Businesses don’t have the luxury of ignoring bad online reviews anymore. Bad reviews turn away potential customers, tarnish business reputations, and are bad for SEO.
No one likes to receive bad online reviews, but don’t let it get to your head. The most important thing to do is remain calm and move swiftly. Reviews play a massive role in the client decision making process, as well as your online ranking, so while tempting it is also not good to ignore them.
Bad Reviews don’t only bruise your reputation and turn away potential customers, but they also hurt your SEO (Search Engine Optimization). A survey by SEO experts Moz found that reviews make up 10% of local search engine results. Meaning bad reviews will force your page further down in search engines. Google has even outright said that responding to reviews is a part of the algorithm that affects ranking. Making it crucial for businesses to be responsive and proactive.
Create a calculated response
The first step to dealing with a bad review is to have a smart response. Do not let emotions guide your fingers across the keyboard, even if the client is wrong. When in doubt always ask a colleague to read the message before you press submit.
Your response should include an apology or a comment sympathizing with their feelings, restate your brand mission and values, and the end with what next. Place your contact details to discuss or if you know who it is make note that you reach out to try and resolve the situation.
Do not place canned responses for unhappy customers as this will come across as disingenuous to future purchasers. It’s important to make sure potential customers know that you as company have done everything possible to rectify the situation. A Review Tracker survey found that 94% of customers say an online review has convinced them to avoid a business.
Try to solve the issue offline
After you post a public response always try and get in touch offline. This takes the conversation away from prying eyes so you can try and resolve the issue directly. It could be a bit more explanation about what happened, it could be a future discount or a return for a percentage of the service. Once a resolution has been hopefully met, it’s okay to ask them to edit the review or potentially take it down.
What do I do about old bad reviews now?
The best thing to do is get more good reviews which can bury the bad review in the past.
However, It’s never too late to try and make a bad situation right. You can still respond to an old bad review and mention new company policies. Alternatively, it’s also possible to message the reviewer directly and explain the updates you´ve made and ask if they would be willing to take down the review.
Check the terms and conditions of the review site
If a review doesn’t feel authentic it’s possible that it could be from a competitor or a discontent ex-employee. If you think this is true be sure to flag the content. It could be that the review is violating the sites terms and conditions and they may take it down. If it’s on Google, don´t hold your breath, as they are famous at being unresponsive to review flags. But other popular review sites give more opportunity to flag falsified reviews.