Look Before You…Yelp

Yelp can be a great resource for finding and vetting new services and businesses, but it can also be treacherous for business owners. It’s all too easy for a consumer to go online and leave a bad review after one negative experience, without giving the establishment a chance to make things right first.

My husband recently took some clients out to dinner at a nearby restaurant that we have frequented several times before. The quality of both the service and the food were always up to our standards. However, on this particular evening, the service was remarkably slow. Knowing that slow service was an aberration rather than the norm for this restaurant, my husband contacted the manager directly instead of taking the problem to Yelp.

He sent an email to the manager, speaking as one business professional to another, describing the quality of the service he received on the night in question. Essentially, he said, “Look, I wanted to let you know about this because ordinarily your restaurant is great, but things were off this night and it made a poor impression on my clients.” The manager was apologetic and grateful for the feedback, and responded by sending my husband a gift card to cover the cost of the dinner in question. His response was classy and ensures that we will continue to visit the restaurant. If, on the other hand, my husband had not received a response, or the manager had responded in a way that was rude or defensive, those complaints would likely have ended up on Yelp.

In any line of work, mistakes will be made; it’s how those mistakes are handled that counts.

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