Going viral for the wrong reasons? Do's and don'ts of reputation management

You may have seen recently how badly a certain budget airline handled some online criticism (if not then you’ll see below!), so we’ve compiled a handy list with some definite do’s and don’ts when it comes to managing your business’s online reputation with a few good and bad examples thrown in!

In recent years, social media marketing has become a necessity for the hospitality industry as a means of reaching and interacting with customers - in most cases engagement will be positive, but what do we do if things go wrong? This is our guide to the do’s and don’ts of social media reputation management.

Every now and then we can be met with a little resistance by those using the internet as a platform to vent or leave feedback - whether a customer wants to leave a bad review, or a negative comment has been left on one of your posts, we need to find the best way of dealing with this to avoid your customers losing trust in your brand or putting others off of visiting.

How to address an issue and improve the situation

How to address an issue and improve the situation

Always DO address the issue
If a customer has an issue and decides to use the internet as a feedback platform, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The first rule is to always address the issue directly, don’t send a copy and pasted response and definitely don’t ignore it! Make sure you take the time to read what the issue may be as this could also help you improve your service.

DON’T let the customer stay angry
Often apologising and trying to reach a compromise/find a quick resolution will leave the customer with a better (not bitter!) taste in their mouth. If you’ve taken the complaint on board, other than the odd know-it-all, there will often be a reasonable resolution to be made, we’re all human after all. Whether this means inviting somebody back for a meal on the house if they’ve had an unpleasant experience, or just an apology and a statement of intent to fix the issue (apologising shows the human face of your business) - letting the customer know that you value their opinion is a great way to diffuse the situation. Of course, if the comment left was abusive, libellous or a possible spam comment, then they may not even be worth a response - some people either can’t be reasoned with or don’t want to be reasoned with.

Never ask to remove a post due to embarrassment!

Never ask to remove a post due to embarrassment!

DO act fast
The quicker you try to resolve the issue the better. The sooner you are seen to act on this negativity, the better you will look as you are not shying away from the matter in hand. Although if you act fast, make sure you’ve left yourself enough time to process both what you’re reading and what you’ve written, to ensure that your response cannot be misconstrued in a negative light, as this may cause further issues. Dealing with these issues in a timely, professional, and competent manner will often convince the reviewer (without directly asking) to amend or sometimes even remove their scathing comments, as opposed to a slow or non-existent response riling them up even further. So, by acting fast you could well turn a negative into something a lot more positive.

DON’T keep all interactions public
If somebody has left a poor Google Review for example, try not to give it any more interaction past the first response. In this response, offer an alternative form of contact, for example leave an email address or telephone number and let them know that you would be more than happy to discuss any issues with them directly. Not only does this keep a possible feud away from public eyes, it also means that the interaction is less relevant in Google’s eyes. A Google review with more interactions will rank higher on your page, whether good or bad, therefore it is important to keep interactions on the thread to a minimum, as this will then bump it up to the top of your reviews, and the last thing you want is for a bad review to be the main advert for your business! So try to manoeuvre conversations away from Twitter/Google/Facebook and offer an email address, alternatively ask for the best contact details so that you can make the initial contact.

What are the key takeaways?
Attitude. First and foremost, your attitude and tone of voice will dictate the outcome more than anything else. Try to appear empathetic without being patronising, and stay professional. Never become aggressive or take an argument to the internet, as a business it is unlikely you will ever come off looking better than when you started!
In essence, the internet has become an extension of your business’s customer service, but with many more eyes looking on, so treat those online as you would in your restaurant!

Need a helping hand managing your online reputation? At Really Social we offer a response package to help deal with all of your reviews and comments, both positive and negative, swiftly and professionally - Take a look here

Just for fun, here’s a few good and bad restaurant reviews to take note of! Go to page