Is the Customer Always Right?

I love Yelp. I especially love using Yelp to find new places to eat. Recently my friends and I found a restaurant that we have since gone to few times to watch Sunday football. The place was fairly new so there were not a lot of reviews at that time. It had decent food, a nice patio and good views of the televisions to watch games. Fast forward a few months and we were looking for someplace new to visit, and this place came up in the list again. Only this time it had quite a few more reviews, which I decided to read.

Like most places there were some five-star reviews and some one-star reviews. But what was different and really off-putting were the responses to the one-star reviews. The owner of the location commented on each of the one-star reviews (only) and proceeded to dispute the reviews in a negative manner, in most cases calling the people out.

Do I think that the customer is always right?

No. I don’t think the customer is always right. And I do think there is a proper way to respond to reviews and utilize the information to make the experience better for everyone.
Instead of getting defensive and calling reviewers out, here are my top four suggestions for responding to negative reviews:

  • First read the review carefully a few times and make sure you understand the specifics of the complaint (and low rating).
  • Next, acknowledge the complaint. Even if you think the negative review has no basis, many times the reviewer just wants to know he/she is being heard.
  • Then let the customer know you are looking into the issue(s). Often the complaint is about a specific thing like how much time they had to wait to be seated or the quality or service. These are items that you should want to look into.
  • Finally, personally invite the individual back for another visit. Have them ask for you (or another manager) and make sure the experience is remedied.

It is good practice to respond to the people who took the time to write a review, whether positive or negative.  Readers of review sites want to see that the business is paying attention to the good and the not-so-good.  Even if it is a simple thank you for coming in, acknowledging all reviews and inviting guests back into try your restaurant (or really any business) just makes sense.

Written by
at Feb 9, 2018

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