It’s one of the most challenging aspects of running a business today, particularly for the Food & Drink sector; managing negative online reviews. 

With the age of social media; everyone has an online presence, and the freedom to post their unfiltered thoughts at the click of a button. And while a simple Tripadvisor or Google review may take just a few minutes to post, the damage of a bad online reputation can take a business years to repair!

Whether it’s a misunderstanding, a one-off incident, or a complete lie – it’s important to pay close attention to our online rep. So, what’s the best way to handle a negative review?

Be Active

Keep a close-eye on what’s happening online. Particularly on popular platforms such as Tripadvisor and Facebook. If someone is displaying a genuine concern or criticism, it’s important to always respond. Providing a personal, genuine response will show the customer (and those reading) that you are engaging and listening to them. This gives you the opportunity to explain yourself, address the issue and humanise your brand/company. Carefully plan your response, and be sure not to just use an automated reply to all customers.

Be Polite

It can be tough hearing a negative remark, or feedback you feel is underserved. However, it’s important to always provide a caring response to your customers; despite how minor or irrelevant the complaint may seem.  Don’t get too defensive – often a negative review can be a reflection of popularity; slow service or lack of seating,  might be a sign of a busy restaurant and high-demand which is unavoidable.

Research the Incident

If necessary, speak with your staff members to hear their side of the story, or communicate privately with the reviewer to gain more detail. If you’ve joined a review site, you may be able to privately message the customer, or you can invite them to message you directly, so that you can gain a better understanding of the incident and identify how the issue can be resolved to avoid future reoccurrence. This shows an active pursuit to constantly improve your customer service and relationships; showing your business in a positive light.

Remove False Reviews

Unfortunately, in such a competitive world, a review may be completely false, in a malicious attempt to bring your reputation down! In this instance, contact the platform to report the situation. This can sometimes can be a slow process – in which case, you may want to respond to the user directly too, to try and resolve the feedback and request for it to be removed.

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