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The 8 Habits Restaurants Must Adopt to Dominate Online Customer Service

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The power to make or break a restaurant lies just as much with the patrons as with the chef. Just a one-point increase in star rating on the popular reviews website Yelp can increase a restaurant’s revenue by five to nine percent, according to research from the Harvard business school.

The ability—and willingness—of diners to praise and complain about restaurants instantly using mobile apps is the most important trend in the dining industry since farm-to-table. As Scott Wise, owner of the 13-location chain of Scotty’s Brewhouse brew pubs in Indiana says, “It would be nice if people would just let me know privately on the occasions when we screw up, but that’s not the world we live in now.”

Today, customer service is the new marketing. (highlight to tweet) Here are the eight habits restaurants must adopt to be great at customer service and win the hearts of current and future patrons.

Habit 1: Answer Complaints Everywhere

Customer service isn’t just about the telephone and email. Today, 38 percent of all customer complaints are in social media and review sites, and restaurants get 14 percent of all complaints (second only to multi-brand retailers), as I discuss in Hug Your Haters.

Every restaurant must commit to answering diner complaints wherever they appear, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Yelp, TripAdvisor, other local review sites, discussion boards, and even new chat-based tools like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

It is critical that every complaint be answered, because replying to a customer complaint online increas…

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