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You Don’t Need Google Reviews… Until You Get a Negative One

Sept. 23, 2019
You should respond to all reviews, but especially the negative reviews.

If you’re a business that is just getting started or even one that’s been around for years, a negative online review can be a hard pill to swallow. Unfortunately, people who are unhappy or vengeful are quick to tarnish a company’s reputation and a negative review can pop up on just about anyone’s business account.

Over the years I’ve had clients ask me the same question over and over again: “Donna!  What do I do about this negative review?”

While each case is different, there really isn’t a way to remove a bad review short of asking the writer to remove it. The pain is definitely softened, however, if you already have other 4 and 5-star reviews. You see, the problem is this: if you have no reviews and you get a 1-star review, you now have a rating of 1-star. If you have twenty 5-star reviews and get a one star, you now have a 4.8 star rating. Since Google rounds up, it will still show 5 stars.

When potential clients are looking for contractors and your company comes up against others with a 4.8 rating and you have a 1-star rating, you are losing business, guaranteed.  

As someone who regularly helps businesses with their online reputation, there isn’t much I haven’t seen. I’ve dealt with startups all the way to multi-million-dollar companies and I can tell you one thing: it doesn’t matter the size of your business or what industry you are in, if you are in business you will receive a negative review one day. It’s just the way it is and something for which every company should be prepared.

I know you are thinking, “but we provide great service.” That was what my roofing client said when he got a 1-star review. It was a scathing review and it was not even from a customer. To this day we do not know who wrote the review but there is no way to remove it. Fortunately for him, he had many happy customers who gave him solid 5-star reviews, so it had little effect on his business.

Turn that Negative Into a Positive!

As I mentioned above, a negative review is a hard pill to swallow. But for most responsible business owners, it should serve as a wake-up call, an opportunity to take a good look internally to see where the problem occurred and determine how it can be prevented in the future.  As for the review itself, you must respond. You should respond to all reviews, but especially the negative reviews.

Responding to Negative Reviews

Make sure to respond in a timely fashion

No one likes to be kept waiting, especially if they are a disgruntled customer. Regardless of whether it was a real or fake review, respond in a professional manner. It’s the most important thing you can do.

Don’t lose your cool. Be respectful.

The worst thing you can do is respond while you are angry. Anger does not allow you to properly assess the situation and may have you saying things you wouldn’t otherwise. With that in mind, you have two options:

  1. Take a few minutes or even a couple of hours and let the anger subside before writing a response.
  2. If you don’t feel comfortable writing a response and you want to ensure it all goes smoothly, hire a professional to write it for you.

While you may not agree with what the negative review says you need to remember to always show your customers respect and common courtesy (even if they weren’t respectful to you). This will go a long way to resolving the problems and display you as the true professional you are.

Don’t air your dirty laundry online

This is the structure I recommend to all my clients.

  1. Write a quick response on the platform where the complaint has been made acknowledging you have seen the complaint and that you are more than happy to resolve it.
  2. Quickly take it offline!  

You do not want to be sharing the back and forth with a disgruntled customer on Google, a social media account or any other online site. By giving a quick answer on the platform itself you are showing other would-be customers that you are willing to work with them in case they ever have an issue with your product or service. By taking it offline you are then able to have a more intimate conversation which will likely lead to a resolution. 

Dispute Fake Reviews When Possible

While Google has specific policies regarding the removal of reviews and your review might not be removed, it doesn’t hurt to try.

The process to flag a review is simple but not necessarily quick. If you feel you have received a fake review do the following:

  1. Search for your business on Google Maps
  2. Go to your review section and click on the appropriate review
  3. Click on the three vertical dots in the upper-right corner of the review, then click “Flag as inappropriate.”

If that doesn’t resolve the issue you can always go to your “Google My Business” home page and click on the support option to follow up on your flagged review update. If the review is not removed and you consider it to be slander or fake you have the option to go legal. Google provides a form for legal removal but be warned this course of action may require a legal professional.

Build Up Positive Reviews

Lastly, a negative review gets lost pretty easily in a sea of positive ones. That is why you should make an effort to ask all your clients for a review. Do not be shy! After all, if you provided them with a great product or service most customers are more than happy to leave a positive review for you. If you happen to currently have a negative review, don’t be too hard on yourself. As you can see from above there are plenty of ways to remedy it. 

Streamlining the Review Process

While asking for reviews is simple, and people say they would be happy to write a review, getting people to actually do it is another story. People are busy and don’t always remember. That is where a reputation management service like PleaseReviewMy.Work may make things easier.

In the software, you’ll enter the email address or telephone number of the client, their first name, and the software will do the rest. It sends out multiple requests for reviews until the client actually writes one. It brings all your reviews from across the internet into one space for you to monitor and respond. And it automatically publishes your 4 and 5-star reviews to your website and social media channels. The best part is it helps to separate out negative reviews so that you can address them before they hit the internet.

In the end, reviews really are important, and you shouldn’t wait until you get a negative one to start asking for positive ones.  

Donna Campanelli is a marketing strategist and the owner of Contractor-Websites.com. Her company works with construction companies, contractors, and the trades to increase visibility, grow sales, and dominate their market.

About the Author

Donna Campanelli | Owner

Donna Campanelli is a marketing strategist and the owner of Contractor-Websites.com. Her company works with construction companies, contractors, and the trades to increase visibility, grow sales, and dominate their market.

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