How to Avoid a Social Media Meltdown over Negative Reviews

Andrea Miller

Written by Andrea Miller on Wed, May 15, 2013

AmysBakingCoNewsIt makes every marketing manager’s heart flutter: the notification email that your company or client has been the subject of an online review. If you’re promoting good products or service, chances are the post on Yelp, Trip Advisor, or Google is good, and you can breathe a sigh of relief. But negative reviews happen even to the best of companies. It’s how you handle them that can actually put you back on top. And if marketers ever needed a lesson on what NOT to do, Amy’s Baking Company Baking Boutique and Bistro demonstrated that this week.

The Scottsdale, Arizona bakery was the subject of an episode of FOX’s Kitchen Nightmares. Anyone who has seen this show knows this is not a good thing. Chef Gordan Ramsay usually berates the business owner for lack of standards but then proceeds to move the restaurant in the right direction by improving food, décor and service. But not even the loud-mouthed British chef could convince the owners of Amy’s to change their ways. So, Ramsay dumped them for being too difficult to work with.

Their Yelp reviews should have been an indicator: 


Redittors saw the episode and jumped all over it. Now, it's been a featured what not to do story on Mashable, the Huffington Post and other known media sites. What ensued on the brand’s Facebook page can literally be called a social media meltdown, IN ALL CAPS:  






Owners Samy and Amy Bouzaglo’s Facebook rant went on for hours, finally stopping after saying they have “God on their side”. We wonder how Christian it is to drop all those f-bombs in their feed. Some are calling this exchange to be the “most epic brand meltdown on Facebook ever”. The owners are now claiming their Facebook, Yelp, Twitter and website have been hacked and they are working with local authorities. This is obviously an extreme situation, but marketing managers can learn from it.

 So, what should you do when your company gets a less than stellar review?

1. Breathe.

Take a step back and think about your response instead of firing an emotional one back in minutes. Chances are if you go back and read your initial response after cooling off, you will tone it down

2. Take it personally.

We know it’s hard when someone says something negative about your business, which is like your baby. For founders and sole proprietors, it can even feel like a personal attack. But as much as you may hate it, the review is feedback. Use that feedback to improve your experience for the next customer and let the reviewer know if you’ve made any changes as a result of their feedback.

3. Be polite 

Keep your response simple, but polite. Anyone posting an online review is a vocal customer. So, if you respond in a condescending or disingenuous way, there’s a chance that reviewer could make the situation worse by posting your message all over the Internet. Case in point: Amy’s Baking Company. So, bite your tongue and thank your reviewer for the business and the feedback.

4. Don’t ignore.

The negative review is out there, so don’t pretend it’s not by ignoring it. In fact, by contacting the reviewer (most online review sites give you that option) and establishing a relationship, you can actually improve the situation and maybe even change their mind about your business. Customers want to know they are being heard. We’ve seen many a negative review amended after the reviewer was contacted by the business and accordingly, gave the business a second chance. 

5. Make sure your CAPS LOCK is off.

Writing in all CAPS online is the equivalent of shouting like a maniac at someone. 

If you need help managing your online content, social media or online reviews as part of your Content Marketing Strategy, reach out to us. We want businesses to succeed online, not go down in flames and become a social media mockery over an immature over reaction. 

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