Restaurants have long used social media as a way to connect with their guests and create relationships. But in recent years, social media has also become an important tool for providing customer service. In fact, many restaurants now consider social media to be their primary means of providing customer service. There are many different ways that restaurants can use social media to provide excellent customer service. Here are three of the most effective strategies our team uses:
Respond to messages privately, first
When guests reach out to restaurants on social media, they may expect a public response. But in some cases, and especially if a customer leaves a review on Yelp or TripAdvisor, it may be more appropriate to respond privately. For example, if a guest raises an issue that is sensitive or personal in nature, it’s usually best to respond privately. This way, the guest feels like they are being heard and their privacy is respected.
Additionally, responding privately can often lead to better outcomes for both the guest and the restaurant. By taking the conversation offline, restaurants can avoid potential negative publicity and handle the issue more personally.
After sending a private response, it’s still helpful to respond to messages publicly too, even if all you do is acknowledge that you sent the guest a private message. This lets the public know that you are making an effort to resolve issues instead of ignoring them.
Show lots of genuine empathy
When guests write reviews or reach out to restaurants on social media, they are often looking for more than just a resolution to their problem. They want to be heard and feel like their concerns are being taken seriously. As such, it’s important to show a lot of empathy for their situation.
This doesn’t mean that you should agree with every complaint or negative comment. Nor does it mean you go through the motions to acknowledge a guest’s feelings or express forced empathy. For example, tired phrases like “thank you for your concern” or “your feedback is important to us” rarely come off as sounding genuine or sincere and can often do more harm than good.
Instead, make an extra effort to actually put yourself in the guest’s shoes, go above and beyond to acknowledge their feelings, and express genuine empathy for what they’re going through. For example, if a guest is angry about an issue with food quality or cleanliness, you should seek to really understand the guest’s feelings, sincerely apologize for the inconvenience, and assure them that you are working to resolve the problem.
In some cases, showing genuine empathy can immediately diffuse a situation and turn unhappy guests into raving fans!
Write as if you were speaking to the guest face-to-face
It’s true that customers often write messages to restaurants as if they were speaking to a faceless, corporate company, which leads many restaurants to make the mistake of writing customer service responses as if they were speaking to a faceless customer. But it’s important to remember that behind every message is a real person with real feelings. As such, you should write customer service responses using the same language you would use if you were speaking to the guest face-to-face.
This doesn’t mean restaurants should use slang or be overly familiar with guests. But it does mean using a natural, conversational tone that shows you are speaking to another human being. Additionally, it’s important to avoid using jargon, acronyms, and technical terms that the average person may not understand. In short, your social media responses should be written in a way that is easy for everyone to understand.
By writing as if you were speaking to the guest face-to-face, you can show they care about the customer as a person and not just as a source of revenue. Additionally, this approach can help build rapport, trust, and loyalty between your restaurant and its guests.
Customer service is one of the most important aspects of any business, yet it’s often one of the most difficult to get right. By using social media, restaurants can communicate with guests in a more personal way, which can lead to better outcomes for both the guest and the restaurant. It’s also important to remember that behind every message is a real person, so restaurants should write social media responses using the same language they would use if they were speaking to guests face-to-face. By following these tips, restaurants can provide excellent customer service using social media.
Did you know?
We've been managing social media accounts for restaurants since 2012. For almost a decade, we've partnered with restauranteurs who are serious about using social media to generate business. Whether you're a good fit for our service or not, let's schedule a call and we'll give you free personalized advice on how to improve your social media presence. Either way, you'll walk away from the call more confident about your ability to promote yourself online - completely for free.