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Let's be honest. No one likes negative reviews. And while Estaban Kolsky of ThinkJar, says that 13% of dissatisfied customers will tell 15 or more people, negative online reviews can be even more damaging—and have a more lasting impact than word-of-mouth.

Escape room players leave negative reviews for a variety of reasons—some might not finish the game, others might find broken game pieces and still others might not find the room ready on time. But whatever the reason for a subpar review, you can improve the customer's experience by replying to the review.

Here are a few of our favorite ways to reply to reviews:

Tough first impression? Ask for a second chance.

No one said that playing an escape room is supposed to be easy. Many players will not finish the game in the time allowed. If the game is too hard, players can leave with a bruised ego, while if the game is too easy, players can feel like they didn't get the best experience. It's a delicate balance to achieve. 

As a first time player, Kenny didn't know what to expect, but he describes in detail how the room master flat-out told his team the answers, leaving Kenny and his friends with a negative first-time gaming experience. Kai, the owner of X-Room Real Life Escape Room, responds to Kenny with an honest apology for his subpar experience and asks him to come back and give them another shot.

We love this because Kai honestly expresses his own disappointment with Kenny's experience. He even goes one step further by asking Kenny what day he came in—letting Kenny know that he will do more research on what went wrong. 

No one's perfect. Ask why only 4/5 stars.

One way to gain valuable feedback from your customers is to ask for more feedback on why they didn't give your business a perfect rating.

Jamie, an avid Yelp reviewer, gave Adventure Vault 4/5 stars on Yelp. Everything is positive in her review, so it's hard to tell why she gave the business only four stars. So, the owner did the easiest thing—asked her. This kind of interaction shows that the owner is actively reading reviews and is open to feedback on how to improve. 

Create return bookings by thanking positive reviewers. 

Big Sky Breakout does a great job of thanking their positive reviewers. They have 35 reviews, all 5-stars, on their Facebook page and they have thanked almost every one. Big Sky Breakout makes a point of not only thanking their reviewers but also inviting them back. What a great way to engage directly with their customers and create return bookings. Love it!

Responding to reviews, negative or positive, is a great way to improve your customer's experience and help gain return bookings. Remember, today's reviewers can lead to tomorrow's bookings. 

Looking for more insight on how to increase positive reviews and respond to negative ones? Check out our Slideshare, The Map to Positive Reviews for Your Escape Room Business.