As a small business owner you know how valuable having a presence on local reviews sites can be. Most buyers and potential customers tend to check review sites before moving forward with their purchases. This means a tiny negative review can have a negative impact for your business.
Below we outline a process you should take whenever a negative review crops up. Remember, how you handle the negative review can be more important than the negative review itself.
Unfortunately, there are multiple kinds of negative reviews and they all need to be handled in slightly different ways. The first is a fake review that could be from a bot, and doesn’t actually relate to your business.
The second is from a real customer who had a negative experience with your business. These need to be handled delicately, but there is an effective remedy.
The third kind of negative review can some from an ex-employee. These can actually be removed from the review site, as they violate the general terms of service.
If possible, you should try to get in contact with the person who left a review. If you can convince them to remove the review all they have to do is login to the site and delete the review.
If you can, try to find the contact information of the reviewing party. By getting in touch with this person in an offline setting it’ll be much easier to convince them.
When communicating with the person try to be as empathetic as possible, and take the time to truly understand their situation. Negative reviews come from not having needs met, so try see how you can learn from the entire situation.
It’s important to communicate how a single negative review effects not just you, but everyone who works for your business, as well as their families.
You’re not allowed to offer incentives in exchange for positive reviews. However, you can offer a “good faith” incentive to an unsatisfied customer, hoping they’ll change their mind about the review.
Every review site has a terms of service for posting reviews. Sometimes, bad reviews that are left on the site actually breach the terms of service. When this happens you can reach out to the support team for the site, and request the review to be removed. Sometimes this process takes a while, so you’ll have to be patient.
Once you’ve flagged and reported the review, you should respond to the review in the comments and let people know the review is spammy, or violates the terms and conditions.
If you try the above strategies and nothing is working make sure you reply to the review in and understanding and persuasive manner. Try to address all of the objections, and show both the reviewer and the people who read the review, that service has improved since the review, and their claims are no longer true.
However, if the reviewer is just trying to pick a fight, then it’s probably a better idea to not respond in the first place.
In the case of a bad review the best defense can be a strong offense. Make sure you’re actively trying to build up a base of strong positive reviews, so when a negative review does crop up it won’t deter any customers.
If you’re looking for an effective strategy to grow your local presence, then get in touch with our SEO team today.