Everyone knows the power of word-of-mouth advertising, and an online review is word-of-mouth on a colossal scale. Reviews carry more credibility that advertisements because the reviewers are not on the payroll. Good reviews are a boon to your business, but what about bad reviews? What happens when your company is blindsided by a disgruntled customer who leaves a one-star Google review and nasty comments? The best response is:
- Create a review policy
- Show Empathy
- Continue Conversation Offline
- Bury the Review
1. Create a Review Policy
Every business should create a review policy. One of the elements should be which reviews to respond to. Responding to all of the positive reviews – although time consuming – acknowledges that you read and appreciate the feedback. Here’s an example of a response:
“Thanks for the compliment. We appreciated the opportunity to…”
Sometimes, it’s nice just to let the review stand on its own so there’s a string of positive reviews. Instead of responding to all, you may instead choose to respond to the bad reviews only. These should not be ignored. So, if you respond to one, respond to them all. When you don’t respond, readers may think your company is uncaring or the review is fully accurate and doesn’t require a response.
2. Respond to a Bad Review
Responding to a bad review is important, otherwise the audience might think the review represents how you do business. However, wait a bit before responding. Customers leaving bad reviews often lash out when they’re upset, so wait a couple of days. Then, create a response that is short and objectively acknowledges what happened, then offer to move the conversation offline.
Readers understand that there are two points of view in every scenario. Things aren’t always 100% perfect. Keep your audience in mind when responding, because essentially, you truly are responding to everyone who reads the review, not the reviewer. For this reason, you want to present your business is a good light.
Here’s an example:
“Our mission is to address clients’ needs while delivering value, building trust, and acting with integrity. We pride ourselves on these high standards and I can assure you that (address the bad review).”
3. Show Empathy
A strong comeback will turn people off. Especially if you’re in a service industry, you want to brand yourself as friendly, helpful, and professional. Attacking the reviewer is counter-productive. Instead, take the high road by showing empathy and recognizing the issue without restating it. When you show you care, you show a concern for this particular client, and consequently, all of the others you serve. Offer a way to resolve the issue reported in the review.
4. Continue the Conversation Offline
Close with an offer to the reviewer to continue the conversation offline. Here’s an example: If you’d like to discuss this further, please give me a call.” This cements your reputation for quality customer service. Remember, your response is meant for people reading the review, more than the reviewer.
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5. Bury a Bad Review
Lastly, the bury. Because Google categorizes reviews by date, burying the bad review under good reviews will hide it. Additionally, several 5-star reviews will counteract the 1-star review. Email some of your clients to gather positive reviews. Thank them for their business, ask for a review, and provide a link to your Google account. It’s as simple as that.
Optional: Report a Review to Google
Another option is to report the review to Google (support.google.com) and request its removal. Generally, unless the post violates community standards, represents impersonation, or is a conflict of interest, the likelihood of removal is remote.
Protect Your Good Name
Customers read reviews before purchasing all sorts of products and services. A bad review requires a timely and carefully crafted response. Protect your good name by responding with empathy, objectivity, and a way to resolve the situation. Contact us for additional advice regarding bad reviews or assistance writing a response.