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Good, Bad & Ugly Online Reviews

Battlefield Sports Blog 

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About How to Respond to Online Reviews. The Good, Bad & Ugly


Nowadays comments and reviews on social media are just a tap away. With so many review sites, blogs, and socials it is easy for your customers to give you feedback.

Happy customers can be your brand champions. Cranky customers are more likely to vent online. But a disgruntled former employee or a competitor with a vendetta can derail your online business reputation. 

product review

Online Reviews are Vital. Here's Why.

  • Google Factors In Online Reviews to calculate an average rating for your business. The more positive reviews you have, the higher your star rating will be. If you only have a small number of reviews then just one negative review can have a big impact on your overall score. According to SEO company, Moz review quantity and recency are also page ranking factors.
  • People consider online reviews when making choices. Many customers choose to book a restaurant based on good reviews and avoid them if the business has bad reviews. Not surprisingly good reviews can mean more sales.
  • Recent reviews carry more weight. Search Engine Land discovered that 69% of consumers think reviews more than 3 months old are no longer relevant.

Monitor & Respond To Reviews

Good customer reviews—on Google, Yelp, Facebook, TripAdvisor, or wherever are powerful social proof. Peer recommendations indicate good value to your prospective customers. So it is important to acknowledge them.

Roger Yu, from USA Today, says, "While it may be tempting for small-business owners to shrug off a few lousy reviews, industry research shows benign neglect of a company's online reputation could quickly hurt sales — especially given the new normal behavior of customers consulting their smartphones for even the smallest of purchases.”

According to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, a dissatisfied customer will tell between 9 to 15 people about their experience. But with online reviews, one customer can equate to hundreds of views over time.

Make It Easy

Put a poster at your registration desk with a QR code that takes customers to a landing spot for their reviews.

If you send out a follow-up email or text message after an event include an invitation for your customers to review their experience.

Or if someone has made a booking with your Battlefield Business then afterwards, send them a follow-up email thanking them for their booking. In this message include a request asking them for a review. The review link should point them to the exact place you want them to leave their online review. Don't give them too many links, just choose one such as Facebook and Google Maps. I would recommend Google Maps because if the customer checks in to your venue while they are on Facebook, Facebook can ask you whether or not you would recommend the place.

What Not To Do With Bad or Ugly Reviews 

You've worked hard on your business to get where it is today. So if a customer gives you negative feedback it is hard.

But if you issue a kneejerk reaction online that comment can amplify the negativity.

A Welsh caravan park owner's reaction made the news after replying to a negative TripAdvisor review in the character of a Nazi SS Guard. Someone known online as but2n22018 complained about the holiday park. The guest compared the site to a concentration camp and said it felt like they were 'constantly being watched by a warden'. The park's owner John Brooksaw replied, in German, "[our] concentration camp... is one of the best in North Wales" and also referred to his staff as "armed guards with bad dogs.”

The review and Brookshaw's response have been deleted from the TripAdvisor website, but not before a backlash from the Jewish community.

How To Address Bad Reviews

Try as you might, you can't please all the people all of the time.

Here's how to deal with a bad review:

  1. Don't Panic. Don't post an impulsive reply that's super defensive, profusely apologizing, or very angry.
  2. Take a little time to analyze the feedback. It is a genuine issue?
  3. Acknowledge. It is important to acknowledge and respond to reviews be they a 1-star or a 5-star. My rule of thumb is if they have just put a star 4 or 5 reviews with no comment, I like or "thumbs up" it. If they have written a comment, I reply with a comment.
  4. Resolve. If the customer does have a real issue invite them to call you (or call them if you have their number) to see if you can get this issue sorted.

How To Deal With Fake Reviews

Fake reviews, unfortunately, have been part of the online world.

We got a 2-star review this year on our Facebook page. The reviewer said:

"Absolute c**p. I can’t believe I was banned from melee attacks. Nowhere does it say I can’t use them in combat. Won’t be coming back. Very unhappy."

My reply:

"Hi Angus, we are a rental service. So you play at your place with your house rules. Perhaps you are getting us confused with a laser tag arena?"

We got a 1-star review from the same person across several of our venues on Google Maps.

The reviewer said:

"About a year ago was the First time I took my kids there they loved it, the staff was great and they made it so much fun for the kids, especially one of them whose name started with either a J or a G, Joker? Maybe? I think it was his call sign or something. Anyway, he was great with the kids and the kids loved him. The second and third time we went, the staff were different and they were so rude and just didn’t seem to care about whether the kids were having fun or not. The kids hated it and we will never be going back again. I would highly recommend taking your kids to a different place for a birthday party."

Here's my reply:

"Hi Sandy, sorry to hear that your experience wasn't perfect. I am keen to investigate to find out how we can improve our service to guests who come and have some fun at Laser Skirmish. I checked our database and couldn't see your name in it. Can you let me know the dates of your recent birthday parties so we can see who was rostered on those times? Since I don't have your phone number, can you please us a call at the office on 1300666559 the bookings office is open Monday to Friday, 9 am - 5 pm. At Laser Skirmish we believe in creating a birthday party they'll never forget so we are keen to constantly improve."

Responding to a bad review (even if you know it is bogus or fake) shows your future prospects that how you respond to a real customer complaint.

For fake reviews, you can ask Google or Facebook to flag it as inappropriate. Stay on top of your reviews, always flag and report fake reviews, and have a review policy in place. (Mind you, in my experience, these social media giants never respond.)

Don’t let spammers and trolls get the best of you with fake reviews. If you do get a couple of fake reviews, double down on your best efforts to encourage your real customers to give you authentic feedback.

It's Not All Doom & Gloom

Encourage your customers to post about their positive experiences, just like Elise did.

The 5-star reviewer said:

"We loved our Laser Tag party. The easiest party I have done for a group of 15 children. They had so much fun, I highly recommend it!"

And we replied:

"Hi Elise, so glad to hear that your crew loves your laser tag party."

Another 5-star reviewer said:

"Had a 22nd birthday party here. We had a great time and the staff running it was really friendly. Good venue too but it works you hard with all the running."

So we replied:

"HI Leia, thank you for giving us your feedback. So glad to hear that you and your friends had a great time."

good, bad & ugly online reviews

Online Reviews as Social Proof

Many customers research online reviews before booking a battlefield business. 

Including authentic reviews on your website can help boost your online credibility.

If you can screen-snap the review and include it as an image this can be more valuable.

More valuable than you simply including a typed sentence from one of your customers (But if this is all you have, then of course include it!)

The review here from Google Business Profile is a good example.

The reviewer is acknowledged as a "Local Guide" by Google. She has a profile photo and has offered at least 9 reviews and included 61 photos. All this gives the review more authority.

online review example


Online reviews are a fact of life in today's business world. While occasionally you are going to have to deal with a fake review, I've found that most people are genuine.

If one of your customers does take the time to review your business, it is only fair that you acknowledge their feedback - good, bad, or ugly!

Let us know how you have handled the good, the bad, and the ugly reviews. How have you handled them?

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