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Business Owner Shows How NOT to Respond to Negative Yelp Review

Ever get a negative review for your business and just wished you could give them a piece of your mind?

Well, the next time you even remotely consider attacking your attacker–especially on a “neutral” site such as Yelp–remember this tirade from an Arizona restaurant owner.

First of all. Wow!

Look, even if you want to go on a tirade, you shouldn’t. If your restaurant is so great, and this reviewer is indeed a fake, then your raving fans will come to your defense. Making an attack like this just adds fuel to the flames. Ever heard of the expression: Methinks the lady doth protest too much?

So what was the reaction to this tirade? Other patrons joined in with their 1-star review. Whether they’re legitimate customers–or friends of the first 1-star reviewer–is besides the point. Blasting your customers gives them a green light to “have at it.”

So, the next time you feel like posting a similar response. Go ahead. Type it out. Tell them what for! Show it to your spouse. Then print it out and burn it! ;-)

(hat-tip)

  • http://www.looktotheright.com Noah

    Ha. That may not be the best way to handle a negative review but does make for some fun reading. It also makes me believe that the owner/chef which he strongly communicated he was, does really care for his business. The guarantee at the end also makes me really believe he would honor it if I came to the restaurant and did not like the food. I can see how this tirade would not appeal to all customers but makes ME believe he might really have some great food.

    • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Andy Beal

      I have to agree that I enjoyed reading the owner’s response. I’m sure we’ve all wished we could respond in such a way–it’s just not a good idea to actually do so. ;-)

  • http://www.frankthinking.com Frank Reed

    Just like you don’t need to take a test to be a parent, same goes for being a business owner.

    Any wonder why 2/3 of SMB’s fail in the first few years?

  • http://www.aull.info/ Diane “Torka” Aull

    Writing skills are just so lacking nowadays.

    The customer may not always be right (in fact, based on many years in customer service, in my experience the customer is wrong more often than not)… but the trick of excellent customer service is to leave the customer THINKING he’s right.

    Insulting the customer, as satisfying as it may be, is almost never a good idea. (Just witness the JetBlue flight attendant debacle currently in the news.)

  • http://www.michael-martinez.com/ Michael Martinez

    ” If your restaurant is so great, and this reviewer is indeed a fake, then your raving fans will come to your defense.”

    Rarely does life operate like that. Most people are not willing to take on the critics even when they disagree with them. There has been a LOT of research into these kinds of situations and, frankly, that frustrated restaurant owner is more likely to be his only champion than all his happy, satisfied customers.

    Here are references to a few science articles that explain why (piecemeal — you have to put a lot of information together to see the big picture).

    Negativity Is Contagious, Study Finds
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071004135757.htm

    Extremists More Willing To Share Their Opinions, Study Finds
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091021115151.htm

    Brain Study Shows That the Opinions of Others Matters
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100617120712.htm

    Why so many minds think alike (they will go along with already voiced opinions)
    edition.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/01/15/social.conformity.brain/index.html

    There are, of course, occasional non-conformists but the research suggests they’re not really behaving that differently from most other people.

    People Reject Popular Opinions If They Already Hold Opposing Views, Study Finds
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100802125819.htm

    • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Andy Beal

      Research is one thing, the real world is another. Go ahead and write a scathing review of an Apple product and let me know if your research holds up. :-P

  • http://www.kylebrigham.com Kyle Brigham

    This is so crazy! I recently wrote a post on a Yelp review from a friend of mine who wrote a negative review for a gym in Chicago, then got an angry message back and his gym membership revoked. Just for giving them 2 stars! It was nuts. Since then, the company has recieved a ton of negative reviews and the owner continues to not make improvements. Some owners just don’t get it. I don’t care how passionate you are about your business, you need to be more passionate about ALL of your customers!

  • http://KFN8.com Stephan Iscoe

    Ha! I sympathize with the Owner/Chef – I was recently tempted to unload on a reviewer…after 2 years of 5-Star reviews on Amazon and other ecommerce sites, some #@% (I mean unhappy customer) had the nerve to post a 3-Star, including a plug for a cheaper competitor. Yes, we prominently offer a money-back guarantee, which the reviewer did not ask for. I composed several witty replies (in my noggin) and then shut my computer down for a day until I regained perspective. The negative review was quickly followed by raves from repeat customers :)

  • http://www.ethanmowery.info Ethan

    I actually live pretty near the place. I’m considering going there based on the owners response. If I don’t like the pizza I won’t have to pay. It sounds like he cares a lot about his product which is something I tend to admire. Sure there could have been a more eloquent way to phrase his opinion, but the guy runs a pizza shop and not some PR firm.

  • http://www.KeithMette.com Keith Mette

    This is another great reason why every business owner needs to have a proactive online reputation plan. If we just simply thank our happy customers and ask them for help by sharing a review and giving them a link to do it we can control our online reputation. Also remember that if you have lots of good reviews and every once in a while you get a bad one it’s not the end of the world. In fact it might make you more real and believable. Start today and take control of your reputation.

  • http://in.linkedin.com/in/santoshbhandarkarindia Santosh Bhandarkar

    I think the business owner is totally correct in responding to the negative feedback. But he must do it diplomatically. Instead of going all out and blasting the guy, he should try “teach him a lesson” by being extremely polite and at the same time make his point. A bit of sarcasm and humor in your reply could also help!

  • http://twitter.com/zakkthebear zakk the bear

    I’ve been an Elite Yelper for years and on occasion I get these types of replies. The ranting, raving maniacs that think everyone loves them.

    I’ve also had a few concerned GM’s and owners have productive comments and conversations about what when wrong and how best to make changes. 9 times out of 10 I’ve been back to the ones that want input and information and update my review. Some get better, some don’t. The others…let’s just say it’s not as pleasant.

  • http://www.instockinc.com Kathy Miranda

    I agree with you Andy. In fact the “therapy method” you described is just what I do here at work and have my kids do at home – write it up, revise it, make it perfect and delete it. You feel better and you haven’t spread the negative bs.

  • Natalie

    I was curious about the original review and searched for it. Joel L seems a bit elitist, but nothing too out of line. And, he has a wide range of reviews from 1 to 5 stars.

    http://www.yelp.com/user_details?userid=qiTy11I-yp6foxIghRfGOA

    It seems to have touched a nerve with some of the Phoenix crowd. This is what is really crazy (and it does seem that the owner may have a screw or two loose.)
    http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com/bella/2010/08/ouch_todays_hard_lesson_on_yel.php
    http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com/bella/2010/08/going_postal_on_the_web_more_l.php

    It looks like it may have even made the news (Ch.3) there. But then again, when I lived in Phoenix, making ice made the news.

  • http://aarongoldman.net Aaron Goldman

    Like many Yelp reviews, I’m skeptical of the authenticity here.

    Usually, it’s favorable reviews posted by business owners (or owners’ friends and relatives) posing as regular customers that raise a red flag for me.

    This time my guess is we have someone who hates the owner (maybe the Pita Jungle owner?) posing in an effort to make him look bad and piss off customers.

    Of course, I could be wrong. It’s possible my radar is just up from this whole Jenny white-board hoax. :)