Customer Reviews: Turning Negativity into Five-Star Experiences

Discovering Your First Negative Online Review

“Melissa C.”—that horrid reviewer who brought down your Yelp rating by one-fourth of a star. After reading her review, you wanted to type away in a flurry of emotions and tell her that she was wrong and that your greens beans are supposed to be “extra” buttery and actually aren’t “too” buttery.

As restaurant owners or managers, we’ve all been there. We’ve all felt that pain. The betrayal, the anger, and the guilt felt from a negative online review is an unmatched feeling.

But before you completely sabotage your online presence, let’s click out of Yelp and see how you take a negative review and actually turn it into a positive for your restaurant.

The Impact of Online Reviews

For starters, online reviews have major leverage on influencing the purchasing behavior of your consumers. The impact of negative reviews and impact of positive reviews are both big.

Negative reviews can take a thriving and successful business and lead it towards a path of destruction. Businesses can lose 22% of customers who have purchased from them because of a negative article. This number jumps to almost 60% if there are three or more negative articles and then 70% if there are four or more.

Positive reviews are vital for your company. Nowadays, a whopping 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they trust recommendations from friends or family. So, before you reply to Melissa C.’s review with a heated and lengthy counter-argument, let’s see how a better response can win you more customers.


How to Respond to Negative Reviews

These days a bad review cannot be ignored or given a passive-aggressive reply. Take the time to turn a bad review into a positive with a personalized comment. Often times, if you apologize and offer to make amends or resolve the issue or problem, users will see your side of the story and your exceptional customer service. Otherwise, they’ll have no reason not to believe the negative review.

Anyone and everyone has a voice on the Internet and sometimes it can be hard to stay on top of all the reviews from Yelp, Facebook, and Google. Consider looking into an online reputation management (ORM) software to keep tabs on what users are saying and to quickly respond to the reviews. But remember, if a bad review comes through the pipelines, take a deep breath before you respond.