The first response every business owner I’ve ever worked with who received a bad Google review is something like this; “That person was such a pain, I’m not surprised he/she left a bad review even though we did everything we could to give them a great experience. Please see if Google will take it down”. While it may seem counterintuitive, I get really excited when I see bad reviews, for my business or for my clients’ businesses. Why? Well, when I first started my business my biggest fear was that we were going to make a client mad or one would be disappointed in our service. A wise mentor told me, “You’ll know you’ve made it once people start talking smack about you.” Ever since then I anticipate bad reviews rather than fear them. Because of this, I consider bad reviews to be badges of honor. After all, you really can’t make all the people happy all the time, try as we might. And we try mightily!
People Won’t Work with Me if I Have Bad Reviews
A client once told me, “Potential customers won’t work with me if I have bad reviews”
This is simply not true. Potential customers won’t work with you if you don’t respond diplomatically to bad reviews.
Getting a bad review gives you an opportunity to shine.
The following is based on two assumptions.
1. You bust your butt to provide the best products and services possible.
2. The person leaving the review is of sound mind. (You can’t fix crazy!)
Here’s the deal, something happened that caused a person to feel angry or frustrated enough to go online, seek out your Google profile and write a bad review and/or leave a bad rating. You know the situation; you know what caused the frustration. If this person wants to publicly call you out on an issue, it’s your responsibility to publicly own up to it, apologize, and try to make it right. Period. You’re not really addressing the reviewer; you’re addressing the people who are reading your Google reviews because they’re checking you out to see whether or not they should contact you. You’re BRIEFLY explaining to them what happened by the way you respond to the review.
Under no circumstances should you reply to a bad Google review when you’re angry. Keeping my last point in mind, you don’t want potential customers to see you with your fangs out. You want them to see that you handled a sticky situation with grace and tact. Also, don’t get into a discussion about what happened. Simply state that you would like to make it better and ask that he/she call you.
Sometimes things happen that are out of your control. If this is the case, your reply to the review should include an apology and an offer to do your best to make it right.
Here are some examples:
Don’t do this:
This business owner went too far into detail and wound up sounding like he was offering a bunch of excuses. Also, they put part of the blame back on the reviewer. This is a no-no. He should have accepted 100% of the blame and expressed his desire to make it right.
This business owner offered a brief explanation, an apology and a request that the reviewer call so they can try to make it better.
Please See if Google will Take It Down
Your bad review will not be removed unless it violates Google’s policy. It’s important that you have a general understanding of the policy so you don’t waste time fighting with Google over a losing battle. The policy says, “Reviews are automatically processed to detect inappropriate content like fake reviews and spam. We may take down reviews that are flagged in order to comply with Google policies or legal obligations.”
Google is careful of the following categories:
1. Spam and fake content
3. Restricted content
4. Illegal content
5. Terrorist content
6. Sexually explicit content
7. Offensive content
8. Dangerous & Derogatory Content
10. Conflict of Interest
Google doesn’t catch everything, so you should make it a point to check out your reviews regularly. If you think someone has left a fake review, you may flag it and offer a comment for Google to consider. Often a fake review can’t be proven to be fake and Google won’t remove it. Your best course of action in this case is to reply to the reviewer that you’re sorry, but you have no record of doing business with a person by their name and that you’d be more than happy to talk with them about their experience so you can make it right. This approach makes you look responsible and also delicately points out that this review may be fake. Anyone reading the review will move on the next one that is credible.
Negative Reviews Help You Look Authentic
Operating a brick-and-mortar store or online business can be assisted greatly with more traffic by making sure you've got an online presence in local search engine listings. If potential customers can research your company and post or read Google reviews associated with your customer service, you'll have an opportunity to sell them one or more of your products or services.
Having a good balance between both positive and negative reviews helps the assessment of your company look more authentic. When I shop for something and see only 5 star reviews, it makes me think something is fishy. Nobody is perfect. I always like to go straight to the negative reviews and see how the business owner handled the complaint. By evaluating the tone of his or her response, I can get an idea of how he/she will help if I have a problem with their product or. Their review reply can sway me immediately.
Hopefully this information has given you confidence to accept (legitimate) negative Google reviews as a part of life, as the cost of doing business. Embrace them as a way to showcase your fantastic customer service and hook potential customers. Once you willingly anticipate bad reviews rather than fear them you too may consider bad Google reviews to be badges of honor.
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