No matter how well you run your business, bad reviews are bound to happen. If they are not leaving you a bad review, then they are leaving one for the coffee shop down the street. Although the first inclination is to take it personally, it is important to take the review with a grain of salt and respond calmly and properly. This review serves as your guide for how to overcome negative Google reviews.
How to overcome negative Google reviews in 8 steps
Below are eight steps to overcoming negative Google reviews. This should help your overall online reputation and subsequently allow you to acquire more customers and guests in the future, whereas a poor response to negative Google reviews could hold back your business.
Step 1: Assess The Negative Google Review(s)
First, you should assess the validity of the Google review. Someone may have simply had a bad day, and the review may not necessarily reflect on the quality of the service you provided for them. In other cases, the bad review may be valid, in which case you may need to address the reason for the bad review (more on this below).
Additionally, if the review came from someone who has never interacted with your business and/or is a part of a negative SEO campaign, then Google may remove the review. However, Google does not do this often, so you may need to provide support for your claim.
Step 2: Address The Reason for The Bad Review
Although someone may have simply had a bad day and taken it out on you, there are instances where bad reviews are valid. It helps to review all reviews, and if they are determined to be valuable, correct the reason for their concern. For example, if someone leaves a bad review because the server at your restaurant was rude to the customer, then you can simply address the concern with the server and ensure it never happens again.
Step 3: Respond Calmly and With Professionalism
Your first reaction may be to respond to the bad review strongly and defend yourself, especially if the bad review is not entirely accurate or true. However, this may do more harm than good. Instead, it is usually best to respond calmly and not in a defensive manner. Here are several tips for responding properly:
- Respond within the first several days
- Acknowledge their concern
- Apologize for their bad experience
- Suggest taking the discussion offline
Often, prospective customers are more interested in the response to a bad review than the bad review itself. A calm and compassionate response shows that you are the bigger person and care about your customers.
Step 4: Actively Collect Google Reviews and Testimonials
The best antidote to negative Google reviews is positive Google reviews. Quite simply, you want to collect as many good reviews as you can. There are several ways to encourage customers to leave reviews on Google. We recommend email campaigns above all else, especially if you regularly collect email addresses. If you are an in-store business such as a restaurant or hotel, then you can leave a note at your place of business kindly encouraging your customers to leave a review.
Step 5: Stay Active on Social Media
Google is just one of many outlets where your customers go to share their experiences. If you are not active on social media, then you may miss prime opportunities to collect good reviews and testimonials.
Step 6: Automate Your New Review Alerts
You can set up and automate your new review alerts with Google Alerts. This gives you the opportunity to quickly review any new Google reviews left on your business page and properly respond to them. A fast response can go a long way in showing future customers that you care about their experience.
Step 7: Monitor Review Sites Regularly
There are more review sites that you should monitor. Ensuring the best possible online reputation should include having a strong response presence on all sites. Like Google, you can allow for alerts with most of the sites so you can respond promptly to each one you receive (both good and bad).
Step 8: Consider a Press Release
A press release is a great way to respond to a large number of negative Google reviews. In this case, your average Google rating may hold you back from future business, particularly if it is significantly lower than competitors. A press release and/or rebranding is a great way to show that you take the complaints seriously and that you intend to improve your operations and improve your online reputation.
Tunl Agency Offers Online Reputation Repair Services
We offer online reputation repair services to help you properly respond to bad reviews (along with other reputation management services). To learn more and get started, contact us today.