The survey, which was conducted across a nationally representative panel of 1,500 consumers, revealed that customers left on average 3.4 reviews a year and the core drivers behind leaving a positive review were: quality food (87%); attentive staff (69.4%); and quick service (46.7%).
The findings also highlighted that younger consumers (16-29 year olds) were twice as likely to leave a negative review as their older counterparts (45-59 year olds). Interestingly, the younger age cohort (16-29 year olds) is twice as likely to leave a negative review because of incorrect website information, than the middle age cohort (30-44 year olds); and more than eight times as likely than the older age cohort (44-59 year olds).
When asked what factors influenced leaving a negative review, the top results were: poor quality food (78.8%); rude staff (68.6%); and waiting time for food (61.9%).
The survey also revealed that operators had the best chance of mitigating a negative review if the food wasn’t up to scratch, if they provided: a discounted bill (58.2%); great service throughout the meal (46.2%); the offer of a complimentary return visit (39.2%).
Commenting on the statistics, Catherine Marshall, Communications Director at Fourth said: “Customer-driven online review platforms, such as TripAdvisor, have become very influential drivers in generating footfall.
“It is clear that the younger, tech-savvy generations are more critical than the older generations when it comes to leaving negative feedback and therefore forward-thinking operators seeking to future proof their business are tracking, analysing and acting upon customer sentiment.
“Given the importance of online reputation, we’re increasingly seeing businesses request smart technology solutions that help assess, reinforce and enhance their online reputations. This could be our Ten Kites Automated Menu Publishing Solution, that automatically updates all websites across an estate when a menu change is implemented; or a Fourth Analytics module that tracks and collates customer feedback from a variety of platforms, allowing businesses to cross-reference negative sentiment against variables, such as who was working at that time or menu availability.
“In the end, it all comes down to businesses utilising technology to get total transparency on their operation so that they can make informed decisions to improve sentiment and drive sales – two vital levers in today’s challenging environment.”