Q&A: Dealing With a Bad Review

Features Business on Main

Our restaurant was just smeared by an online review that sounds like it’s more from a competitor than a customer. Do customers trust bad reviews? Should we fight back? How can we respond without making matters worse?

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Ouch. A bad review, legit or not, hurts — though it often hurts feelings more than it hurts business. People expect a few posts from whiners and competitors to be interspersed with the accolades. Still, don’t dismiss a rant. If it’s unfair or fraudulent, you might be able to get it removed. But if it contains a grain of truth, deal with it. If someone says the service is surly, the service might, in fact, be surly. You might benefit from staff training and a service promise program that you can describe, with thanks, in response to the bad reviews. At the same time, encourage enthusiastic customers to post raves. They’ll move the rant down the list and quickly dilute its impact. Let’s hear from others. Businesses: How have you handled bad reviews? Customers: Have you posted or been influenced by a bad review? Share your story.

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