Bad News and Reviews – Attack or Opportunity?

We’ve all had it happen to one of our clients:  Someone visits their business and posts an ugly review on Trip Advisor, Facebook or Tweets how disappointed they are.  It’s a natural human instinct to respond to what we perceive as an attack by either fight or flight.

When someone attacks us publicly we are embarrassed and defensive.  Our gut reaction is to:

  • try to discredit the attacker (she was drunk when she checked into my hotel.)
  • try to deny culpability (this isn’t even my restaurant he’s describing, I believe this consumer is mistaken about where he ate.)
  • attack them right back (“You wouldn’t know a good mechanic if you saw one.”)
  • pretend it didn’t happen.  You saw the post, but you hope that new reviews will quickly take its place and the nasty remarks will disappear.  You call your nephew and ask him to post a good review.

While all of those responses are easy to understand and identify with they are not the way online complaints should be handled.   I recently had the pleasure of reading a bad review of an attraction in St. Augustine and the very good response that management posted.   This is the way it went:

Angry Customer:  I went to XYZ attraction and it sucked.  It cost $15.99 for about 10 minutes of low-grade amusement in the most boring setting.  Don’t waste your time or your money on XYZ.

Management Response:  I am sorry to hear that you did not enjoy your visit to XYZ and felt it was not worth your ticket price.  I feel sure you must have missed some of the features of the XYZ attraction such as the Voyage to Zanzibar and the Interpretive Center Archeological Display.  Were you able to stay for the simulated space launch at 12:00 and 2:00 PM every day?  Many visitors especially enjoy that.  Remember, if you are pushed for time you can buy a two day ticket and come back for things you want to look at a little more closely.  Taking a stroll through the re-creation of prehistoric Katmandu exhibit is always at least an hour of educational fun. I hope you will come again and give us another chance to exceed your expectations.

Now think about that.  Management did not do any of the things that would have been a natural response.  But what they did do was prove that they were listening and cared what their customers were saying.  And, they turned an attack into an opportunity to advertise.  Now that’s good PR!

Comments are closed.