‘I am happy that you found my wife friendly…I rarely see that side of her! Maybe that is why we earned two stars instead of one!’
Gossip magazine you ask? Quote pulled from a soap opera? Guess again!
We found this delightful comment on TripAdvisor, and — wait for it — it was written by an owner responding to a negative review. Obviously he didn’t read our guide about how managers and owners should respond to such reviews. And neither did the rest of the folks featured below.
While they might not be getting any new business with their responses, they were lucky enough to make it into our TripAdvisor Response Hall of Infamy. (Spoiler alert: The rest of Husband Dearest’s soliloquy made the cut.)
1. The ‘just plain rude!’
If you do anything in the tourism industry, you’ve probably come across one (or a hundred) rude customers: they kick, they scream, they love to complain. As a manager, how do you deal with these unpleasant human beings? How do you respond to a bit of negative feedback? If you are like most, you probably paste on your brightest smile and deal with it. Or, when it comes to a negative TripAdvisor review, you write a pleasant response that addresses the issue appropriately. Unfortunately, some people feel a bit differently.
When The Georgian House received a scathing review about their dirty, noisy, and poorly maintained guesthouse, management responded with two curt phrases completely void of sympathy. The second was even a nice kick below the belt.
2. The Blame Reversal Response
Whether you own a tour business or a small B&B, something is likely to go awry, especially if you’ve been in business for over twenty years. It is statistically impossible to get everything right 100% of the time.
Unfortunately, the owner of this company seems to think otherwise. He didn’t even entertain the idea that the reviewer might just be right about the tour guide’s late arrival. Although it is possible that the guest may have been a bit confused, it didn’t warrant such a heated response.
As a general rule, it is never a good idea to use phrases such as ‘it is outrageous of you to write’ or ‘it is a great shame for you attack our company’ when responding to a review. Nor should you ever say that the customer ‘must have been in the wrong place’ or have gone ‘at the wrong time’.
3. The ‘sorry not sorry’
At first, the manager of this business got it right by letting the reviewer know that she ‘read with a lot of attention’…but unfortunately, that’s about all she got right. Similar to Mr. Blame-It-On-You’s response above, this manager truly believes that because her business is so successful, they could never make a mistake. It just ‘is not logical.’ And then there’s the backpedaling in the end. An apology usually would be good, right? Well, yes, unless you back it up with an excuse. Apologies are good enough as is. Let them be.
4. The ‘kill them with irony’
A couple decided to go on a trip of a lifetime to the Big Apple, New York City. After rushing to make the tour, the guides were — yep, you guessed it — a no-show. And hey, it happens! People can understand if you a) apologize and validate their feelings, b) provide a reason, and c) provide a solution.
That being said, responding with a snarky comment and sarcastic apology is sure not to get you sympathy from the reviewer. Or their friends. Or anyone else reading your response. After this review, this tour business probably started having more things hurting than the manager’s reattached lip.
5. The Just Plain Absurd
A boutique hotel in Scotland is bound to exude a welcoming charm…right? Unfortunately, when entering this particular hotel, the couple was greeted with a cramped room, dysfunctional bed, and painfully loud toilet. It’s no surprise that the guests left this company a bad review. What was a surprise though was the owner’s response (you guessed it…this is our friend from the very beginning of the post).
While the owner clearly put a lot of thought and effort into his response, he just got everything wrong while doing so. Horribly, terribly wrong. It’s pretty cringe-worthy.
With more than 375 million unique visitors a month, we really can’t stress how much TripAdvisor can make or break your business. Whether you are the owner of a hostel or running a tour, it is vital that you respond to every single review. You’ll probably get a lot of good ones. In which case, keep them informal, short, and personal.
If you happen to get some bad reviews, remember to follow our guidelines about how to respond. If you find yourself sailing into a sea of irony and absurdity, it’s time to abort the mission, put your emotions aside, and follow Aaliyah’s musical wisdom: ‘If at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again.’
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