Before I start my responses to this week’s assignment, I’d like to reference an article I found on a Yelp conversation between a restaurateur and a customer. If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend you take a moment and read:

Restaurateur Pens Epic Takedown of Entitled Yelper.

My response to this week’s assignment would be based on a mix of learnings from the semester including the social media moderation discussed in this week’s lecture and reading:

  • Have a timely response
  • Demonstrate that you are listening
  • Be positive
  • Take ownership of the issue
  • Show that you are taking action and
  • Reward good behavior… compliment and thank you…
  • Acknowledge points which are funny or move a debate on…
  • Moderation can mean sharing or responding…
  • Don’t respond in anger
  • Admit if you are wrong
  • Remove indecent / obscene messages (or block / report)
  • Refer up if it’s too much
  • Follow-up

With these in mind, below are my responses:

Customer communication to a hotel: “I am disgusted about the state of your restaurant on 1467 Justin Kings Way. Empty tables weren’t cleared and full of remains of meals. It makes me wonder what the state of your kitchen is?!!! Gross.”

My response: (made within 5 hours of initial response).

(Insert username),

Thank you so much for bringing this situation to our attention. I sincerely apologize that your dining experience did not meet your expectations. I know you have your choice of where you spend your hard-earned money, and that you when you chose our restaurant, you expected to have a rewarding dining experience.

We take our patrons’ dining experience seriously, and I want you to know we are looking into this matter and will are reviewing where the breakdown occurred. To help us, I would like to learn more about your specific experience and ensure this doesn’t happen again.

While it might not matter, I did want to share that the public health department inspected our restaurant and gave us an A+ rating from their bi-annual 2015 review. You can find that report on Food Safety News Web site and learn about their grading system, as well as the criteria it takes to an A+ rating.

Again, I’m extremely sorry that you came away with a different experience. I’d like to personally invite you back for a dinner on me and see what a true dining experience would be at our restaurant. Please contact me at or call me at 987-654-3210.

Two weeks later.

(Insert username),

Hope this post finds you well. I just wanted to follow-up and let you know we’ve looked into the matter and retrained our table service staff. We’ve installed a mandatory quarterly customer service seminar and have voluntarily asked the public health department to come back for an additional inspection on January 30, 2015 and we again scored an A+ rating.

If you’re ever in the neighbor, I hope you consider stopping by. If you need anything, please contact me at or call me at 987-654-3210.

To a mainstream news network: “Your reporting on the Middle East is biased in the extreme. You gave almost all your air time to spokespeople for the Israelis last night and there was no right to reply for the Palestinians. The conflict upsets me so much and your reporting of it, saddens me even more and makes me f**king furious.” (Let us assume the reporting was balanced, with equal time to both sides.)


(Insert username),

Thank you for your feedback on our Middle East broadcast. I’m sorry you felt that the air time was slanted in favor of one side of this topic. On behalf of mainstream news network, I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts on this content and appreciate you joining the debate.

I also wanted to share our website terms and conditions <link would be inserted>, and let you know that we had to remove your post due to language that some of our readers viewers may find offensive.

To ensure we offer unbiased news reporting, mainstream news network has an established a strong code of ethics <link would be inserted>. I’d also like to invite you to a follow-up question and answer teleconference. To ensure we have equal timing, we’ll dedicate two, one hour call-in programs where both sides will each have time to ask questions by two University of America professors who specialize in Israeli – Palestinian studies.

How would you score/ rank my moderation of my two scenarios? Were there any elements I could have implemented or a different direction I should have taken?

Do you agree with my deletion of content in my second scenario? Would you have kept the blog post?

In my first scenario response, I offered free food to accommodate a “poor experience” is that sustainable? What are alternative ways to ensure you are protecting your business from potential scams?

About Frank Clouser

I'm currently the Senior Corporate Relations Manager for Allstate Insurance's Northwest Region. I lead the regional corporate relations department responsible for reputation management, strategic communications, media relations, issues management, community relations and employee communications in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Alaska and Hawaii. I manage integrated communications that drive outcomes aimed at increasing engagement, strengthen brand reputation and increase consumer consideration of Allstate. I also proactively manage emerging and existing issues that may have an impact on overall business performance and Allstate's reputation. Provide strategic counsel to Field Senior Vice President and regional partners as a member of the region's senior leadership team.

4 responses to “Moderation”

  1. annmarie hoyt says :

    Hi, Frank! Thank you for the very detailed and insightful response I am getting used to seeing from you. I always enjoy reading your posts! I am familiar with the epic response but the KS restaurateur. While it’s a great example of knowing who you are as a business, their behavior with the customer could have easily backfired. I think making a statement like theirs in response to the bad review was very risky, but they obviously know their clientele, and it ended up being a big win for them.

    A couple of things that really stood out to me were your inclusion of recognizing something funny when moderating. I think this is something we all too often don’t acknowledge as a great moderation tool. Maybe it’s because not all of us social media managers find ourselves funny. I am continually impressed with managers who are able to banter in a positive and funny way with their users. While, some people have told me I’m funny in person, that is definitely not my strength as a SMM.

    In your example of moderating the restaurant comment, I noticed you included comments highlighting your high kitchen standards and link to a report confirming that. I, actually, considered doing this, too, but thought it made my comments a bit too long. While I felt it was an important point in the negative review to counter, I also wasn’t sure if doing so would put the reviewer on the defensive, rather than have them relieved that the kitchen was, indeed, safe and clean.

    What do you think? Do you think there’s a good word limit to stay within when responding to a review on social media, or is it more important to answer everything fully?


    • annmarie hoyt says :

      And in my excitement to share my thoughts, I didn’t actually answer any of your posed questions, so I’ll do that now!

      I wouldn’t want to score you, as you asked, because I believe that moderation is such a subjective thing. Based on your list in your own blog, though, you would get a 10 out of 10, but I think you get my point.

      I don’t think offering free meals is unsustainable, if it’s only done in extreme cases. Think about it, have you ever had a meal comped while you’re at a restaurant after they’ve made a mistake? I have. I also know that offering a meal voucher does not guarantee it’ll be used. Just think about the free coupons or vouchers you’ve had that you haven’t used, and the gift cards left untouched in the drawer. I think offering the free meal gives goodwill both to the user who made the comment and to those who see the followup (provided it’s done in public and not within a private message).

      As for deleting the second post, I would not have done it. As was discussed in this week’s material, social spaces is not a place to put forth our own personal values and behaviors as we moderate comments. I talk about this more on my blog post (, but I think the nature of the way the profanity is used, is not threatening. It it were, I’d be more likely to delete it.


      • Frank Clouser says :


        Thanks for your second set of comments. No worries! 🙂 Nice point about moderation being subjective. I agree with you about the free meals and sustainability and extreme causes, but like you said it’s building up a good will reservoir. I’ve highlighted Alaska Airlines a few times in previous posts and their tactics again apply here. I had a 3 hour layover last week in Salt Lake City, not only did they give me a $100 credit, but they also provided free wine and beer for all passengers on the flight.

        I debated deleting the second post, but wanted to try it and see if I was the only one in the class who would and what the fallout would be. While I agree it wasn’t life-threatening, but set up the situation that it violated our terms, so I wanted to be strict about it. Maybe my fake TV station should update the terms.


    • Frank Clouser says :


      Thanks for your comments. I thought the KS restaurant’s response was interesting, but you’re right – it could have ended badly. While it could be funny to some, it could come across as arrogant and could elicit more negative responses.

      Great minds about the kitchen standards! I wanted to include 3rd party validation. I’m glad you brought up the length – that was a concern of mine as well, but thought I’d include as much as possible. For me – giving the details and full response was more important than length. What do you think too much?


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