Any business, no matter how big or small, has received at least a few bad reviews. Maybe the complaint was written by a client who didn't like the way you handled their request to reduce your commission. Maybe it was written by someone you don't even know, someone that isn't even in your CRM. Whatever the reason, it's negatively affecting your online rating and your reputation. There are ways to deal with bad reviews, either by having them removed or by finding ways to bury them deep enough so they aren't the first thing viewers see when they research you online. Let's take a look at some ways to "fix" negative reviews on a variety of different sites.
- Flag reviews for re-moderation
- Ask to have negative comments deleted
- Respond in a professional, courteous manner
- After a positive experience, remind clients to write a review
Google's search algorithm includes reviews from not only only Google but from Facebook, Yelp, and other review platforms. One bad review can take your ranking from 5 starts down to 3 stars quickly, especially if you have a low number of online reviews.
When you get a bad review on Google, try these steps. Maybe you can rectify the situation and turn a customer's point of view around vs. asking to have the comment deleted. Consider the following when you receive a negative Google review (or any review for that matter):
- Avoid overreacting to the negative comment but respond quickly
- Take a few minutes to cool your jets so you can avoid lashing out and writing something you'll regret later
- Do a bit of research in your CRM to see if this the comment was made by an actual contact of yours. You may find out you've never met or interacted with the person before and the comment may be fraudulent
- Flag fraudulent comments for removal
Your Facebook business page gives followers the option to review you and, of course, some of those reviews might be negative. You can report negative reviews directly to Facebook by doing the following:
- Choose "reviews" from the left-hand column of your page
- Click the 3 dots on the right corner of the review you want to flag
- Select "Find Support or Report Review"
- Select a reason and send
Facebook will not remove low star ratings so you'll have to live with them. As an option you may choose to communicate with the customer, offering an apology, and learn more about their concern(s). Although it might not be appropriate to ask them to change their rating, in time they may do so on their own.
Reviews on Yelp may be more difficult to remove because Yelp tends to stand behind the opinion of their reviewers. Besides, having negative reviews can be a good thing. Consumers are more trusting of what they're seeing when there is a range of good and bad reviews. If every review is 5 stars, for example, consumers may be wary.
You can report a review by opening the reviews section of your business account, selecting the negative review, clicking the options (3 dots) and reporting the it.
As with other sites, Yelp suggests reaching out to the person who wrote the critical review and trying to mend the situation. Before responding to the review, take a few minutes to ensure you're calm vs. lashing out with a harsh, reactive reply. Remember, your response says a lot about you as a professional and a defensive response could leave future viewers with a negative opinion of you.
When you receive negative comments on your YouTube videos, you can remove, report, or hide comments. To remove comments, click on the 3-dot menu icon on the top right of the comment and select "remove". If you discover that the same user is continually posting negative comments on your videos, you may block them by choosing to "hide from channel".
Zillow, like Yelp, rarely removes reviews. If you receive a negative review, you can flag the review for re-moderation and Zillow will see whether or not it meets the review guidelines.
As with other sites, consider responding to negative reviews in a professional, courteous manner. Thank them for taking the time to comment and apologize ("I'm sorry you were unhappy about the inspection report."). Remember, we interpret the tone behind the message but we don't truly know what tone they used, so avoid quickly responding out of anger. Read the review numerous times and have an officemate do the same. They may have a different perspective and good advice on how to respond.
As a businessperson, you're going to be reviewed online and you can expect some reviews to be negative. Reviews give you an opportunity to learn about your customers and what they want, as well as how you can apply their feedback to make changes to your business and yourself. If you cannot have a negative review blocked or deleted, consider responding to it in a professional, thoughtful way. According to Yelp, "... a mix of both positive and critical reviews... shows a wide range of experiences and helps consumers trust what they're seeing." Don't forget to ask your clients for a review after they've had a positive experience with you. Positive reviews will slowly bury the negative ones and bring up your overall rating.