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Lets says you have mortgaged almost everything in your life and worked your fingers to the bone to make your business successful.  You are intensely proud of your business, the people you have hired, and the products/services you produce.  You might even say you are the business and the business is you.  You have become one.

Along comes one jerk who got up on the wrong side of the bed that morning and has decided to take it out on your business because you didn’t live up to his expectations.  He says awful things about your business, products, and the people who work there, but worse yet he posts it in a review for the world to see, besmirching the crystal clear reputation of your business forever!

How can you not take this personally?  The answer is – you will.  And that is ok because you love and believe in your business.  What you can’t do is what Monica Shaw from the Canada Wood Kitchen and Bar (Scotland) did when one of her customer’s left a negative review on their Facebook page.  Monica wrote the following after Phil Jeruzal said that Canada Wood Kitchen and Bar was “average” and suggested they hire a “decent head chef”:

“Phil thanks for your feedback on your recent visit unfortunately we are unable to comment on what you had as you never mentioned it in your comments.  We would also like to advise you that we have also decided to decline your advice and not change our head chef we reached that decision based on the fantastic feedback we have been receiving on our food quality and as you mentioned the service and location.  We also took into consideration the long blue line of 5 star reviews and the slightly shorter line of 4 star reviews at the top of this page.  We don’t recall you in our restaurant or discussing the ability of Wilma our head chef to me or any of our team but if at any stage you want to jump out from behind the safety of your PC and grow a set I’m sure Wilma or me would be more than happy to have a chat re her culinary capabilities or you could always message any of the majority of 5 star reviewers for further clarification.”

This response went viral on social media almost instantly and eventually hit the news.  Ms. Shaw and the Canada Wood Kitchen and Bar ended up receiving over 100 one star negative reviews.  Most of the people leaving reviews had never been to their restaurant but the damage had been done and those comments will forever be connected to their business.

Unfortunately this is not an uncommon occurrence.  The temptation can be too much to bare sometimes.

So what is a frustrated business owner or manager to do?  Here are some tips Google recommends to help you avoid a potential reputation management disaster:

  • Ignore minor complaints and resolve the issues privately when possible
  • Address issues constructively.  Don’t use responses to advertise.
  • Do not ask reviewers for anything or offer them anything.  Offering them discounts can be seen as a bribe.  Do offer to fix their problem if they still have one.
  • Be professional and polite.  The world will be able to see your response.
  • Here are some real life examples of how others have responded to negative reviews.  CLICK HERE

If you still feel angry when you sit down to write a response, wait until you have cooled off.  Try not to get caught up in the heat of the moment.  Dealing with a negative review can be a defining moment for some businesses.  Try talking to your employees about it in an objective way.  Allow this moment to help your business learn from its mistakes and grow even if you feel like you have done nothing wrong.