How to Make the Best of a Negative Review

July 05 2014 – Robert Fiumara

It’s the internet age, and people are more connected than ever before. People of all ages are snapping pics, taking selfies, tweeting, and updating their status anywhere and everywhere all the time. People use these platforms, as well as some others, to share their experiences and give reviews. Sometimes, those impressions and experiences are great, and reflect on our services brightly.  However, sometimes you’ll come across a review that knocks your food or your service, which can be understandably frustrating. Often times, such reviews will appear without you ever having received feedback from the customer during their dining experience, but that’s okay! You have options to combat the negative publicity.


Customer Feedback is All but Assured in the Modern Age


Firstly, you’ll want to respond immediately. When a manager or owner makes it a priority to address feedback as soon as possible, customers will see that you’re dedicated to your service and doing right by the customer. If you let a review sit unaddressed, you give it the ability to snowball or take on a life all its own. Secondly, you’ll want to personalize your interactions. Don’t fall back on generic and pre-set responses to every negative comment. Show the customer that you’re really listening. Repeat back parts of their review and acknowledge the specific issue at hand in their words. It shows the customer that you’re not only concerned with wiping away the negative review, but are actually concerned with their problems. 


Thirdly, you can do much to alleviate concerns by offering a guest a discount or free “second try”. You demonstrate a commitment to providing the best experience while expressing a firm belief in your products and services by making such an offer. If you give a soft apology for a negative experience and invite those guests to join you again, they are likely to update their review to reflect this change. Going that extra mile for the guest will encourage them to do the same for you.


Finally, when you respond, use a good online reputation platform. Managing reviews across multiple platforms can be challenging, and using an online service that allows you to see and respond to reviews across many different social platforms will make your life significantly easier in this regard.  Many of these online services will likewise alert you when a new review is posted on any of your platforms.

Through all of this, you’ll want to keep in mind that when you respond, you don’t want to focus on the negative. Responding to positive, as well as negative reviews establishes a pattern of concern for all customers.  It establishes an image of personal care and investment in all of your customers, which is something that potential guests will not take lightly.


Spinning Feedback and Responding To It Is Vital For Success


Any review, no matter how negative, is an opportunity to grow your brand and reach new customers. Knowing how to respond to a negative review, and shed a positive light on it, is essential to maintaining a healthy brand and image in an increasingly connected world.

Tagged: atmosphere, attracting customers, customer feedback, customer interaction, customer loyalty, internet, Management tips, negative reviews, online, Restaurant Management, restaurant yelp reviews, reviews, the dining experience


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