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How to Recover Your Restaurant’s Reputation After a Poor Review

Bad news always travels faster than good, which is why a poor online review of your restaurant can do some damage. You may not even feel the review is accurate, however, it still may negatively affect your business. What’s the best way to deal with a bad restaurant review? Is it worth trying to recover your reputation?

The Woes of Word of Mouth

It’s easy for everyone today to have a voice online. Social media just begs for us to comment, post selfies or leave a nasty (or positive) review of a restaurant we’ve frequented. These comments and discussions resonate, particularly if you’re a business on the negative end of a disgruntled customer.

The statistics tell us that 90 percent of consumers say online reviews of a business affect their buying decisions. Consumers want to know what the experience was like to avoid spending money at a place that treats them poorly. These reviews affect businesses of all sizes and in all market sectors. Reviews on sites like Yelp or Google relate to profitability. One study showed just five positive reviews on Yelp boost businesses by up to 10 percent while one bad review can cost a company thousands in lost business. If you receive a bad review, here are some things you can do to counteract it.

Apologize for the bad experience.

Businesses are run by humans and sometimes humans make mistakes. These mistakes can lead to a bad customer experience and a negative review. While the reviews may jar you with a visceral, emotional response, take a moment to regroup before typing out a reply. Do not lash back at the customer, no matter how unfair the review was. Remember the adage, “The customer is always right?” Engaging in a war of words will only make you look bad. So, write a short online response to every negative review. Tell the customer how sorry you are that their experience was less than positive. Perhaps offer them a discount on the service to come back and try again. Saying that “We’re only human and make mistakes,” should resonate with a customer, along with offering a real response that says you’ll work on trying to do better.

Fix the problem.

Taking time to respond to negative reviews is a very positive thing you can do to improve your online reputation. But be sure to listen carefully to these reviews and, if necessary, make concrete changes to your business so the experience isn’t repeated. Let the customer know, if possible, what you’re doing to correct the situation. If you attach actions to your apology it lets customers know that you’re serious about improving the overall experience for the next customer down the line. It shows that your company cares about its customers enough to listen to their feedback.

Ask the customer to remove the review.

The final step that very few companies seem to follow-up on is trying to get the review removed. After you’ve responded to the customer issue, go back to them and share what you did to correct the problem. Then ask if they would consider removing the negative review.

The truth here is that sometimes customers can be overly demanding or just surly. We all know this. But sometimes online reviews highlight an important point that needs addressing in your organization. That’s exactly why you need to take these comments seriously every single time. A bad online review sometimes isn’t our fault – but it’s always our problem.

Avoid negative reviews by hiring the best staff! Connect with one of our staffing specialists today to get started.


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