Reviews can be a great way to boost your business, bring new customers to your door, and give you more confidence. They can also do a lot for local SEO. But what do you do when you get a negative review on your Google listing or on Yelp? It can feel like a moment to panic, but take a deep breath and follow these steps.
1. Don’t react.
You first impulse may be to lash out against the reviewer, especially if they are upset about something beyond your control or their review seems unfair. But it’s important to take a deep breath, go for a walk, or do whatever you have to do to ensure that you don’t do that.
Remember that every company or person who has put themselves out there has gotten a bad review at some point. Even the most successful companies have negative reviews. A bad review can even be good because people can be suspicious of companies that only have positive reviews. Plus, it’s also true that “no press is bad press.”
2. Review the situation.
First of all, make sure the review is legitimate. Fake reviews are sometimes left by competitors or random people who were never even customers. Go back over your records and make sure this is a person who has actually done business with you.
If it is a legitimate review, study it. Think about what the person bought or when it was. Listen to any customer service calls that are applicable. Learn as much as you can about the situation so you know how to deal with it and you can prevent it from happening in the future.
3. Respond quickly.
Unfortunately, you can’t just ignore a bad review. So once you’ve given yourself a moment to cry or scream or whatever you need to do, it’s time to respond to the review in a professional way.
How should you respond to negative reviews? Apologize for whatever experience they had. Don’t be overly defensive or give them a bunch of excuses. Don’t deny that your business did anything wrong. Just offer to fix the problem.
The response is important because future customers will likely read your response, and you want to show them how you handle experiences like that. Also, in many cases, this can turn a bad review into a good review. Many people will change their review once the problem has been solved.
4. Flag fake reviews.
In many cases, Google or Yelp will remove a fraudulent review. If you believe the review was a fake one, contact Google or Yelp and have them remove it. If that doesn’t work, respond to the review addressing the complaint and stating that you can’t seem to find them in your records. Even if it is a fake review, it may not be removed. This is why a response is so important.
5. Fix the situation.
If you keep getting similar negative reviews where your poor service is the common denominator, you need to fix the problem. If someone states your staff is rude, maybe have a training day where you all work on being more polite. If you can fix a problem that one person complained about, do it.
There are cases when the negative review isn’t really about you or your company. Maybe the customer was just having a bad day and they were bound to find something negative. But try to read all the negative reviews with an open mind and take any constructive criticism to heart.
6. Follow up
What happened with the review? Was the customer refunded? Was the fraudulent review removed? You want to make sure you follow up so you can stay on top of it.
The most important thing is that you make every effort to get as many reviews as possible. If you have a lot of positive reviews, the negative reviews won’t matter as much.