Online Customer Reviews Can Make or Break You

When you're running a Canadian franchise, especially a restaurant, one thing to keep is mind is the importance of good online reviews. Web use is hitting all-time highs, with CBC News reporting that Canadians spend the most time on their desktops online out of anyone in the entire world.

Simply put, your location's web reputation matters now more than ever before, and reviews are going to be a big part of that image. You'll need to monitor them and respond in a way that shows you care about your business and your customers.

While a negative review won't kill your franchise, it's certainly not great for your business, and multiple bad reviews can have a sinking effect on your profits. To turn lemons into lemonade and prevent any fallout from spreading, you need to handle a bad review the right way and learn what can be improved in your business from it.

For a great review

Any time you get a good review, thank that reviewer publicly. You don't need to gush, just a simple "thanks" with a few sentences that indicate you actually read the review and didn't just go by the number of stars the customer awarded will suffice.

For a not-so-good review 

How you respond to a negative review will be something visitors—and likely potential customers—take note of. Keep the following points in mind before you respond to a bad review.

  • Get to the point of the matter and clearly identify what the customer is complaining about. If something needs to be changed in your business, address that.
  • Don’t get emotional. While your business is naturally very important to you, you’ll only make it look worse if you respond in an angry manner. Cool off before you respond if necessary.
  • Apologize to customers and remember that they’re "always right." It’s easy to do and is sometimes all they want to hear.
  • Try to make it right. Think about how you can remedy the situation. It could be as simple as offering the customer a free meal or serving him or her personally if the customer decides to return. Should you remedy the situation and please the customer, ask if he or she will update the review to reflect this. 

Always respond to reviews as quickly as you can, whether they are negative or positive. You have to stay on top of your location's reputation, and one way to do that is by knowing what people are saying about your business on the web.