You find yourself with a bad review on Google, Facebook, Yelp, or another platform. What do you do?
To start off, you shouldn’t panic, argue, or ignore it. It can feel like a nightmare to have a bad review, especially when you have given your business you’re all. Your reputation is everything, and a bad review can cause it to decline. Yeah, because of one bad review, your business can hurt. To top it all off, Google’s search algorithm pulls all of your company’s reviews. Not just the ones on Google, but the ones found on Facebook, Yelp, and other platforms. A bad review can cause your ranking to fall.
There are some steps you can take to help minimize the damage to the credibility of your company. To help ensure customer satisfaction, when you get a bad review, just follow these steps to help maintain your positive reputation:
- Evaluate the Situation
- Respond as Soon as You Can
- If the review turns out to be fake, you can have it flagged for removal.
- Rectify the Issue
- Stay Ahead of it
This process may not be foolproof, but it is effective. Let’s go over these steps one by one. Including the first thing, we said about bad reviews, not to panic.
Don’t Panic Over Bad Reviews (Or fight back)
A fake or negative review on Google (or other platforms) may urge you to argue. Don’t do that. It isn’t the end of your business if you get a bad review. In fact, you have the ability to even keep that client as one of your own. There isn’t a company around that hasn’t got a bad review. There is some research that points to an increase in sales as a result of a bad review. All publicity is good publicity, even if it is bad. So, don’t panic, take a deep breath, maybe even meditate on it. Now let’s talk about the next situation.
The first thing you want to do when you get a bad review is to verify its legitimacy. It isn’t uncommon for some random person (or a competitor) to leave a bad review, even if they aren’t a client of yours. That being said, to check the legitimacy, check your records. If this review is from someone who has never been a client, then it is likely a fake review.
However, if the reviewer is/was a client, look at what services/products they received. Listen to the service calls with the customer, learn as much as you can about the situation. If you equip yourself with the details, you can defuse the situation and prevent further issues with other clients.
Respond As Soon As You Can
Even if you know for a fact that the negative review is fake, you should still respond. Why? Because, more than just pacifying a reviewer, you are showing other clients and leads that you do respond to issues and try to do your best to resolve them.
It doesn’t matter how negative the review is; you need to respond as soon as you can. Prompt action is key in this situation. It shows that you are committed to the customer. Every person that is reading these reviews is a potential prospect. They already have some interest in what you offer and a bad review being responded to in a timely manner shows that you care. You have to make all of your customers happy, not just the dissatisfied ones. Responding quickly does just that.
A fraudulent review is a review posted from someone who has never used your services or purchased a product from you. Here is how you need to address your reviews if they are fraudulent:
- Address it, and Apologize
- Inform them that you can’t find them in your records as a customer
- Offer to rectify the situation and have them contact you directly
- Flag the review (or report) if it fraudulent
You should know, a flagged fake review may still be seen by other customers. Even after being flagged, it may not be removed. That is the reason for responding. In the event that the review is legitimate, and you do have a dissatisfied customer, here is what you do:
- Address and Apologize Regardless of if their Review isn’t true.
- Don’t make any excuses. Excuses don’t solve problems.
- If your service/product is seen as sub-par by the client, be honest, and assure them that it won’t happen a second time.
- Offer to appropriately fix the issue that they had.
If the review turns out to be fake, you can have it flagged for removal.
Here is what you have to do to flag a review:
- Open Google Maps and Find Your Business
- Choose to see all your reviews, and select the one you want to flag
- You will see three vertical dots in the right-hand corner of the review, open that small menu, and flag the post as inappropriate.
- Contact Google to follow up on the status of the flagged review. You can find the support option on the bottom of the menu (left-hand side); select it.
- There is a chance to make a legal removal request if you can consider the review false or slander. This is optional, and the requirements are pretty strict. Before you take this action, check the legitimacy of the legal violation.
Let’s face it, multiple bad reviews or constant negative ones means that the problem isn’t with the customer; it is with the business. That means, as scary as it is, you have to make some changes. Changing the way that you do business in any way can be quite stressful but definitely worth it. Yeah, some reviews are issues with the customer and not the business. The review could just be a result of a bad day.
That being said, you need to rectify the hiccups in your service or somehow solve an issue with a product that falls short of expectations. You have to make a very solid effort in order to resolve the issue. That could mean anything from letting a troublesome employee go, improving your customer service training, or even rewording the offers found on your website. If your customers aren’t getting satisfaction, then your problems are bigger than you think.
Stay Ahead Of It
What is the result of the fraudulent review, was it ever flagged? Did it get removed? Did you revamp your customer service or offer and follow through with a refund? You have to stay ahead of these situations. That is the only way to turn future bad reviews into positive ones. In the instance of bad reviews, where the customer was unhappy with your services/product, rectifying it can nudge the customer into altering their review into a positive one. It happens all the time, and most of the time, people just want the issues resolved. Just be nice about it. Sometimes, if the review platform doesn’t offer the option to change a review, they may even leave a better one.
Avoiding Bad Reviews on Platforms & Directories
Most of the time, positive reviews drown out the negative ones. Make an effort to get as many positive reviews that you are able to. In all honesty, the best way to handle negative reviews is to prevent them before they happen. Spend the time to train your employees better, improve your customer service, and do your best to leave a positive impression.