Social media has made it easier than ever for a customer to share their opinions with the world, which can have a positive impact on your business. The majority of reviews posted online are favorable. Online review sites are a great way to get exposure for your restaurant, hotel, or other business. But what if you receive a bad review online? How should you respond? No matter how dedicated you are to providing your customers with a positive experience, chances are you may have to deal with a negative review at some point. Here are some tips for handling a bad review:

Have a Plan in Place

Even if you’ve never received a bad review in the past, it’s a good idea to have an action plan in place so you can swiftly address a negative review when it’s posted. Many business owners and managers make the mistake of allowing their emotions to get the best of them when a bad review comes in. The result is often a defensive and ineffective public response to the reviewer which can reflect poorly on your business.

Act Quickly

When it comes to online reviews, failing to address negative feedback in a timely manner can make matters worse. Potential and existing customers can mistake your silence for indifference. Reply to the review publicly, letting the customer know that their concerns are a top priority. If possible, request more details about their experience via a private message. Talk to any staff members that may have knowledge of the incident in question to determine where you could have served the customer better.

Make it Right

Do your best to mend your business relationship with the reviewer. If you find that your establishment failed to offer them with adequate service, compensate them in a way that seems fair. The promise of a future discount or a credit or partial credit of their recent visit can go a long way in bringing a disgruntled customer down to a cool calm. Above all, be sure to always validate their feelings, even if you don’t feel your business was in the wrong. Many customers will update their review if they feel you adequately handled their complaint.

Negative review can be devastating, especially for restaurants and hotels with multiple locations, where a bad review of one location can hurt business for all the other locations. If your expansion has caused variability in the customer experience, you will benefit from a purchasing services organization that will help you initiate restaurant-wide buying standards and set up systems to monitor and enforce your procurement processes.

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