First, some things you should know about online reviews:
- Positive Google and Yelp reviews influence your website’s Google rankings. But Google won’t remove negative reviews even if they’re obviously fake, unless it includes profanity. In that case you can Flag it, and Google will remove it.
- Neither will Yelp. And there’s nothing you can do. If you call them they’ll just blame their algorithm. Yelp won’t even publish your reviews if they’re all too positive, and from people who haven’t given a lot of Yelp reviews before.
- 92% of consumers read online reviews.
- It’s better if your customers say a few words instead of just giving you stars.
So you need to know how to productively deal with a negative review. Here’s how:
- ASAP – It’s important to respond as soon as possible, but it’s worse to respond badly than waiting a few minutes and responding well. So wait until you can respond without emotion. Then:
- Detach – Just state THE FACTS. Don’t be at all emotional. As soon as you say ANYTHING with the slightest bit of emotion you look guilty, no matter what actually happened. This is the by far the most important point about dealing with negative reviews.
- Apologize – It’s almost always good to say you’re sorry, even if you’re not at fault. It calms people down. “I’m sorry you weren’t happy, or I’m sorry you didn’t have a good experience with our staff.” You can say you’re sorry without admitting fault.
- Admit Fault – But if you, or someone who works for you, was at fault then DEFINITELY admit your fault, apologize, and tell them you’ll do whatever you can to make it up to them.
- Not Usual – You could say something like “I assure you this is not our regular level of service” or whatever they are complaining about.
- Talk Off-line – Try to get them to correspond with you off-line, by phone or by email, or in person. That’s better than having a conversation with an unhappy customer in public.
- Do Almost Anything – It’s so important to have good reviews that it’s worth doing almost anything to make complainers happy, even if they’re completely unreasonable, as long as they change their review. Give them whatever they want AFTER they change their review. Some business people balk at giving a trouble-maker too much, but don’t. A bad review can sometimes cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars in business over the years.
- More Positive Reviews – Sometimes there’s nothing you can do about a negative review. I got a bad Google review a few years ago from somebody I’ve never heard of. The only thing you can do is to respond, and try to get more positive reviews so their negative review is pushed down out of sight, at least to those who don’t bother looking at all your reviews. You should ask EVERY customers for a review who seems pleased with your service. Get into the habit. You’ll make more money. There’s no such thing as too many positive reviews.
- It’s In The Book – There’s a good section in my book about how to ask for reviews on page 20. It’s short and written in plain language. You can download a free copy of my Amazon #1 Best Selling book on this page.
- Most Are Reasonable – If you have a lot of positive reviews it’s not so bad to have a negative one. People know there are crackpots everywhere. It’s impossible to please all the people all the time.
Call me if you need more help dealing with negative reviews, or with any other aspect of your internet marketing. I’ll be happy to talk to you.