If there’s one thing collectively that all business owners, large and small alike can agree on, it’s that they dread getting a bad review. Bad reviews can have the potential to ruin that 5-star average you had going for you, and seeing as Google takes reviews into account when it comes to providing users with local search results, those reviews do matter.
It’s not a secret that around 84% of consumers trust online reviews the same way that they would a recommendation from a friend or a family member, and if you’re in two minds about purchasing a product from a few businesses, a deciding factor can often be the deciding factor. So, what do you do if you receive a bad Google review? Do you throw the towel in right then and there? Do you prepare for a fall in revenue and sales? No, not if you’re equipped to deal with them in the right way and that’s where we step in.
We’re here to show you how to deal with negative and fraudulent reviews in a way which won’t hurt your business or reputation, here are 5 helpful ways to deal with bad reviews.
How to Deal with Negative Google Reviews
Tip 1 – Don’t Panic or Let Your Emotions Get the Better of You
Letting your emotions get the better of you or panicking in this situation will do you no good; instead, you need to keep a cool head about this, no matter how frustrating it can be. Nearly all of business owners will have received a poor review from a disgruntled customer and no matter if you've poured your blood, sweat and tears into your business, the probability is, is that at some point or the other you will too.
Instead of keyboard bashing out a scathing response to the reviewer, or worrying about the impact on your business, hold back and try to evaluate the situation. Check the client's name and claim against your database or phone records and see whether their claim holds any weight or not, once you've done this, you're ready to proceed onto the next step.
Tip 2 – Act Quickly
Whether the reviewers claim is backed up by the information on your database or not, your next step is to react quickly and respond to the review within 24 hours of the review being made. Ideally, you should be checking the reviews of your page every day or every other day to ensure you spot bad reviews as soon as they're posted. The longer you leave the review without addressing the issue suggests to other customers that you don't take your customer service duties very seriously and therefore appear as an unreputable company.
Instead, reply regardless to something along the lines of:
Hi [Customer Name]
We are sorry to hear that you had a bad experience with us/one of our products.
Would you mind getting in touch with us at [Your email address] here so we can sort out your problem for you and assure that it doesn’t happen in the future.
Apologies once again,
[Your Name] [Your position at the company]
If you can’t match the claim or the customer to any information in your database, or the claim that they’ve made about your business doesn’t add up, it is still important that you respond the customer and then report the review. You’ll want to ensure you still respond to the review even after reporting it as chances are that Google won’t get around to removing the fraudulent review for a while and even though the review holds no weight with you, your potential customers don’t know that, so in order to portray yourself in the best light, ensure that you respond to every review.
Tip 3 – Check to See if the Review is Against Google’s Policy
But before you do go ahead and report that review, ensure that it is in fact against Google’s policy first, as unfortunately a poor review of your business doesn’t give you grounds to have the review removed.
If the review someone has left has or can potentially be classed as slander and is affecting your business, that is also grounds for taking legal action against the review and the reviewer. However, this is rather serious and should be carefully considered, and your solicitor should be consulted before you proceed with a legal removal request.
Tip 4 – Go Out of Your Way to Put Things Right
If a customer that left a poor review of your business had an inferior or substandard experience of your business, then, unfortunately, you cannot dispute that. However, you can actively take steps to ensure that you seek to resolve the issue and make it up to the customer. Take it into account that there may be a lot of different factors why a customer had a bad experience which caused them to leave a review, whether they were just having a bad day or whether a member of staff behaved rudely. Take the appropriate action to ensure the customer and future customers that this will never happen again and attempt to make it up to them by offering a gift card or a peace offering. Who knows, once you've resolved the dispute, the customer could decide to change their initial review and believe us, it does happen!
Tip 5 – If All Else Fails, Push the Bad Review Down
According to reputation stacker, 90% of customers read 10 or fewer reviews before they go ahead and decide whether they're happy enough to proceed with going forward and using your businesses. If you have received a poor review which you do believe could affect your sales, then you push the review further down by getting more of your customers to leave positive ones.
By holding a draw or a competition to win something along the lines of an Amazon gift voucher or a discount on one of your products or services to entice your customers to leave a review, incentive can definitely be one of the swaying factors in getting your customers to leave a review.
Getting negative reviews for your business doesn’t have to be such a catastrophe if you are equipped with the right methods and customer service skills, you’ll know how to deal with it should one arise. And remember, just because you’re a business with a bad review, doesn’t mean you’re a bad business!