How NOT to Respond to Reviews

We thoroughly enjoyed this article from Leeds Live who recently ran a story about a Chinese takeaway and their responses to reviews. Here’s the article!

Leeds Chinese takeaway goes viral for brilliantly savage responses to customer reviews

 

The Oriental Express holds a five-star rating on Just Eat for its Chinese food, but the takeaway could also claim the accolade for the most amusing responses to reviews.

Business owner, Alice Cheung, 50, who tries to reply to the majority of reviews “personally,” pulls no punches when it comes to responding to some of the “sillier” reviews.

While most of the 148 reviews on the website praise the Pudsey takeaway for its “lovely hot and fresh” Chinese food – the few that have been more critical have faced the wrath of the restaurant.

Speaking to Leeds Live, Alice said: “[Negative] reviews tend to put business owners down and demotivate them, I want to be realistic!

“I think review [responses] should be honest and not corporate responses.

“People need to know the truth especially other people reading reviews!”

She added that she tries to give “honest truthful answers” to sometimes “silly comments” all while bringing “banter to the platform”.

And some customers have even shared some of the more amusing review responses on social media.

One review that had claimed the food had been “terrible”, was met with a scathing response from the restaurant.

The response read: “You ordered a Vegetarian Munch Box and then called the shop to complain there was no MEAT in it.

“We sent what you ordered and there was nothing wrong with it. The bad review is to cover your error.”

The response then listed out all the items that had been included in the box, before adding: “Please do not call again.”

Another reviewer moaned that their dish had been “totally ruined” by battered prawns that had been mixed in with their chicken dish.

In response, the restaurant wrote: “Will you please open your eyes and read the descriptions, you ordered the ‘Special sweet and sour’ which contains king prawns.

“You got what you ordered so how is this our fault.

“The food was fresh and perfectly cooked. We are good but mind reading the stupid is not one of our skills.”

In reply to another person claiming their delivery had been “45 minutes late”, the restaurant said: “For the one-millionth time stop exaggerating, 10 minutes max if it was late and I very much doubt it was”.

In response to another person who questioned why the restaurant hadn’t adjusted its estimated delivery time on a Saturday night, the reply said: “We looked into our crystal ball but it gave no indication as to just how many orders the public were going to place on Saturday night between 5 and 9pm”.

Putting “banter aside”, Alice said the restaurant endeavours to provide the “highest quality meals” and “takes food very seriously.”

She said: “We’re happy with our customers and have regulars who are always happy with our meals.

“95 per cent are positive reviews the other 5 per cent are sometimes our own fault for not delivering fast enough, or you can’t please everyone.

“Everyone has different tastes so no one can be perfect.”

Alice added: “If you’re writing a review just be honest about the situation.

“If we messed up, we’ll reply seriously if not expect some banter.”

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As amusing and readable as this article is, it does raise an important question about what we should avoid when it comes to responding to reviews. Here are our top tips of what NOT to do!

  1. Don’t ignore a review… EVER! Good or bad ALWAYS respond to reviews. The world will think far better of you for responding, we promise!
  2. Don’t delay. Respond to your reviews in a timely manner (we recommend within 24 hours of the review being left if possible). It’s great for your business and has been proven to convert browsers into customers far better than reviews that have not had a response.
  3. Don’t be rude or aggressive. When responding do so in a positive and diplomatic manner. The absolute last thing you want to do is get involved in an online ‘heated debate’ (as Mrs Merton used to say). Ultimately, no-one wins and you’ll run the risk of looking silly, or worse, rude and ill-informed.
  4. Don’t sound inauthentic. Our advice is to keep your responses short and sweet and always ensure they sound genuine and sincere. Long, gushing responses run the very real risk of sounding sycophantic and that’s as damaging, in our eyes, as being plain rude and disrespectful (even if you do actually mean what you write). Find your response tone and stick to it! For more on tone read our blog “Which Tone is best to Use When Asking Customers to Leave a Review for You?

 

Remember, responding to reviews is not only a great opportunity to engage with your customers, but research shows that responding to reviews has a positive impact on your business. A study by Harvard Business School found that responding to reviews directly correlated with a higher star rating. Responding to reviews also helps you rank higher on search engines with Google confirming that when you regularly respond to your customers’ reviews it also helps with SEO.

Phew! It seems that a simple ‘thank you’ can go an awfully long way!

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