Ah, the drudgery of responding to online reviews. It’s something many business owners can easily let slip by the wayside, often not budgeting time for it despite it becoming an increasingly important aspect of every small, medium, and large business.
The task can often be tedious; reading and responding to several or dozens of reviews regularly depending on how overdue they may be and the number of locations a business owner might oversee. That’s why, however, it’s important to implore an online reputation management company that comes with their own software (queue the WebPunch Roo fist-pumping the air.)
Business owners shouldn’t run off willy nilly, responding to customer reviews in whatever fashion they feel like. While it’s important to respond to both negative and positive reviews, doing so can take a certain finesse and must be done in a timely manner.
That being said, let’s go back in time to school days when multiple choice questions were all the rage (weren’t they?). We’ve taken a few reviews from various sites on the ole interwebs and added some responses a business owner could dish out in return.
The answers demonstrate the state of mind a business owner may be in when responding to a negative review, illustrating the challenges they may face when trying to adequately deal with online reviews in the midst of the busy schedule of an entrepreneur.
Some of those outcomes may include complete and total overreaction; absolute negligence of what the reviewer is talking about because they don’t have time to really read the review; responding with the correct tone but missing the point of responding to reviews, like making sure to ask a detractor for a second chance or having them contact someone to explain the crummy experience in general, or just not responding at all.
(For the sake of anonymity, Jenny and Adam are our reviewers.)
- Adam, you @*$&! You know nothing about car mechanics. Your brain is probably as tiny as your stereo’s power button and rattling around in that empty head of yours louder than your loosened exhaust system! If we ever see your car here again (and we know which one it is) we’ll slash your tires and throw paint all over it!!!!
- We appreciate you coming in. Thanks for the business, Adam!
- We are very sorry to hear that you had this experience last time you were here. While I’m not seeing anyone by your name in our system, we would be more than happy to try and rectify this situation. We’ve been in business for some time, and you are the first to call us liars, so we would like to understand exactly what went wrong. Feel free to contact me on my cell, 555-5555 or by email at email@example.com so we can fix this.
- Boooooooooooring. . . .Zzzzzzzzzzzzz
Correct answer: 3 Actual response, which we think is top-notch is below:
- No one was poisoned! How dare you accuse us of such things! You give us a 5-star review and talk trash about us! Why don’t you look in the mirror, Adam.
- Come bak again! (yes, with back misspelled)
- Thanks for the great feedback, Adam! We always like to hear how we’re doing. We hope you’ll call us back for your in-home plumbing needs.
- No response.
Correct answer: 4 Actual answer is below:
- Jenny, it is of the utmost importance that our customers have an impeccable dining experience from beginning to end, whether it is for brunch, lunch, or dinner. It makes us very sad and quite concerned that your brunch experience was not anywhere close to adequate. We’ve taken your criticism to heart and plan on investigating and addressing these issues. We do hope you’ll give us a second chance.
- By the looks of your profile, Jenny, you’re a millennial, which means you most likely aren’t even awake by noon, so I would think our 10-2 brunch hours would suffice. Are you a chef, Jenny? Do you even know the difference between store-bought and frozen? I bet not, so please, no judgement here, Jenny. Nice try, trying to get a free meal. Your table is waiting for you at IHOP.
- Oh, yeah, that was a busy, busy day. We totally did use frozen hash browns. Sometimes you just gotta.
- Please never come back. I will stop bottomless mimosas if it keeps people like you away.
Correct answer: 1 actual answer: 4 (this restaurant is permanently closed!)
- Glad you enjoyed your yogurt, we’re known for those.
- We’re sorry you didn’t enjoy anything! Maybe you shouldn’t be such a jerk.
- We’re sorry you didn’t enjoy your experience with us. Feel free to let us know more of what we did wrong at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can do better in the future.
- That’s awful to hear. Please, we hope you’ll come back for a second chance. When you do, please write down any and all concerns in detail and put them in the tiny slot right above the fireplace, or in the big gray trash receptacle next to the bar and we’ll get right on that.
Correct answer: 4 Actual answer: 1
And if you really want some pointers on how to sass negative responders, take some lessons from Wendy’s, the master of response.
One of the worst things you can do is say nothing. While it’s best to reply to positive and negative reviews with a carefully crafted response, even a sassy one is better than nothing. If you want to save yourself and keep your business’s online reputation from turning into a dumpster fire, you may want to hire seasoned professionals.
Matthew Van Deventer is a content creator for WebPunch. As a dealer of words he dabbles in journalism and loves a good story, whatever the medium. Matthew lives outside of Denver, CO with his wife, daughter, and pup, Chewy.