There’s been a ton of talk, articles and blogs about how to respond to online reviews. But not too much on how to deal with Fruitcakes and Trolls.
A Fruitcake reviewer is someone who may have been a legitimate customer, but they might be just a bit loopy, or they might have had a few many tipples before they wrote the review. Nuts and Alcohol make the perfect recipe for fruitcake.
Trolls are people who have nothing better to do in life than to “troll”, roaming the internet in search of sustenance. Sustenance being riling people up and posting nasty untrue things about people and businesses online.
Don’t feed the trolls.
If a troll has posted a review on a major review site, Tripadvisor, Yelp and Google+ being the most important ones, you still have to pay attention to it. They will not remove the reviews. You must respond.
But don’t feed them. Don’t get upset, don’t get aggressive or give in to the temptation to be snarky.
One of the best ways I have seen to deal with Troll reviews is Apologize and then say, “We have looked through our records and can find no record of you being a customer. Please contact us so we can clear any issues up you think you might have had”.
The review response is not for the Troll, but for the thousands (literally) of future people who will see the review and the management response.
A fruitcake could also be someone just having a really bad hair day. I know I am more likely to leave a review if I have had a really horrid day and then had a really bad customer service experience. In my case, it has to be bad, but a lot of people have a smaller tipping point.
Regardless of whether your fruitcake reviewer is nuts, inebriated or just has their knickers in a twist, just like a troll, you still have to respond.
An again, it’s not so much for the reviewer, but for the many, many people reading the review and the management review response after the fact.
Most people are able to tell by reading a fruitcake review that the reviewer is quite possibly loopier then a loon, but you still have to address it. Especially in the case where it is a customer just having a really bad day, you want to try to keep and retain and bring that customer back.
I’ve heard people say, “Well we don’t want customers back like that.” Think first before you qualify that, you have a customer you don’t want back, fine. But how many people is that unhappy customer going to tell about their experience, if you don’t at least make an effort to address or remedy an issue?
One of the best responses when dealing with a fruitcake is: “This is the owner (or manager), we are sorry you had an unpleasant experience, please contact us so we can discuss any customer service problems or any other issues you might have had, Thank you.” Adding something like we are dedicated to being a customer service oriented company/business doesn’t hurt as well.
Don’t get defensive, don’t disagree with, or tell them they are wrong, don’t say they misunderstood or that they were mistaken. A fruitcake can easily turn into a troll, and a legitimate on edge customer can turn into an even angrier one, and a situation can evolve that’s even worse.
A loopier then a loon reviewer will generally let it go. The inebriated ones I have actually seen generally apologize to the business and will remove the review. The bad hair day customers you have the opportunity to turn them back into a “just from the salon” customer or at least prevent them from telling everyone under the sun what an awful business they “think” you have.
And again remember, the primary aim of responding to trolls and fruitcakes is not for them, but for all the other potential future customers reading your reviews and your responses.
If there is a mention of any type of injury (including food poisoning) do not make any mention of it in your review response. In this sue happy society, any mention of such, truth or not, can be used as an example of guilt.
Never make any mention of any kind of reimbursement or restitution for an issue, that is to be settled privately (if they are a legitimate customer) and posting of such information solicits trolls and additional fruitcakes in the hopes of “getting some”.
Suggested reading: The Art of Responding to review sites for restaurants and lodging.
The hardest thing a restaurant or lodging facility has to deal with is responding to online reviews. Yes reviews should be responded to, be they positive, negative or blasé. Most businesses find the hardest thing is writing a response to a negative review and not getting defensive about it. read more……………