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reputation-disasters-cases of Review Management Gone Wrong

Thanks to the popularity of sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Facebook, pretty much any local business today is vulnerable to receiving a bad online review.

That’s why smart marketers and business owners have added online review management to their strategies: to minimize the impact of negative comments left by customers, as well as to reinforce and leverage the positive ones in order to drive business performance.

Not everyone has bought into this, though. Some businesses still don’t know how to handle harsh reviews on Yelp or Google or TripAdvisor. And they react to the reviews in ways that damage their business reputation.

Here are some recent examples of such reputation disasters and cases of review management gone wrong:

Restaurateur calls customer an “ignorant, disgusting, miserable, lying filthy c*** pig” on Facebook 

You might have heard of this story a couple of months ago, when a restaurant-goer was surprised to find a (belated) response to the negative Facebook review she had left of Sunset Terrace a year before.

Brooke Lewis, who didn’t have the best dining experience at Sunset Terrace restaurant in Thousand Oaks, decided to review the business in July 2014 on Facebook. She was shocked to find a profanity-filled response to her review a year later.

Now, it would have been perfectly fine if the review response was one year late but contained a professional, polite, positive message. This, however, was none of those.

(DON’T MISS: “Managing Your Facebook Reviews: A Quick Guide for Local Business Owners”)

“Brookie, you are an Ignorant, Disgusting, Miserable, Lying Filthy C*** Pig!” reads the response, authored by a “Tyrone” and which has since been deleted.

“I feel so bad for your mother, having to feel responsible for such a Foul, Repugnant, Waste of Space just because it spilled from her schizophrenic vagina. As for your poor embattled boyfriend Erik, please, please, please have the common decency to kill yourself before you burden him with a half S*** child. The world will be a better place once you are no longer a part of it.”

review management

Ouch! Sunset Terrace has since apologized publicly for the profanity-laced tirade, but Brooke was not amused. “I can’t believe that he responded like that.” she told KABC.

“I’ll be watching you, little man” 

Meanwhile, at Ninja City Kitchen in Cleveland, a chef managed to track down a Yelper online so he could send a series of threatening messages, with a small plate of racism on the side.

Here’s an excerpt of the owner’s response to a customer named Ruchu.

“Have fun f****** an ugly Indian b**** behind your ugly Asian bitch’s back you p**** mother*****. Straight up through if I ever see you near my places of business, we are going to have a discussion,” wrote Chef Bac Nguyen of Ninja City Kitchen. “One day when you’re not living off mommy and daddy you’ll understand. You’re ugly and physically weak and your girlfriend is an ugly piece of s***.

“Trying to trash my business when you know we have mutual acquaintances and you who I am is tantamount to you f****** with me personally. So, I’ll be watching you little man. I will be watching you.”

“I’ll be watching you” could be lyrics from a Sting song, but we’re pretty sure that in this disastrous review management case, Chef Nguyen meant those words a lot less fondly. It’s worth noting that he has since publicly apologized for what he’d written, even offering a free meal to people who joined a boycott Ninja City Kitchen page on Facebook. 

Are you in charge of your organization’s review management strategy? Here are a few notes to consider when you’ve found that you received a harsh online review

  • Respond promptly. Don’t let the review sit there for a year. Potential customers might read that and make negative assumptions about your business.
  • Respond professionally. You might be able to turn the bad review around even if you wait a year to respond. But if you call the customer a “c*** pig”? You’re probably going to end up in the headlines, and for all the wrong reasons.
  • Respond politely. Keep it civil, No need for threats! The reactions of the business owners in the cases above are obviously of the extreme kind, but even something as subtle or passive-aggressive as “Don’t come back” or “Sorry you got offended” can cause severe damage to your business reputation. 

What’s the worst review you’ve ever gotten? And how did you respond? Share your story in the comment section below.

Migs Bassig

Migs is the Content Manager for ReviewTrackers. He's a creative writer who has helped numerous companies communicate more effectively online, and he loves sharing his local marketing knowledge to help brands and business succeed.

Discussion

  1. Nicole Burns

    This is a really nasty respond. And yet, a year later!? What was he thinking? Well I wouldn’t dine in that restaurant if I knew that stuff treats customers like that.

    Reply
  2. Richard Pascal

    You’ll never see some gigantic companies respond in that manner. For example: when have you seen Coca Cola responding to anti Coca Cola propaganda, or Mc Donald’s, Pepsi, whoever? Never? And why? Because they are professionals and they tend to keep that image of themselves. I don’t know any campaign against anybody like it’s been thrown against Coca Cola, and yet, not a single word from them. Not, inappropriate, not appropriate comments, nothing. Just keeping their own business and being loyal to customers. That makes them big. Behaving like a gentleman, not some crazy idiot. Restaurants, and other business’ who have responses like this example are going to stay small forever, or they might even get closed for that kind of behavior. What a shame!

    Reply
    • Gayle

      I’ve never seen anybody been so defensive in Coca Cola’s behalf. How much are they paying you to do so? Are you a troll, bot?

      Reply
      • B.Logan

        Man has got a point. Please! You can’t respond like those mentioned in the article if you tend to keep your business alive. Get real!

        Reply
      • H delacruz

        The man honestly admires good practices from Coca Cola, how come you don’t see it? lol

        Reply
      • John Dillon

        He has a point. Not everyone who speaks on behalf of Coca-Cola is paid to say so. And I agree with him, big companies usually don’t waste time on bad reviews, they invest their time in advertising.

        Reply
  3. Roshaun Philips

    I believe these insults should be handled by the lawsuit. I mean, really? Who dare’s to insults customers like that? Don’t they know that old saying that the customer is always right? If this was my case, I wouldn’t handle this coldblooded. No, sir, I would immediately call my lawyer and press charges against them.

    Reply
    • sasha_482

      As a matter of fact, I know there were couple of similar responses and they all got sued.

      Reply
  4. Fiona Wong

    I certainly wouldn’t eat at that restaurant anymore, if I were a regular customer. This is some garbage talk we’re seeing here. Even restaurants in Afghanistan, owned by Talibans, have more polite management.

    Reply
  5. Runs With Scissors

    I believe that manager was drunk or really mad when he wrote the review. Maybe it was some of the fired management stuff who still got the access to the review page. I mean, who in his sanity could wrote that? Not, even that, but he was browsing all through the year of 2014. That restaurant either didn’t have much reviews, or it was completely insane or angry manager.

    Reply
    • John Dillon

      Yup, it could be a fired staff member, because an angry response usually emerges when somebody is still angry and I don’t see how the management still could be angry a year after.

      Reply
  6. Fields of Clover

    I cannot believe what have I Just read! This sort of response is so unprofessional! OMG! How can you hire such lame review management?

    Reply
  7. Sammy J

    This is hilarious! This guy is mad lol! I would probably respond in the same manner. I have a bad temper when it comes to critique to my work.

    Reply
  8. newmediaist12

    This is really a great example of bad managing. You cannot expect to run your business like that and to have loyal customers.

    Reply
  9. F2Xsites

    This should be hanged on each review management wall as an example how NOT to respond to a comment.

    Reply
    • Lola Dee

      It seems like such basic common sense that you would not want to represent your company in such an unprofessional manner.
      Companies need to be more careful who they hire and who they allow to publicly represent them.

      Reply
  10. Bryan Jake T

    Great article. Where did you find this resource? Really great! Every company who has stuff manageable reviews and comments should take closer look to this. No one, but no one, should respond to comments like this. It’s rude, unprofessional, immature, and red neck.

    Reply
  11. melg

    Unbelievable! I’m truly shocked! What a childish response! Who on Earth does things like this? He must be really angry when responding like that.

    Reply
  12. PattyT12

    This is some angry owner!

    Reply
  13. Dandundun

    This is wrong on so many levels. First, it’s an insult for a human being, the second, it’s going to cut companies income, and the last but not the least, this manager has lost his job. What a irrational decision to write a respond like this.

    Reply
  14. Karen Garcia

    What? A bet the manager was drunk or on drugs while writing this?

    Reply
  15. Alan Alan

    How pissed of they were while writing these responses? I know that everybody have a limit, but these reviews? I really hope that the restaurants were shut down or at least they lost all of their customers.

    Reply
  16. Doyle

    This is disgrace. No one should even be given opportunity to respond like that. I think review sites should have some moderation and that they should forbid this insulting comments.

    Reply
  17. Tim Walters

    I’ll be watching you little man… lol what a freak!

    Reply
  18. EllaineR

    Their negative and unprofessional responses are far reaching. Not only have they hurt their reputation in front of those reading the reviews directly, but the reference to their business in this article makes those of us who might have missed the review now aware of their rudeness.

    Reply

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