For three out of every four diners, identifying a new restaurant to try involves checking out online reviews at sites such as Yelp. But while review sites are great for prospective customers, what about the restaurant owners? On Yelp, positive reviews can help garner more business. Once in a while, however, you may have to deal with a mediocre or bad review.

Since you can’t erase these negative online reviews, there’s little you can do on the visible side of things. Once a negative review is there, it’s going to stay there, which makes review sites a double-edged sword for businesses.

In a perfect world, your business would please every customer and receive a five-star review. In reality, even great companies sometimes get bad reviews.

And that’s OK.

Getting a negative review is not the end of the world. The right feedback from a dissatisfied customer can offer an opportunity to improve products or services that, in time, earn you even more business down the road. If you can't identify your weak spots, you'll never be as strong as you can be.

The next time your business gets a bad review online, consider the following:

Respond appropriately. If a customer seems angry, don’t escalate the situation by responding in kind.

Thank the reviewer for taking the time to provide feedback — even feedback you're not thrilled to hear. If they didn’t care at all, there's a good chance they wouldn’t have left any feedback, depriving you of the opportunity to make improvements.

Don't rely on free products or vouchers. Attempting to compensate for poor performance by giving away free products or vouchers does not address the underlying issue. That's not to say such compensation is always a bad idea, just that it shouldn't be the first avenue you take.

What are some ways you have dealt with negative reviews online?

The knowledge you need to succeed.

Platform Overview

Get a professional local online marketing campaign launched in six weeks or less.