No one likes to see a bad review about his or her business on the Internet, especially if it comes from a disgruntled employee or a competitor who is trying to ruin your reputation. Bad reviews can be devastating.

47% Never Look Back

Forty seven percent of potential customers who read a bad review will go onto the next business listing without giving your business a second glance.

Here’s the dirty little secret reviewers won’t tell you. The vast majority of bad reviews are from people who are very upset, angry or disappointed with your service. And, their reason for providing a bad review has little to do with the product or service they purchased, it almost always has to do with how you made them feel.

Problem is, the reviewer who took the time to leave a bad review is already angry, and it’s going to be harder to change their mind now than it would have been at the time when the problem occurred. But fortunately, all is not lost.

If you have a bad review that you want removed from Google, here are five solutions that will either win back a dissatisfied customer or push spam reviews to the back of the line.

Solution 1

The only person who can edit or remove a review on your Google Map account is the person who put it there. If you know who they are, you can try to persuade them to change it or remove it. But, here’s the catch.

You must be willing to apologize for your mistake and make things right with the person who posted the bad review. And the only way you’re going to do that is to listen to their concern, apologize and offer a solution. If you handle yourself properly, you’ll be surprised at how easy it can be to get a bad review removed. If you don’t, you’re going to make matters worse … sometimes much worse

Before you initiate contact, put yourself in the mindset of a problem solver. Your goal is to make the reviewer feel better about you and your company without making them feel bad about posting their review. Here’s what you need to do.

  1. Contact the person who posted the review and tell them that you saw their review on Google and that you want to find out what happened and make things right.
  2. Listen to their complaint until they’re finished talking.
  3. Paraphrase what they said and apologize for what went wrong.
  4. Let them know how much you appreciate them bringing their concern to your attention and ask for their suggestion on what you can do make things right.
  5. Follow through on their suggestion before you move onto step six.
  6. Ask them if they would be willing to edit or remove their review. If they do, you’ve succeeded. If they don’t, you’ve lost nothing but time.

Solution 2

Google will only show a limited number of reviews on the first page of your Local Business Listing. If you can generate five or six positive reviews, it will move the bad review to the second or third page. Most people will not look that far into your listing before making a decision.

But, and this is a big “BUT,” if you generate a burst of positive reviews and then stop getting reviews for a long period of time, Google will push your business listing down in their rankings. If you’re going to make reviews a part of your business model, you must commit to generating reviews consistently.

Solution 3

Is the review inappropriate according to Google? Read their rules and regulations about reviews and see if this review violates their rules. If it does, you can click the “Flag as inappropriate” button and leave your explanation as to why this review should be removed. Google will eventually remove the inappropriate comment. This takes time however, so be patient and be persistent.

Solution 4

Under each review, Google asks, “Was This Review Helpful (Yes / No).” Google probably won’t remove the review if enough people say, “No,” but if 10 out of 10 people indicate the review was not helpful, your readers will discount the review and basically ignore it. Ask your customers and friends to rate poor reviews as not helpful.

Solution 5

Google and many of the other review sites allow you to respond publicly to any and all reviews. In order to do so, you must be signed in to your account when you visit your place page.

If you get a bad review you have an opportunity to respond to the review for everyone to see. But let me warn you, there are three approaches you can take when responding to a bad review and only one works.

You can respond in anger. You can respond by making an excuse. You can respond with an apology and a solution.

If you want to see a well written management response to a poor review, check out the management response by the owner of Eva Villa Bed and Breakfast on Insider Pages.

Your response will show up directly under the bad review on the site where it was posted.

The very best way to handle bad reviews is to insure that unhappy customers never get to the point where they post their opinions on Google. Find a way to uncover and solve their concern before they leave your presence. If you provide exceptional service, poor reviews will never become an issue.

6. Take your critics offline ASAP

While you should be responding to every review, that doesn’t mean you need to get into the dirty details. Keep your response brief, avoid discussing specifics, and move the conversation offline ASAP.

Respond with a sincere apology and a request to get in touch via email or phone. For instance, “We are so sorry to hear you had such a bad experience at our establishment. Please reach out to us at so we can discuss this further.”

Be sure to include contact info with your response - the more specific the better (e.g., “Give us a call and ask for Frank”). If you don’t include your contact information, your response can end up looking inauthentic.

7. DON’T use canned responses

Honestly, if you’re going to cut and paste all your responses, you might as well not respond at all. Looking through Trip Advisor recently, I found a particular hotel was giving identical responses to each and every reviewer. Sure, they did have a different response for negative reviews versus positive ones, but the whole thing still left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

Dissatisfied customers want to know you take their concerns seriously. A boilerplate response says you don’t actually care, and that you’re just responding for the sake of optics.

Responding authentically means responding to the individual. While the content of your responses will inevitably be similar at times, resist the urge to save time by pasting in standard responses.

8. Turn the situation around

Keep in mind that when handled correctly, people who complain the loudest can potentially become your most vocal fans and advocates.

When responding to complaints and negative feedback, go in with the attitude that there is something to salvage here. Instead of writing off all negative reviewers as unreasonable, do your best to satisfy them and turn them into a repeat customer.

Of course, sometimes this just isn’t possible. In those situations, remember that a respectful and generously-worded public response can actually make you look better, while at the same time discrediting the reviewer.

Conclusion

Negative reviews can feel lousy, but they aren’t the end of the world. Believe me, I know! If you’re providing a great product or service and take customer service seriously, a few negative reviews shouldn’t do irreparable harm to your business.

On the other hand, if you find that negative reviews are consistently outnumbering the good, your issue is probably less reputation management and more business improvement. Fix what’s broken in your business, and then deal with fixing your reputation.

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