Pixel Fish Digital Marketing Blog

How To Handle A Bad Google Review

Posted by Kevin Fouche on Dec 5, 2018
Kevin Fouche

As a business owner, you invest a lot of time and money to ensure your business’ online presence is stellar, so a bad review posted online can be a business owner’s nightmare. Google’s search algorithm will pull reviews posted on Google, but will also pull reviews from Yelp, Facebook and other platforms as well. If someone is dissatisfied enough to post bad reviews on multiple sites, this can severely affect your rankings and damage your business’ hard earned reputation overnight. So what do you do?

How To Handle A Bad Google Review

First of all, don’t panic. When you receive a bad review you may find it hard to believe, but research suggests bad reviews can actually boost your sales. They do say there’s no such thing as bad publicity – although a negative Google Review certainly can have a detrimental affect your business.

Thankfully, there are some easy ways to minimise the damage, and what’s better, there are often ways you can use a bad review to demonstrate your firm’s dedication to ensuring complete customer satisfaction.

If you do get a negative – or false – Google review, there are 5 easy steps to follow:

1. Act quickly:

Replying to a disgruntled customer within 24 hours is crucial, but don’t rush ahead without considering these next important steps:

2. Take stock of the situation:

  • Take the time to research your customer.

  • What did they buy?

  • When did they buy it?

  • What is their transaction history?

  • Are they a first-time customer or longer-term customer?

  • Listen to the customer service calls, if you are able.

  • Read any email correspondence relating to the sale.

You are better positioned to handle the situation the more you know about it. You will also be able to see what went wrong, how and where, enabling you to prevent a similar situation from occurring in the future.

3. Respond promptly:

  • Keep your response short and to the point

  • Address the issue

  • Take ownership of the problem

  • Apologise – even if it is not your fault

  • State how you intend to fix the issue, and

  • Follow through.

4. Correct the situation by addressing the customer’s concerns.

Potential customers reading past reviews can be reassured by a bad review that has been addressed correctly. It tells them that in the event something does go array, that your firm will do it’s best to ensure you leave a happy customer. It also encourages them that you will respond quickly to address any issues that may arise.

5. Thank the customer for bringing the issue to your attention and see it through.

Sincerely thank your customer for the opportunity to rectify the situation. Be sure to see the complaint through to a happy resolution. Customers can be encouraged to update their bad review with a good one if you deal with their issue quickly, efficiently and allow them to feel heard. Some may even offer to delete their bad review and leave a one. If you’re pleasant and helpful throughout the process, all it often takes is a gentle prod and a customer happy with your solution can change their review to reflect the end result.

What to do if your Google Review Is Inappropriate:

Google have posting guidelines that they will enforce, such as posts with inappropriate content, such as:

  • Hate speech, threats, violence or profanity: sometimes a customer’s anger gets the best of them and if they cross the line and post inappropriate content, flag it and bring it to Google’s attention.

  • Spam or other advertising: you can’t advertise, post special offers or deals in reviews so if a customer mentions a better deal is on offer with your competitor, for example, you can flag it for removal.

  • Irrelevant: If the review is irrelevant or otherwise off-topic, such as a customer complaining that they received a speeding ticket from an active Police operation on the road outside your business, flag it.

What to do if your Google Review is fake or fraudulent:

  • Apologise for their dissatisfaction/inconvenience,

  • Clearly state you have no record of their transaction or of them being a customer of yours,

  • Offer to fix their problem, and

  • Report flag their review as fraudulent for removal by following these steps:

    • Search for your business in Google Maps,

    • Click to view your reviews and find the one you wish to flag,

    • Click on the three dots in the top right corner of the review.

    • Select “Flag as inappropriate” and click on it.

You may wish to follow up on your flagged review status by getting in touch with Google. You will find Google Support listed at the bottom of the menu on your Google My Business home page.

For a false or slanderous review you have the added option of filling out a Google form for a legal removal request. You may find it is well worth the time and energy to rectify matters this way, should you find yourself in this unfortunate situation.

Make sure you check back to ensure your fraudulent review was flagged and removed and remember, any negative reviews should always be outnumbered by the good ones, so don’t forget to chase positive reviews!

Hopefully any one-star reviews will be few and far between and this post has helped you understand the process for easily tackling a bad review.  If you’d like help growing your business online, contact us we’d love to hear from you.

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Topics: Google