Ian Shapiro, director of review expert business Pramaze Reputation Management, outlined exactly how and why operators should engage with customers who leave feedback.
He said: “Every review needs to be responded to, whether good, bad or indifferent. With the negative ones, you should state the facts, stay professional and try to take it offline.
“Give them a way to contact you personally by phone or email and get them to ask for the manager by name, if possible.
“The last thing you want is a rant from both sides. If you act professionally then customers will see that.”
By responding in the right way, possible bitter tastes can be reversed when reviews aren’t entirely positive.
Shapiro added: “Even a negative review can be a positive one if you respond in the right way but you also should respond to positive reviews as well because it shows you’re thanking customers for giving their time to give a review in the first place.”
Pubs should ensure their reviews are dealt with properly as customers will look at these types of sites before visiting, Shapiro claimed.
He said: “[Reviews] are what people search for when they are looking for somewhere to go. If you respond to reviews well, it will only do you favours.
“Make your response more personal than ‘thanks for the five-star review’ so it doesn’t make it seem like a copy-and-paste response. Mention what they said and even mentioning their name is a good thing.”
But the reviews left need to be consistent and plentiful in order for possible customers to consider visiting a venue, according to Shapiro.
He added: “Customers need to read an average of 10 reviews before they feel able to trust the reviews on a page.
“[For operators] to have these reviews coming in consistently and for them to be high value (four or five star) will lead to more customers coming in and a better reputation.
“[Reviews] influence a lot of people, upwards of 90% of them will read reviews before going anywhere.”