Most if not all businesses will one day be on the receiving end of bad online reviews.

Even bad press is still press, and it may not harm your business in any way. But too many negative comments are a cause for concern, and it’s showing you where your oversights may be.

You can get scathing reviews even if you do nothing wrong. So, you need to understand that you aren’t always going to get positive reviews even when you think things are going smoothly.

But not doing anything with bad reviews could do some damage, so it’s best to be aware of next steps. Here are several strategies for dealing with critics.

  1. Train Your Staff To Ask More Questions

If your customers don’t have other ways of sharing their feedback with you, they’re going to use social media to voice their concerns.

In most cases, a negative review can be averted if you do a better job of paying attention to your customers and meeting their needs. If your servers check up on them frequently, which they should be doing anyway, there’s less of a chance your customers will leave your restaurant feeling they were ripped off.

You can also encourage customers to contact you through your website or other channels.

  1. Respond To Reviews In A Timely Manner

Don’t hide up in a hole waiting for the storm to pass you by. Be proactive about negative online reviews and respond to them quickly so people know you value their opinion.

Also, pay attention to how you respond. First, thank your reviewer for bringing the matter to your attention and demonstrate that you understand the problem. Second, don’t argue with the customer. Instead, ask them what you could have done (or could do) to make their experience better.

  1. Give Them A Reason To Come Back

If you handle your critics well, there’s a good chance they will become loyal customers. Don’t “bribe” them to win them back, but it can’t hurt to offer them an incentive. After all, you want to encourage repeat business. If or when they come back, you want to ensure they have a better experience.

  1. Contact Them Directly

Some matters simply cannot be resolved online, and there may be no way for you to turn the situation around by continuing the conversation on a social network.

Furthermore, online conversations can deteriorate into arguments, which solves nothing and just makes you look bad. In some cases, your best strategy is to get in touch with your customer directly, or to get them to contact you via email, phone, and so on.

  1. Offer A Solution

We’ve talked about the fact that you need to respond quickly to comments and clarify what went wrong. But the most important point is to offer a solution to the problem. Empathizing is a good starting point, but not necessarily enough to show you care. Tell your customers what you’re doing to resolve the issue.

  1. Stay Up-To-Date

There are many sites users can post reviews to. Monitoring all of them can be a challenge, but you need to be proactive and manage your online reputation. Use tools like Google Alerts to be notified whenever your brand is mentioned, and check review sites like Yelp on a regular basis. Better yet, hire a team of professionals to monitor your review sites.


Negative reviews are inevitable, and not all comments even warrant a response. But when you get especially bad reviews, you need to be proactive in how you handle them. People will be talking about you online whether you want them to or not, and it’s unrealistic to think that you’ll somehow be able to block it all out.

Take advantage of social media monitoring tools and other technology to be notified when problems arise, and choose to deal with it sooner rather than later.