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Blog: Slow Service and Rude Staff – The Main Reasons Why Customers Leave Negative Reviews

The latest statistics from Feed it Back, the leading customer feedback and online reputation specialists, have revealed that slow service and rude staff are the main drivers behind disgruntled customers leaving negative reviews when visiting pubs, bars, restaurants and casual dining restaurants.

Analysing customer insights, which have been gathered between January 2018 and September 2018 from tens of thousands of reviews written across leading platforms, Facebook, Google and TripAdvisor, along with bespoke at the table feedback, the findings also highlighted the difference in customer expectations when dining in restaurants and casual dining sites, and eating at bars and pubs.

The principal complaint amongst restaurant customers was ‘speed of service’, with 20% of negative feedback relating to slow food service or long wait times. Most complaints cited time elapsing between being served starters and the main course, and seeing other customers, who ordered food after them, receive it before them.

For pubs and bars, the most common criticism was food quality, with 19% of customers disappointed with how their meal tasted. Digging deeper, the statistics revealed that poorly executed simple, traditional dishes, such as chips and a roast dinner, were the prominent drivers in negative reviews.

Whilst interactions with staff drove complaints for both sectors, restaurant-goers placed greater weight on their servers with six out of the top ten complaints being related to the efficiency, engagement and attitude of wait staff.

Meanwhile, pub and bar diners’ grievances focused more on the venue and its surroundings, with over 20% of complaints referencing ‘atmosphere’, access to an ‘outside space’, ‘cleanliness’ and ‘value for money’ as chief bugbears.

Speaking about the findings, Carlo Platia, CEO of Feed It Back said: “As a nation, on the whole, we don’t like complaining in public – it’s just not in our culture – but we will vent on social channels, review sites and in person to our family and friends. Actively seeking out these complaints and understanding what is driving them is not only a crucial step to improving your online reputation, but an integral tool for increasing sales.

“Looking at these statistics, it might seem obvious that slow service is a key driver in negative reviews, but the really interesting part is when you dig down into the granular detail of the data and find out that it’s actually the wait time between the starter and the main course that is frustrating customers. With this richness of insight, you have the tangible information you need to improve your customer experience.

“In the current competitive environment, all brands have to look forward and innovate to stay relevant – standing still simply isn’t an option. The brands that will win the fight for market share over the next five years, will be the ones who truly listen to their customer and utilise all the data at their disposal to drive their customer experience.”

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