Use a bad review for your own benefit
"But what if I get a bad review?" I hear this from so many clients. Of course my first thought is, you shouldn't be getting too many bad reviews if you are doing everything to try to keep your customers happy. Makes sense right?
We all have that one friend, of 5 of them that generally doesn't ever say anything. The waiter got their meal wrong, they eat it anyway. Their luggage was lost, not a word. We all know people that don't make a peep even when something is wrong, and we know people that only passively respond to something wrong. Most people do not care for confrontation, they avoid it, so to speak up about something wrong would make them feel bad. That haircut that looks like its lopsided, they wont say anything to get it fixed, they will just never go back.
Then you have those people that talk all the time. If their food is cold, you know it, if the service is bad, they say it, if the product has flaws, its all over social media. You can hate these people, but instead, welcome their comments and turn a negative response into something good.
Most importantly: Respond, without emotion. Calm, cool and collected!
We have seen companies do this effectively (see how Wendy's and Burger King square off on social media), they have used the strife of consumers as a hilarious social media war, they have used complaints to their advantage. While this won't work for everyone, the point is, you can turn things around.
Food bad, someone complains? Offer them a free meal to make it up to them, you'll look like the hero even if they don't take you up on it.
Bad product, offer a replacement or refund, solve it.
Bad service, if its unusual, explain why, respond, see if you can correct the issue.
For every person that complains there are many others that do not and silently just never give you a second chance. Business falling off... it could be that your customers don't care for something and would never say it, they just head down the street to the competition and you never hear from them again.
If your restaurant is serving cold food? Maybe you need to streamline ordering, add another server or runner to your peak hours. If your service is bad, you may need to address the staff about it.
Turn any negative review into something that can benefit your business: more training, improved products, streamlined services etc... you have been given a powerful tool - a review.
Don't fear your reviews, if they become a huge burden, it may be time to address the issues at the core.