Reputations are tricky. Your online reputation can either be your most powerful assets or one of your greatest liabilities. Great reviews positive comments can be the deciding factor for a potential new customer.
In fact, almost half (49%) of consumers look for and personally require at least a four-star rating before they choose to use a business. This shows that poor reviews are very likely to turn potential customers away by the masses.
The internet can cause devastation to your business with one bad review that goes viral. So, what happens when you wake up one morning to discover that your business’ online presence has been flooded with negative comments and one-star reviews? When people experience something negative with an establishment, the first place many of the go is to online reviews.
Unfortunately, you can’t simply remove negative reviews or comments or hope they will just go away. It takes time and some effort to repair the damage of negative reviews. Luckily, there are plenty of tips, tricks and techniques you can use to ensure that you bounce back better than ever. Let’s get started on the process of repair.
Don’t expose yourself to reviews until you’re confident
Consider holding off on providing the opportunity for customers to leave reviews on your Google My Business page until you feel confident in the quality of your service and that customers will leave positive reviews. Your Google My Business profile is one of the most important profiles you’ll build online. When a person goes to search your business, your reviews will display automatically with the search results.
Alongside your Google MY Business page, Facebook business pages are also essential. These come with the ability to turn off reviews entirely. If your business is going through a rough patch, or if you’re just getting your business started, it’s ok to turn off Facebook reviews for a while. Users can still write comments and post replies to your status updates, but they won’t have any negative or positive effect on your star rating.
Keep track of everywhere your business is listed
By now, you may have already submitted your NAP (name, address and phone number) to a multitude of directories and business platforms in an effort to increase your visibility and encourage reviews. There is a wide range of ways to do this. From Yelp and TripAdvisor to Facebook and Google, it’s very important to keep track of them. However, if this isn’t tracked regularly, it can pose problems. Even one missed review can negatively affect your overall ranking, hindering your attempts of repairing reputation damage. It’s best to track each and every one of these regularly to ensure there are no slips.
Don’t be afraid to call in expert help to stay on top of what’s being said – good and bad
If it seems like you are just too tight on time to keep track of every spot a review about your business could pop up, that’s totally normal. There are plenty of online reputation management tools available to help make this process more straightforward. They will ensure you’re staying on top of all online reviews about your business.
There are a lot of services that are free or low cost that will take the hassle out of keeping track. This includes services such as Google Alerts (if you’re on a tight budget), Namyz, Hootsuite and Reputology as good starting points.
No matter how busy you might be, negative reviews should always be addressed quickly. Another way to handle this is to hire a professional to take care of the extra work loud. This way, you won’t have zero stress worrying about if your reviews are being taken care of. (We have got your back!)
Use negative reviews to help you improve
The best way to approach negative reviews is to look at them as constructive criticism. Learn from them and apply them to your business as improvements. Identify the problems that keep popping up in those negative comments and take a proactive approach to rectifying them. Whether it’s customer service, systemization, or internal process, listen to your customers, no matter how nasty the comments might be, and find places to improve.
It’s worth it to investigate a sudden influx of negativity
For example, a business could have a star studded rating on Google MY Business with their customers appearing to be generally satisfied. The next day the business’ page is flooded with negative reviews, bringing your rating down to 3.2. There are three potential reasons for this sudden attack no your business.
- A disgruntled customer might have had a personally bad experience with your business and has been encouraging friends, family and other social media users to leave bad reviews to get back at your business for a poor experience.
- One of your competitors has made a targeted attempt to harm your business with inauthentic reviews.
- A piece of bad publicity has triggered a storm of unfair comments.
Depending on the platform you’re dealing with, there are different steps you can take. Many platforms offer some form of site support for fake or inauthentic reviews. You’ll need to gather evidence that these reviews are fake to support your claim. You can look at usernames and record the times and locations of their posts if you can. You may be able to find the culprits and come to a reasonable solution that won’t harm your business any further.
Always respond to comments
Today, it is vital to ensure that you are responding to comments on all platforms that your business is listed online. However, this does not mean you should comment back to negative comments by giving them a piece of your mind. By choosing to do that, you could end up damaging your reputation even more. Instead, always chose a professional tone. There’s an appropriate response to every kind of review. It’s important to understand which kind of response to deploy and when.
If you respond to negative comments in a calm and collected way, it will appear to other viewers that the negative commenter might have been overreacting. It also shows that you are professional and viewers will respect you for it more.
Work hard to gather positive reviews
Even if you have had a dip in the negative review pool, if you show to your customers and potential customers that you have worked hard to improve and made a change in your business, they will respect you much more.
Research shows that the majority of consumers don’t pay attention to reviews older than three months. So if you got a handful of one-star reviews and negative comments a year ago but your star rating has improved drastically since then, you have repaired the damage and consumers will see that. It’s important to show that you’re aware of the problem and are working hard to fix it.
Try not to overreact
Although bad reviews may not feel good to get, they aren’t actually all bad for your business. Consumers are actually less trusting in a business that has a perfect five-star review. This can appear as the business buying reviews or faking it. Poor reviews can make your business seem more genuine, especially depending on how you handle the review.
It’s important not to overreact when faced with bad reviews. Don’t resort to drastic steps like starting brand new profiles on Google, Facebook and Yelp. This is bad for your SEO and restoring a reputation is difficult but it’s not as difficult as building a new reputation from scratch with brand new profiles. Try to have a level head when a situation such as a bad review arises. There are ways to work through it.