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Restaurant owners get a chance to respond quickly to bad reviews with new app

Tuesday, 14 October 2014 | By Kye White

Negative reviews have been around just about as long as the internet itself. Now Brisbane-based startup SayBack is giving businesses the tools to monitor what’s been said about them online, and respond before too much damage is done to their brands.


The platform, aimed primarily at restaurant and café owners, monitors reviews on a number of popular review websites like Trip Advisor, Yelp and Google+. When a negative review is posted about a user’s business, they are notified via text message, giving them a chance to respond quickly.


SayBack launched about a month ago, and has between 30 and 35 businesses signed up to the service. Founder Kumar Lang, a restaurant owner himself who has bootstrapped the startup, came up with the idea for the platform after finding a negative review posted about his own business.


“I only realised about a week later. During that one week, we don’t know how many people would have looked at the review,” he says.


“If I was able to respond quickly and help take care of my customer’s needs, hopefully I can win back the client, and perhaps we can turn a negative into a positive review.”


Similar services are offered by individual platforms like Trip Advisor, but Lang says he couldn’t find a service which watched over all the popular restaurant review sites.


“The problem with Trip Advisor was it doesn’t notify you when there’s a bad review on Menu Log, a bad review on True Local, a bad review on Yelp,” Lang says.


In addition to the notification service, SayBack also offers an online brand manager option, which essentially outsources the businesses responses to those reviews.


“It’s not about deleting negative online reviews, but it’s about educating people about those negative reviews,” he says.


“I’ve spoken to business owners. The reason they don’t want to respond themselves is because the business is very emotional for them. The way the respond is not always professional. So having some other people that are online reputation managers and can potentially respond on behalf of the business is valuable.”


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