The 2 Best Ways To Handle Negative Online Reviews

May 25, 2016 | Restaurant POS, Retail POS, Weekly Articles

There’s nothing more gut wrenching than seeing a negative review about your company floating around online. There’s a lot of reactions that quickly go through our mind. Shock, disbelief, denial and even anger and we tend to remain stuck on those negative emotions and never move forward, or even know what to do next.

Acceptance of receiving a bad review of your business is important, because if you’re still in any of the earlier stages of emotional distress, you will not be able to properly respond to the negative review.

You need a calm head before coming up with a plan of response.

Before we address some of the ways you can handle the situation, we’re going to give you some tips to help get yourself into the right mindset before responding.

  • Go through the following steps before formulating a response:
  • Take some deep breaths
  • Walk away from the computer
  • Focus on another task for a while
  • Do something to put you in a happier mindset

Once you’ve taken time, go back and read through the review.

Now the most challenging part. Honestly ask yourself, is there truth in this criticism?

It’s never easy realizing you made a mistake, but look at the review and see what they person is saying. Place yourself in their situation, and see if you would react in a similar way.

Going forward, decide on your course of action.

Depending on the truth in the review, there are several different options for how you will handle the review. Here are some options:

The olive branch response.

Yelp has a specific way they recommend handling mean reviews, and even suggest it for using it on critic trolls.

They usually suggest the following:”Before responding to a negative review, take a deep breath and think very carefully about what you are going to write. Or even better, don’t think too much: just keep it simple by thanking your customer for the patronage and feedback. By contacting your reviewer and establishing a genuine human relationship.”

Remember, you’re talking to another person, try make that genuine apology that they had a bad experience. Open the dialogue and ask what you can do to make the situation right.

On some level, all complaints should be recognized as legitimate, and you need to let them provide an outsider’s look into your business and what you can improve on.

Practicing this method resembles turning the other cheek and offering an olive branch to the reviewer.

The embracing the negative review response.

As a disclaimer on this piece of advice, it will not work for every negative review.

This tactic, essentially means embraces the bad review, and sharing it with the world. The below photo is from a restaurant that had a horrible yelp review on their meatball sandwich, the restaurant, put this review on their sign and used it as a way to promote their restaurant.

It’s a bold, and bass way to tackle a negative review, but it can be powerful with giving you attention, and showing you can laugh at yourself. If you’ve tried the above method for a bad review, and that reviewer is not willing to work with you, it can be worth it to try this message.

Other restaurants have done this by putting hilarious negative reviews on t-shirts and selling them.

We recommend that you only do this for troll comments, or slightly funny reviews, but not for every comment posted on your site.

In essence, you’re shifting the power from the reviewer and take control yourself.

Remember, a negative review is a chance to grow.

As much as they hurt, a bad review can be fixed, and turned into a positive situation. Sometimes you can win over the reviewer, and if not, you can take it with a sense of humor and turn it into a selling point.

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