Why Your Restaurant's Online Reputation Depends on Review Responses

Wednesday, March 01, 2023


If you're running a business, you know that it's important to respond to customer feedback. But what about reviews of your business? Is it even worth responding to them? According to our clients, the answer is yes! A positive review is always nice, but responding to negative reviews can be especially helpful in turning around unhappy customers into happy ones. Here are some ways you can respond professionally if someone posts a negative review:

While responding to positive reviews is relatively easy, it's important to remember that each review is unique, and deserves a personalised response. Make an effort to acknowledge the specific feedback given, and address any concerns or suggestions mentioned by the customer. This can go a long way in demonstrating that your business values its customers and takes their feedback seriously.

When it comes to negative reviews, responding positively is crucial. By acknowledging the customer's concerns and taking steps to address the issue, you can turn a negative experience into a positive one. On the other hand, responding negatively or ignoring negative feedback altogether can damage your business's reputation and discourage customers from returning.

Use these tips below when responding:

  • Respond quickly: The sooner you respond, the better chance you have of making things right with your customer.
  • ​​Apologise: If there was anything wrong with their experience at all, apologize immediately. This shows that they are valued by your company and that they matter most in this situation (even though they wrote something negative).
  • ​​Offer solutions: If there wasn't anything ultimately wrong with the food but still left something unsatisfactory about their experience such as an issue with slow service or where they got seating then offer solutions.

Do your best to make things right with the customer

How you respond to a negative review is just as important as the review itself. No matter how bad the situation, responding in a positive way can go a long way toward turning around your reputation and gaining new customers.

Don't just say sorry. It's important that you not just say "sorry" without offering any more information or trying to make things right with the customer. It's also not good enough if you offer them something small like a discount code or free drinks; they may feel disrespected by your response and leave even more negative feedback on other sites (especially if they were already disappointed with the experience). They want someone who cares about their concerns, so take time out of your day to reach out and see how you can make their experience better next time around.

Remember this to Stay Cool, Calm & Composed

  • Don't take it personally.
  • ​Don't argue with the reviewer, even if you disagree with what they said.
  • ​Don't argue with the review itself, even if you agree with it and think it's unfair.
  • ​Don't argue that someone is wrong in their opinion: that doesn’t help anyone.

Publicly or privately?

When it comes to responding to reviews, it's important to consider the benefits and drawbacks of both public and private responses. Public responses can help show potential customers that you care about their experience and are proactive in addressing any issues that may arise. However, it's also important to keep in mind that public responses are visible to everyone who visits your profile, which means that your response can also be scrutinised by others.

On the other hand, private responses can be a good option for sensitive or complicated issues that you would prefer not to discuss publicly. They can also be a way to continue the conversation with a reviewer who may need more information or clarification about their experience. However, it's important to remember that private responses are only visible to the reviewer, and others who visit your profile may not see that you have responded.

Ultimately, the decision of whether to respond publicly or privately depends on the situation and your goals for responding. It's always a good idea to take a moment to carefully consider your response and ensure that it aligns with your brand's values and messaging.

Take the conversation offline

  • If a customer is not satisfied with your service, you should try to work out a solution.
  • ​If you can’t find a solution, ask the customer if they would like to arrange a call to discuss solutions.
  • ​If the customer prefers to remain anonymous and simply leave feedback on your site, then be sure to respond in a timely manner (within 24 hours).
  • ​Use relevant hashtags to increase visibility.

Thank them for sharing their experience

Thank them for sharing their experience. Let your customer know that you appreciate their feedback and would love to help them further if they have any questions or concerns. You can also ask if there is anything else you can do to make their experience better. This will help build trust with the reviewer, which in turn may lead to more positive reviews in the future.

In summary

As you can see, responding to a negative review is important. It may seem like a lot of work at first, but the time and energy you put into it will be worth it in the long run. By responding quickly and courteously, your business will show that they care about their customers' experience with them. Plus, in some cases you may even be able to turn something negative into a positive—which is always great!

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