Neil: Have you ever received a negative review about your business online? Sucks, doesn’t it? Been there. Didn’t like it. Didn’t really know what to do with it. Wish I could have prevented it. Well, if this has ever happened to you, you’re gonna want to listen in today, because today I have Ryan Gromfin from “The Restaurant Boss” and he’s a fellow [inaudible 00:00:18] certified consultant and Ryan is going to talk to us today about how we can control that conversation online that is happening about our business. Hey, Ryan. One of the questions my clients have a lot, that I hear a lot, is how do they control the conversation about themselves online? And I know you’ve got a lot of experience with that. So, any idea? That’s a pretty general question but any ideas where we could start with that?
Ryan Gromfin: Yeah, so … It is an interesting one because we can’t fully control the conversation that’s happening, obviously. And, while sometimes as a business owner, we look at things like Yelp or Trip Advisor or any number of the peer review sites at your business, we look at them as biased or tools that aren’t there to help our business that much.
Neil: Like the enemy. Yeah. They’re like the enemy.
Ryan Gromfin: And in some ways, yeah. A lot of times we think that, well, if we don’t pay for advertising with them, then they’re going to treat us poorly, and they’re filtering out our good reviews and only showing the bad reviews and, they’re the devil and all these things, but … In reality- I will say that Yelp is not the best of all of them- but in reality, peer to peer sites, or these review sites, whatever you want to call them, are actually phenomenal tools and can greatly help your business. Which is why I love the question you just asked. If we can control what’s being posted there a little bit better. Just right of the bat, one thing I suggest, is don’t ever bribe your customers. These sites have ways of finding out if reviews are being bribed and if they do find out, they’ll red flag you, they’ll put up all kinds of warnings on your page, it’s just something you don’t ever want to do. So, don’t ever get in the process of bribing.
What I’m about to describe might sound a little bit like a bribe, but it’s not. And, if we pay attention to the details, you’ll see that it’s not at all. Going back to what I said, again, we can’t fully control it. There’s two things that I always tell people that we want to do. One, first and foremost, and hopefully we’ll have time to talk about this more later, is you just have to operate an exceptional business. Let’s just start there. Before we get into all the techniques and all the other things that we can do. You just have to ask yourself the first question. Is my business exceptional? Am I exceeding my customers expectations with every visit? Not meeting your customers expectations. Because if you meet your customers expectations, you can do all the fancy stuff we’re about to talk about, and you’re not going to get five star reviews.
Again, a lot of businesses out there meet their customers expectations. They do a good job. But, in the day in age, in this economy, in what I call the expectation economy, good is not good enough anymore. We’ve all heard that, but Tony Robbins has this way of describing something here that I love so much and I use it in a lot of my training because it just makes sense. We all get rewarded one step below our effort in such a competitive economy. What I mean by that is that if you have a good business, if you’re operating a good business, you’re likely getting poor results. If you just do a good job and you’re good at customer service and you have good pricing and you have a good build out and you have a good whatever, you’re likely getting poor results. If you do a great job, whatever that is, in my case as restaurant owners, if you have great food at great pricing and great service and a great location, you’re likely getting good results. If you do an excellent job, you’re getting great results. Right? We often get rewarded at one step lower than our effort or our result. That’s sad, in a way, but it’s true. You follow?
Neil: Yeah, I’m with you. I hear you. I think when we’re talking about these review sites, if you just meet the minimum, nobody is going out of their way to say nice things about you.
Ryan Gromfin: Oh, 100 percent, absolutely.
Neil: They’re just going to, “Yeah, that was okay.” And if they do say anything about you, they’re not going to rave, they’re not going to give you that glowing five star. I just did one the other day where I read a book and I went, “Eh. The book was okay.” I gave it four stars.
Ryan Gromfin: Here’s the problem with good. Nobody talks about good.
Ryan Gromfin: You don’t tell your friends about good, you don’t tell your spouse or anyone else about good. You don’t go to review sights about good. Most review sites don’t have, if you look at their review ratings, they’re rated on an upside down bell curve. Meaning, there’s a lot of ones and twos and there’s a lot of fours and fives. There’s very few three star ratings.
Ryan Gromfin: Very few people take the effort to post when something is good. When you’ve met an expectation. The way that I define good is meeting an expectation. Again, with Tony Robins description, what I whole-heartedly believe and what many of you might be experiencing as you’re hearing this for the first time, is that meeting an expectation, delivering a good product, equals poor. Equals poor results. Either that you’re not making enough money, you don’t have enough freedom, you don’t have enough fun in your life, whatever that is. There is one level higher than that. We just talked about excellent. We talked about good, great, excellent.
Ryan Gromfin: Then there’s this level that I call Mastery. When you are mastering, when you are the best in the world at something, you don’t get rewarded one step below. Masters don’t get excellent results, they get everything. I use this example, because I’m a golfer, so quickly, I use this example of the income levels of professional golfers and I think it was 2010, there was a year where Steve Stricker was the number 3 golfer in the world. Nobody knows who Steve Stricker is unless you’re a golfer.
Neil: I have never heard of him.
Ryan Gromfin: He made 8 million dollars that year or something.
Neil: That’s pretty good but, for a golfer that’s probably not that great.
Ryan Gromfin: Wait until you hear how I relate this to everyday life. So, Phil Mickelson was the number two golfer in the world. He made 32 million or something. Then, Tiger Woods was the number one golfer in the world. Tiger Woods made 108 million dollars that year. You’re like, well I could live off of Steve Stricker’s salary, right? 8 million dollars? No problem at all. Here’s what I do. Just, take three zeros off of those numbers. Okay? Now your 8 million becomes 8 thousand. Your 32 million becomes 32 thousand. Your 108 million becomes 108 thousand. Many of you out there cannot live on 8 thousand dollars. Some of you out there can live on 32 thousand. Some of you can live on 108. But maybe not, not in this world that we live in. The point is, look at that. Look at the difference of being a good golfer, a great golfer or an excellent golfer whatever you want to call it, and then being the best in the world.
Neil: Yeah. And those are the top three, right?
Ryan Gromfin: Those are the top three.
Neil: So those are the three best and look at the difference between first, second and third place. That’s huge.
Ryan Gromfin: That’s the difference between ranked number one and google and ranked number three on google.
Neil: Mm-hmm (affirmative)
Ryan Gromfin: That’s the difference between being ranked number one on yelp and being ranked number three on yelp. It’s easy for you to say, “Well, we’re still on the first page.” But the difference between being number one and number three is massive. Let’s get back to this idea- we’re going to get to the technique here, don’t worry.
Ryan Gromfin: But let’s get back to this. None of this matters if we don’t do the first part. If we don’t exceed our customers expectations.
Neil: Right. Because if you promote and you push people to review you and you’re giving them a crappy product, all you’re going to get is crappy reviews. And we don’t want that.
Ryan Gromfin: Right. Promoting to an average business is like using a fire extinguisher on a fire.
Neil: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Ryan Gromfin: You’re just going to run out of money faster.
Neil: Mm-hmm (affirmative)
Ryan Gromfin: If we want to pour gasoline on a fire, we have to exceed expectations. Gasoline is the exceeding of expectations. The meeting of expectations is a fire extinguisher. Just to wrap this idea up here, as you’re thinking about this, I’ve said this word exceeding an expectation. Exceeding expectations, good, great. Excellent, whatever, right? Okay, we’re getting a little confused here but we’re here. I want you for one moment to think about, “How do we exceed an expectation?” Not specifically. Not in your business. I know that’s where your head is going, you’re thinking, “I could do this, I could do that, I could do that,” just in the highest level general world of expectations, how does one exceed an expectation? The answer to that is actually simpler than we think. The first thing is, you have to know what someone’s expectation is.
Ryan Gromfin: “Then, we just have to do one percent more.
Ryan Gromfin: Whatever that is. That one percent is going to be different in everyone’s business. The biggest challenge that business owners have with exceeding customers expectations is they don’t know what their expectation is at the onset. So we try to go so far and do so much, but if your customers expectation is X, you could do Y times 100 and you’re still never going to exceed your customers expectation.
Neil: Right, because you’re on the wrong planet.
Ryan Gromfin: You’re on the wrong planet. You could be sitting on the concord, first class with 30 stewardesses taking care of you, drinking champagne all day long on your way to London, but if your family is in Los Angeles, I don’t care how nice that airplane is, when you land in London, you are gonna be pissed off because you’re supposed to be meeting your family in Los Angeles.
Ryan Gromfin: Now, you’ve got to buy a ticket to get from London to L.A., when you started in New York.
Neil: You had a great time going the wrong direction. Yeah.
Ryan Gromfin: You had a great time, it was fun, and then you landed and you’re like, holy shit. Where’s my family, what happened, why am I in London? Now I’m missing all the, whatever it was supposed to be. So, that’s what sometimes we’re doing in our businesses. We’re taking people on this amazing journey, but we’re taking them on a journey further away from whatever it was that they wanted. Then you’re dumbfounded, thinking, “What did we do wrong here? I don’t understand it. We’re working so hard, we’re doing so well at this, but the customer just isn’t responding.
For every business it’s going to be a little bit different but this all starts with some very simple questions. Again, today’s conversation we’re not going to talk too much about surveys and things because we could spend a year on that. Generally speaking- I’m going to use restaurants as an example just because that’s what I know the best and I hope that you can figure out a way to convert this to your particular business, but, if someone walks into a restaurant, let’s say- this is what I teach my clients- and the host is standing there, and I walk in with my wife and it’s a Friday evening, it’s about 6:30 and I walk in and she says, “Hello, welcome to so-and-so, can I help you?” And I say, “Yeah, there’s two of us for dinner, how long do you think for a wait?” And she says, “Oh it shouldn’t be more than 10-15 minutes, can I get your name?” Right? That’s the pretty standard conversation.
Ryan Gromfin: How different would it be if I walk in and I say, “Yeah, there’s two of us, how long is the wait?” She says, “It’s going to be about 10-15 minutes. What brings you folks in today?” A lot of people are sitting there, going, “Hello? Obviously, food. Why would you ask what brings folks in today, it’s a restaurant?” Well, the reality is, is there’s different reasons that we go out to eat dinner. Sometimes we go out because this was the first restaurant that was across the street from wherever we’re going later. Sometimes it’s a date night. Sometimes it’s a business meeting. There’s multiple different circumstances I can think of, but it’s not just food that brought us in. It’s more than that. We could satisfy our need for food in a million different places. The top level question is food but we need to get deeper than that. So, if I say to the host, “We’re out on a date and we’re going to see a play across the street,” and she says, “Oh, great! What time does your play start?”
Neil: Mm-hmm (affirmative)
Ryan Gromfin: “It starts at 7:30.” “Oh, okay. You folks are going to be in a little bit of a hurry, but let me make sure that we get you a table quick and I’ll let the server know that you need to get to a play.” Now, what has that done to the customer? The customer is like, “They’re on top of it. 10-15 minute wait, but they know it, so we’re good.” Now, the host passes that information on to the server. 10-15 minutes goes by, we sit down, instead of the server walking up to the table having no idea that we have to go to a play that starts in an hour and fifteen minutes, the server would do their normal, “Hi, I’m so-and-so, can I help you tonight?” Or, “Can I get your drinks started for you,” or, “I’ll be back in a minute with some bread.”
The whole thing happens and during that whole time I’m sitting there as the customer thinking, “Oh my God, we’re never going to make the movie,” and then I’m flagging down waiters and I’m like, “Can we just get our order in?” Whereas, if the waiter or waitress knew that, they could walk up to the table and say, “I hear that you need to make a play across the street, we’ve got about an hour and fifteen minutes. Here’s what we’re going to do. I’m going to take your drink order right now, I’m also going to recommend a couple of items on the menu that I know our kitchen can get out quickly for you and I know you’re going to love. Let me get the drink order, hear my recommendations, when I come back I’m going to need to take an order from you.”
You make be thinking, “Oh, that sounds bossy and I would never want to be treated that way.” In reality, we’ve all been in that situation where we’re running late for something. We would love to be treated that way.
Neil: That sounds good to me.
Ryan Gromfin: We would love to know that someone else is looking out after our best interest and is taking control of the situation and is doing everything in their power to guarantee that we get to that play.
Neil: Mm-hmm (affirmative)
Ryan Gromfin: Does that make sense?
Neil: Yeah. Oh, yeah, I get that. Let’s say that we’re doing all these things right and we’ve got this uniqueness, we’re exceeding the customer expectation, and we’re doing all these things- how do we take advantage of that? How do we take that and multiply those efforts?
Ryan Gromfin: The process that I teach, and there’s a lot of technology out there that you can use, I’m just going to instantly- let me just get the technology out there, if that’s okay with you, Neil?
Neil: Sure. Yeah. Spit it out.
Ryan Gromfin: There’s a website called Reputation Loop.
Ryan Gromfin: There’s a website called Bird Eye. There’s a website called Vendasta. There’s a bunch of these reputation websites out there. You could do what I’m about to explain yourself. You could do it through some like, Ontraport or Mail Chimp, A Weber. The actual piece of technology is a little less important than the process. Remember at the beginning I said it’s a two step process. First is exceeding customers expectations, which we spent a lot of time talking about, now we get into the technology part. For the process.
First thing we need to do, we need to have some way to get back in touch with the customer. Email, or text message. Hopefully you’ve got a leave-capturing system already in place somehow. If you are a brick and mortar, then hopefully you have a way of doing that when they come into your restaurant. Or when they come into your business. If it was a restaurant, like at the host stand, there’s no reason why we can’t capture an email address and let them know that we’re going to be sending them one email the next day with one question in it, just to see how their experience was.
Neil: Mm-hmm (affirmative)
Ryan Gromfin: Whatever that is, we capture that email address. So the next day we plug all those emails into our system, we send them an email that says very simply, “Did we exceed your expectations yesterday?” Or, “How was your experience yesterday?” I prefer, “Did we exceed your expectations yesterday?” Or, with your last visit, or whatever it was. There’s a couple different ways we can do it. If it’s, “Did we exceed your expectation? Yes or no?” This is where the technology gets a little tricky, but Neil can help you figure it out if you need. (laughs)
If they say, “Yes. You exceeded my expectation”, then let’s redirect them to a page where they can post a review. Redirect them directly to your Yelp page. Redirect them directly to your TripAdvisor page or whatever it is that you want? If you have some kind of internal review system on your own website, redirect them to there. To Facebook, to Google, it doesn’t matter. If they said, “Yes. You exceeded me expectation,” let’s get a review from them.
Neil: Mm-hmm (affirmative)
Ryan Gromfin: If they said no, well, I don’t want them posting a review, do I?
Neil: We don’t want to make it easy for them to go to Yelp.
Ryan Gromfin: What’s that?
Neil: We don’t want to make it easy for them to go to Yelp if they say no.
Ryan Gromfin: Right. So if they say no, let’s redirect them to a form that says, “OMG, WTF. Oh my God, what the F happened?” Or whatever you want to do- depends on how cheeky you want to be. The point is, there has to be somewhere that says, “We are so sorry to hear that we did not exceed your expectation. We want to fix whatever problems-” Whatever language you want to use and then, basically, the important part is: “Please complete the form, we will get the message to the owner- or manager, or whatever- as soon as possible. Or immediately. You will have a response in the next 4-6 hours,” or, “In the next 24 hours.” Whatever you want.
Neil: Mm-hmm (affirmative)
Ryan Gromfin: Here’s the psychology that is happening, right. It’s very simple. Let’s review it here quickly. We have to send them an email, ask them one simple question- that was a yes/no question. If you prefer to do a 5 star rating question, you still control the rating system yourself. You would say, “How did we do yesterday? 1-5 stars.” If they give you 4 or 5 stars, redirect them to Yelp or Google or one of those. If it’s 1, 2, or 3 stars, send them to the form to submit to a manager or an owner.
Ryan Gromfin: “It’s the same idea. Yes/no or 1 to 5 starts.
Neil: Mm-hmm (affirmative)
Ryan Gromfin: Same idea. Here’s the psychology of what’s happening. People generally only want to complain until they’re listened to.
Neil: Mm-hmm (affirmative)
Ryan Gromfin: They don’t go to Yelp because they want to hurt your business. They go to Yelp because Yelp has put these awful, awful buttons on Yelp that are like, “Was this useful?”
Neil: Mm-hmm (affirmative)
Ryan Gromfin: Or, “Was that funny?” Yelp is always experimenting with these different- think of them like “Like” buttons on Facebook, right? When we put things on Facebook- let’s be honest here for a second, folks- we tend to always want to share things that are really sad or really great. Because when we’re really sad, we want all those little hearts to show up because it makes us feel better that people care about us. Or, when we’re skydiving or cliff jumping in Belize, or whatever, having dinner in the Eiffel Tower in Paris, we also want to take those selfies. Because, we want to show off a little bit. We want all those likes and comments, right?
Ryan Gromfin: How come we don’t take pictures at 10:30 in the afternoon while you’re sitting at your desk and saying, “Just another ho-hum day.”
Neil: Because that’s not the highlight reel.
Ryan Gromfin: What?
Neil: That’s not the highlight reel. That’s normal life. We don’t care.
Ryan Gromfin: We don’t care. That’s the same as the 3 star review, that’s the same as meeting expectations. Like I said, we all post publicly and we all complain or the opposite of complain- I’m drawing a blank on whatever that would be- we all share amazing experiences because we want the reactions from others. We will continue to complain until someone else gives us the reaction that they want.
Neil: Mm-hmm (affirmative)
Ryan Gromfin: Generally what we want is just to be heard. If someone says, “No, you didn’t exceed my expectation,” and they write their complaint on your form that you control, that doesn’t get posted publicly … The important part if you remember, I said, “Someone will get back to you immediately to resolve the situation.” Now, they’re in a holding pattern. They’re kind of okay now. They’re like, “If someone gets back to me soon, that’s cool. I don’t need to tell all my friends about it, I don’t need to go onto Yelp yet.” Then someone calls back and they listen properly- again, we’re not going to go through the customer service steps but, they listen properly, they invite them back, they do whatever they do. That person is cool now. That person is good. They’ve listened, they’re good, they’re not going to go scream and yell to all of their friends. They’re not going to go to Yelp. They’re not going to do all of that. It’s all good. Because they got heard. We go all the way back to the initial question- sorry, Neal, it took me 25 minutes to get here.
Neil: Yeah. That’s okay.
Ryan Gromfin: The original question which was something along the lines of-
Neil: How do we control that conversation online? Yup. That’s it.
Ryan Gromfin: The way we control the conversation is prevent it from happening in the first place.
Neil: There you go.
Ryan Gromfin: Prevent or encourage, I should say. If it’s positive, encourage the conversation. Point them right where you want them to go. Lead the fish to water. If it’s negative, let them post it on your site, get their feedback, call them back, email them back, fix it before they get too angry.
Neil: Right. The really important thing I can think of right there is if you say you’re getting back in 4 to 6 hours, you had better get back in 4 to 6 hours or you’ve just added fuel to the fire.
Ryan Gromfin: Yes.
Neil: And now they will be looking for the Yelp form. Where they’ll give you the one star review.
Ryan Gromfin: It’s a double-edged sword. It just depends on the type of business you’re in and how accessible you are to managers and things like that. So yes, it is a double edged sword. You have to put a timeline on it. You can’t just say, “We’ll get back to you.”
Neil: Right. Their version of that could be 10 minutes.
Ryan Gromfin: It just depends. There’s software companies that I work with like Ontraport that has amazing customer service and I know if I send them an email, they’re going to get back to me within a couple of hours. I know that. That’s my expectation and they always exceed it. There’s also software companies that are tiny little software companies that I know don’t have 30 people sitting in a customer support room. That I’m okay with it. They always fix my problem. I just know that they’re not going to get back to me in 24 to 48 hours. They’re just not.
Neil: Mm-hmm (affirmative)
Ryan Gromfin: So, I’m going to Google, I’m going to do some things myself to try to fix problems. Hey, Ontraport, if you’re listening, sorry about that, but generally I just submit to help because you guys are so good I don’t even bother trying to fix it myself. (laughs)
Neil: You’ve just admitted, “I don’t even try to fix it, I just-”
Ryan Gromfin: I don’t even try to fix it. I try for five minutes and then I’m like, “Ah. They’ve got a guy.” (laughs)
Neil: (laughs) I got a guy. Yeah. Exactly. They’ve got a whole team of guys. It’s awesome.
Ryan Gromfin: Right.
Neil: All right, well, is there anything we’ve left out? That’s a great system, and it’s so simple. It is so simple and really tech wise it isn’t that hard to pull off. You could do that with pretty much any system. Any email system out there could do that. So, tech wise we can handle this. Anything we haven’t talked about that we really need to touch on this whole idea of controlling this conversation and customer reviews?
Ryan Gromfin: There’s subtleties to it all. That’s what we’re not getting into too much detail here. Like you said, it’s simple to pull, simply it’s complex to pull of with all of the intricacies and details of SEO searching and where do you put your private review sites versus public review sites and all that other stuff. If this is something that you’re like, “Oh, I want to go and do this myself,” you can rock it out. Then there’s those other websites that I mentioned, or working with a consultant or someone that can help you with this, that can get you more details on it. You’re right, the whole idea here is very, very simple. Just, intervene with that one simple question. I often say- here’s a quotable, or a tweetable or whatever- “Hope is a strategy it’s just not a very good one.”
Neil: Hope is a strategy.
Ryan Gromfin: I think a lot of times we sit here as business owners and we think, “I can’t control what a customer writes online,” or, “I can’t control that.” And you just hope that they do, but the reality is, there is nothing in your business that you cannot control. If you believe for one moment that you can’t control it, close your doors and go to work for someone else.
Neil: Wow. We’re going to end right there because that was a nice soapbox ending. I like that. Ryan, thanks so much for coming on the show today-
Ryan Gromfin: My pleasure! Thanks for having me!
Neil: -and sharing with us your thoughts on this whole conversation online. Great. Thanks Ryan!
Ryan Gromfin: Totally!
Neil: Well, that was some great stuff Ryan shared with us and let’s just review real quick here. We had 3 things that we’re going to take away from this.
One, you’ve got to have an awesome business. You can’t have a mediocre business, and Ryan really went deep into this and why that is true and so true in today’s world where it is so easy for us to amplify one or the other. We want people to get excited and amplify great business, not a bad business or a mediocre business. Number one, we’ve got to have an awesome business.
Number two, we need to exceed expectations. I loved Ryan’s point about, we have to know what the expectations are. I know this is true for me, or has been in my business, I just assume what people want because that’s what I would want. Maybe that’s not correct. Maybe we need to set expectations. Maybe we need to find out what the expectations really are so that we can exceed them. I liked what he said, “You only have to exceed them by one percent.” You don’t have to go 1,000 times, but if you have the right expectation you’re exceeding, you only need that one percent extra.
The third thing Ryan talked about, and here’s where we get into the techy, geeky- which I love- talked about how we can redirect people to the outlet we want them to be on based on their experience. So, if they had a great experience, we can redirect them right to a review site where they can leave a review. If they had a bad experience, we’re going to redirect them internally where we can handle that and give them a chance to vent, give yourself an opportunity to fix the problem before it ends up as some flaming post out there online that’s going viral about your business that you don’t want. So, try to control that conversation by giving them an outlet.
So, there we have it, some really great ideas from Ryan today. If you have a restaurant and you want to learn more about Ryan and what he does for restaurant business owners, you can find him at therestaurantboss.com. Therestaurantboss.com. If you’re trying to make a welcome email series for new people that have just signed up on your website and you have no idea what to write, you can head over to beyondtheoptin.com/triple where you will find instructions on how to do my triple loop series of welcome emails, indoctrination emails, whatever you want to call them. That’s beyondtheoptin.com/triple. That’s all I’ve got for this week. I will see you next week.