Bad reviews are good business
If you never thought that some of the people you’re sharing this planet with are cuckoo, the review for a local pizza place could be a convincing argument. Some business owners I work with do not want to manage their Yelp and Google presence because they’re afraid of reviews just like this one, where a one-time customer accused the restaurant of being racist because her order was taking so long.
Let’s set the stage for this critic’s tome, first of all. It’s Valentine’s day and while one might not think of that as a high-demand day for pizza, it is for this organization. Apparently a romantic night, for some, includes having someone else do the cooking and, since pizza is delivered, it’s a popular choice. You learn so much in my business.
Well this young lady decided she was going to visit the place instead of opting for delivery. Seeing few customers, she figured it was going to be a quick turnaround on her pizza order. But not seeing the chaos in the kitchen with all the delivery pizzas being prepared, she had no idea that the wait was going to be as long as it was. Okay, so the guy who took her order told her, but what does that mean, really?
So she went on her device of choice, perhaps she can write this review right from her broom stick, and accused the pizza place of taking longer to make her meal because they were racists.
I don’t deny that racism exists in this country and I know some people personally who are rather big offenders in this department. But the pizza place explained the situation to the lady. That wasn’t enough.
Bad and good reviews of your business are really opportunities. When I ran a resort we got mostly good reviews but also some really bad ones including one in particular where the reviewer said we don’t offer breakfast. Considering that the resort I owned was a bed and breakfast, this lousy review was an opportunity.
In this case, the opportunity was to highlight some of the things we did at breakfast and talk about local farmers where some of the ingredients were purchased. We talked about freshness and inclusion of people with food allergies and even taste preferences. Though, honestly, doesn’t bacon go with everything?
With the pizza place, the owner took the opportunity to respond to the review by talking about the diversity of his staff and how they’re chosen and then got to steer the response into other forms of diversity since the place offered gluten-free crusts and vegan offerings.
So the bottom line on all of this is that every business, even Disneyland, is going to get some lousy reviews. After all, some folks just ride into town with a bur in their saddle. But, by owning your Yelp and Google pages you can respond to these reviews and that’s where the real opportunity lies.
And, really, who thinks there’s no breakfast at a bed & breakfast? Some people’s children - honestly.
Article and photos by Anthony B. Barthel
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Tony Barthel is passionate about great marketing for small businesses
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