1. DON’T TAKE THINGS PERSONALLY
For the sake of your mental health, don’t let attacks discourage you or your team. You can’t be a robot 24/7, but this industry gives you a thick skin for a reason. Stephen Maly, the director of hospitality and guest relations for New York City’s IGC Hospitality, says not taking things personally helps him focus on how he could improve service for his venues.
“I can remember the first negative online review I ever received, around 2007 when I worked as a manager at Libation nightclub,” says Maly. “The review outlined an experience that was less than satisfactory and provided details that included ‘the idiot manager and his Kmart suit.’ At the time, I felt shocked and had feelings of anxiety, frustration, embarrassment and anger. As time passed, I adjusted my thought process and tried to take emotion out of analyzing reviews and focus on what frustrated the customer. If you can take ego out of the equation and find the root of what went wrong, you can learn a lot.”
2. LISTEN TO THE NOISE
Part of Maly’s job is going through and responding to every review, positive and negative, received by IGC’s restaurants and bars, including Trademark Taste + Grind, The Wilson and Woodpecker by David Burke. He says his team regularly evaluates feedback to constantly refine their business.
“Feedback and reviews are important to our success,” says Maly. “If 100 customers say the same thing, then we would be foolish to not listen to them. Based on some of our reviews, we have changed menu items, music selections
and even hours of operation. In one instance, we were getting multiple negative reviews about one of our restaurants being too loud, so we had an acoustics expert come in to install sound-absorbing panels to help soak up some of those pesky sound waves.”