Managing Your Reputation Online

Handling Negative Reviews on GoogleMyBusiness

Recently, I had asked someone about a specific business’s reputation, and they said that this company that I inquired about had “a pretty good reputation, about a fifty-fifty reputation with their customers,” meaning that 50% thought positive of the business and that 50% thought poorly of them. I replied that that was a poor reputation. 50% of your client base should never see you or your business in a negative light; that’s just way too much.

Sure, you cannot please everyone, but those should never be the ratios that a business has regarding customer satisfaction. I couldn’t help but Google the business’s name to check out their online reviews and was surprised to see that they had stayed on top of their customer’s GoogleMyBusiness reviews by responding to them. But, there was a fundamental problem with the way they were managing their online reviews. They only responded to the positive ones and ignored the negative ones.

This approach is a terrible idea, as it indicates that either:

  1. The business is guilty of whatever this person is accusing it of

Or

  1. The business simply doesn’t care about sour customers

Either reason for not responding to the negative review is bad for business. It has less to do with the fact that a customer is unhappy with something, as it has to do with the fact that a company won’t acknowledge the issue or work to make it right with the customer, not to mention the review is up there for everyone to see.

It’s true that it’s “nearly” impossible to remove a negative review online, many have tried, and many have failed. But there are a few pretty good options that could help you; they are as follows:

Downplay Damaging Reviews

To effectively downplay bad reviews, try some of these strategies.

  • Calmly explain the situation in your reply to the negative review.
  • Settle the situation and respectfully ask the customer (not online) if they would be willing to revise the negative review to speak to the positive outcome.
  • Ask customers for positive reviews, which has a “push-down” down effect on the list of reviews and can push the negative ones to the bottom of the results.

Respond to the Review

One of the best approaches to dealing with a negative review is to respond to the customer/client’s post. But it’s essential to use the right tone in your response. Often, if you are sweet enough and apologetic enough, the person who put up the negative review may see it and decide to take it down on their own. At the absolute least, you can minimize its damage by having current and potential customers see you as the bigger person by responding to all and any negative reviews.

A few quick tips for responding to a critical review are:

  • Reply in a friendly kind-hearted tone
  • Don’t get your back up or make it seem personal
  • Say sorry if needed, and offer to make the wrong, right
  • Do your best to keep the reply nice and short
  • Try to take the dialogue offline, like phone, text, or email

Flag the review with Google

All kinds of reviews are prohibited by Google, which might draw enough attention to deem them removable. These include Junk and false content put up just to influence ratings. This includes posting multiple times, including from different email accounts. When you look at the said review, you’ll see three small dots to your right, click them, and press report; the rest is self-explanatory.

The reality is that no business has a flawless 5-star rating on any platform, there will always be a few less than desirable reviews associated with your business, but there are ways to mitigate the negative ones better when they appear. So rather than ignoring them, meet them head-on with a few of the tactics suggested above.