain? Ask yourself more than once until you have clarity in the origin of the problem. After that, evaluate whether it could have been avoided or not. If necessary, define an action plan to fix it and follow up on the results.

Negative reviews influence the decision of those looking for information

Despite the great benefits of reading online reviews, keep in mind that it portrays an experience based on the expectations and preferences of a single person. However, the recurrence of poor reviews led by similar factors and the levels of dissatisfaction strongly influence the decision of those looking for information and can undoubtedly harm your business.

If you follow these tips, you will have a great chance to mitigate any negative reviews. If it does happen, deal with it in a professional way. Investigate the root cause of the problem, define an action plan, and monitor the following feedbacks.

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