Have you ever had a terrible experience? Whether it be with a product or a meal at a restaurant, I think it’s safe to say we all have. Sometimes it’s something minor that can be rectified with a simple visit from the store manager, but sometimes it isn’t fixed. In fact, it makes us SO angry that we are beside ourselves. We leave feeling so unsatisfied and bitter, that we want to VENT — to everyone! Thus a bad review is born.
I love tacos. Mexican food in general. So when a new Mexican restaurant opens up in my little seaside town, I am ALL ABOUT IT. Which brings me to the story about my single worst restaurant experience … EVER. When, lets call it “Tacos Tacos” (I’m choosing to leave the real name out as i’m a little less bitter and feeling a little less slanderous at this point/hoping they have had time to GET IT TOGETHER), opened I was thrilled to give it a try. Mexican street food? Corn? Jalapeño Margaritas? YES PLEASE! I took my favorite try-new-places pal with me and WOW was I disappointed. The restaurant was in disarray, we only actually got about half of the things we ordered and, despite not even getting our full meal, our entire dining experience lasted close to three hours! THREE! (side note: I have worked in the restaurant industry since it was legal for me to work and am, therefore, extremely tolerant of new restaurants and things that are out of my servers control) After about two hours of wait time, I began to get antsy — as you can imagine. Here’s where the real problem began. The manager approached our table to ask how everything was and he probably got more than he bargained for. I explained how abysmal the service has been thus far and how we were still waiting on dinner (I ordered a salad by the way). He rushed back to the kitchen and just a few minutes later, our food appeared. Wrong. Not as described on the menu. And cold. COLD. At this point, I am so infuriated that I am ready to leave. The manager apologizes and drops the check. I pick it up and look. WHAT?! $70 for world’s worst food and worst experience?? We were charged for everything we ordered, despite the fact that it came out wrong and cold and awful. We paid and left — never to return again.
So why am I ranting about cold tacos? Valid question. It’s because when I left “Tacos Tacos”, I was SO angry that I wanted to keep talking about it. I wanted to yell about it. I wanted to write about it. So I went to their Facebook page and wrote about it. I had to warn people! Right?? Getting out my frustrations helped me calm down, but it also got me thinking. For this one bad experience, how many good experiences have I had that I didn’t write about? A LOT. How unfair is that? At that moment, I vowed to start leaving reviews every time I tried somewhere new. It’s so unfortunate that people are motivated more by anger than by happiness. I’m one of the few that think this way though — so the questions is, how to I encourage people to share their positive experiences with others??
I know what you’re thinking. Why should I have to bribe someone to say something nice about something they genuinely like? I get it. But, a little incentive never hurt anyone. It’s not about giving away a free meal or about bribery, but instead about reminding people that we showed them a good time, now maybe they should do something nice for us. A subtle, gentle SHOVE in the right direction. After all, we all know how much good a positive review can do for a company. These reviews aren’t ads; they are real experiences from real people and THAT is what matters. Influencer marketing is what matters. Whats that? You want to hear more about that gentle shove? My advice is to get creative. Start a contest on social media with a small giveaway as the prize. Have a rack card printed to keep in check presenters with QR codes linked to social media sites. Educate your staff and make it fun for them; whoever gets the most reviews gets free dinner (service industry people LOVE free food).
Most importantly, know how important these positive reviews are to your business and don’t be afraid to share that with others. Some people don’t know just how far a review, that will take them 5 minutes, will go towards the success of your business. So, shout it from the rooftops! Get those reviews!