The best form of promotion is a consistently reliable product and consistently great service. This gives you the basis for repeat business and positive word-of-mouth.
Once you have this in place, encourage happy customers to post a positive review about your business. Don’t leave this up to chance. Teach your staff what to say, when to say it and how to say it.
For example, I explained this to a group of clients in Darwin a few months ago. The owner and the manager of a restaurant on Darwin’s Waterfront attended. They had been receiving very few Trip Advisor reviews compared to typical restaurants in the area.
I encouraged them to discuss this with their staff and ask them what they could say if the customers praises the meal, the ambience or the service. In other words involve them in coming up with phrases. This would be things like, “Oh, thanks for that. I’ll be sure to tell the chef. If you have a moment do leave a review on Trip Advisor. That would really make our day.” As they say this they hand the customer a Trip Advisor card with their restaurants name on it.
The following Friday evening, as I knew the owner and manager of the restaurant would be involved in a function, I made a point of having dinner at their restaurant. The meal was delightful. When paying the bill, I mentioned this to the fairly new staff member. She smiled, handed me a Trip Advisor card and said, “That’s great, thank you. Do leave a review on Trip Advisor. I’m sure others would be delighted to hear about your experience.”
Two things here:
- The true test of an organisation’s service is what happens when the boss isn’t around. If the boss typically plays the role of policeman rather than coach very little will happen when he or she is not around.
- By involving staff in the discussion, developing and adhering to scripts becomes a more natural and repeatable process.
Some people manage to adapt this with a bit of humour. I was in the restaurant of a wonderful pub, the Grouse and Ale near High Wycombe in England. We had a superb meal and attentive service. On paying the bill the waiter thanked me for coming, handed me a Trip Advisor card and with a few encouraging words about completing a review finished with, “By the way, if you enjoyed yourself my name’s Christian. If not, my name’s Ian.”