SAN ANTONIO -- The next time you jump on your phone or computer and leave an online review about a company, you might get a phone call or email from the business asking you to take it down.
Eric Winick left a mixed online review for a restaurant recently. He raved about the food. But with a fidgety 2-year-old in tow, he was frustrated dinner took an hour to be served.
"I said in the review that they had taken a ridiculously long time to bring the food," Eric said.
Eric was surprised to get a email from the restaurant's owner asking him to take it down. He's not alone, more and more businesses across the country are reaching out to customers concerning online reviews.
"A single person can now go home and get on Facebook and tell 500 or 1000 people what they think of your restaurant," explained social media expert Patrick O'Malley.
The impact is immense. A Harvard study found that a one-star increase on a popular rating site like Yelp can translate into as much as a 9-percent bump in revenue for an independent restaurant. Businesses like FreshDiet.com and Urban Spoon both agree online customer reviews have changed the way restaurants do business.
"For a small business, their business is an extension of who they are," said Kara Nortman of Urban Spoon. "There's a real emotional connection to that."
In Eric's case, he responded back to the restaurant and said he wasn't removing his review. The business ended up apologizing for reaching out, but in the end did not offer any incentive for Eric to come back and give them another shot.
"I thought it was a waste of time, frankly, on the part of the restaurant to do that," added Eric.
Urban Spoon says while it depends on customer reviews to operate, consumers should remember that businesses do make mistakes sometimes. So if a company reaches out to you to make amends, it may be worth giving them a second chance.