What to Do About a Poor Review
Seems like everybody’s reviewing restaurants (and other businesses) on sites like Yelp and Urbanspoon these days. In my other life as a regular Joe consumer and diner, I often browse Yelp reviews to find new places to try. Others use Yelp the same way, searching for a type of cuisine or a specific location and selecting a place to try based on reviews, menus, etc. Because of Yelp’s popularity (and the way it’s used), a negative review can have a powerful impact on a restaurant. New customers won’t come in, meaning they won’t turn into repeat customers; old customers could even be put off enough not to come back. But every restaurant receives a negative review now and then. So, then, what should you do about it if this happens to you?
Try these 2 dos and 2 don’ts:
Don’t respond on the website. Though your conscience may urge you to respond in a comment and save face by showing your genuine apologies, the truth — according to Kent Campbell of InternetReputationManagement.com — is that adding feedback only makes the link to the negative comments stronger online. Perhaps the reviewer’s profile links to an email address or contact information — if you want to make ammends, contact them personally, not publicly. After all, they can always re-review you themselves.
Don’t call your attorney. First of all, the law is not on your side. Or at least, most likely it isn’t. People have every right to log their negative feelings in an online forum. Also, a complaint lodged by a lawyer can find its way onto the internet where it might pop up in search results, creating more negative publicity.
Do try to fix the problem. According to Campbell, it’s better to call the reviewer (if you can get a hold of their number). An email, he writes, may get reposted online. Still, my gut feeling here is it’s better to do something than nothing, even if you can’t get a number. Check the reviewer’s online profile and see how best to contact them, then make ammends in a professional and personable way.
Do try to get him or her to retract the comment. If your reparations for whatever offence are satisfactory, see if the reviewer is willing to retract or revise the negative review to reflect your effort to make things better. It’s better for other Yelp-users to hear the news from the previous reviewer than you, anyway.
Hopefully these simple tips help make bad reviews less stressful. If you’re genuine and professional, you can take care of things and repair any damage to your image.
I’ll be back with another post on Wednesday. Until then, contact us here.