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On the flip side, what if you could nip comments by disgruntled customers in the bud while gathering a fuller, more-nuanced sample of what your customers think of you?

Digital survey tools presented at the table can have a response rate of more than 80 percent in some cases, largely because it’s presented immediately after the meal on a tablet device people enjoy using.

You also get the feedback instantly, so a manager can intervene and work to placate customers before they leave angry, and before they can post something nasty on Yelp.

Best of all, from a perspective of improving overall customer experience, you build a database that delivers early insights into systematic problems with operations or specific staff members. Are there particular times of day you have problems? Are there certain menu items customers really don’t like? Survey tools can be tweaked and customized quickly and for almost any need.

What I’m really advocating is a more holistic and informed approach to reputation management. By turning your focus to gleaning insights into customer opinions—and more of them—on the spot, you shouldn’t have to worry so much about what they’ll say on social media.

Sure, they’ll still give their opinions on Yelp and elsewhere, and you’ll still want to keep an eye on that. But, chances are, more of those opinions will be positive.

Skip Cass is CEO of Long Range Systems, which rose to prominence as the developer of the guest pager in the restaurant industry in 1993. Today, LRS supplies guest pagers and solutions for wait list management, table tracking and guest surveys.