How To Handle A Bad Google Review

Jun 3, 2019 | Google

Reading Time: 7 minutes
Kevin Fouche

How To Handle A Bad Google Review

Posted by Kevin Fouche, Pixel Fish Director

Kevin handles the planning, design, launch and training of every website that Pixel Fish creates. He ensures that every website is highly engaging and aligned with our client’s goals. With over 20 years of design and web industry experience to draw upon, Kevin aims to pass on his knowledge to our clients and like-minded businesses wanting to grow their online presence.

As a business owner, you invest a lot of time and money to ensure your business’s 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’s hard-earned reputation overnight. So what do you do? Let’s look at How To Handle A Bad Google Review.

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

Thankfully, there are some easy ways to minimise the damage. 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 to help you with your reputation management:

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 action and take stock of the situation:

  • Take the time to research your customer –  gather as much information about the customer’s experience as you can, and understand why they posted the negative review in the first place.
  • What did they buy?
  • What did they expect to get?
  • How was their experience different from what they expected?
  • What is their transaction history?
  • Are they first-time customers or longer-term customers?
  • 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 – When you respond to a customer’s bad review, be sure to do it thoughtfully and professionally. Let them know that you are taking their feedback seriously and address any of their concerns.
  • Take action and 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, 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 seeing 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 reviews with a good one if you deal with their issues quickly and efficiently, allowing them to feel heard. Some may even offer to delete their lousy review and leave one. If you’re pleasant and helpful throughout the process, it often takes a gentle prod, and a customer happy with your solution can change their review to reflect the 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 contacting 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 can fill 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, the good ones should always outnumber any negative reviews, 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.

Other helpful information regarding Google My Business Reviews

Tips for how to request Google My Business Reviews

Google My Business Reviews is a great tool for businesses. However, it’s important to remember that any reviews should be honest and not incentivised. You can find out more information on Google’s policies regarding reviews here. Additionally, there are some best practices you can follow when requesting reviews:

  • Be specific in your request – don’t just ask for a review, but explain what you are looking for feedback on.
  • Be clear about the time frame – let customers know when they can expect to receive your request and how long you would like them to spend writing their review.
  • Provide all necessary links – be sure to include any information that customers might need to access in order to leave a review, such as a link to your Google My Business page.
  • Thank customers for their time – always thank customers for taking the time to provide feedback and reviews.
  • Follow up with customers – if you haven’t received any feedback after a reasonable amount of time, reach out again and politely remind customers that you are still waiting for their review.
  • Be proactive – think about how you can make the process easier by proactively addressing any potential issues or questions that customers may have in order to ensure a positive review.

What do potential customers look for when reviewing Google Reviews?

Potential clients look for detailed reviews that reflect the customer’s experience. They want to see honest opinions, including positive and negative feedback, as this helps them better understand the business. Additionally, potential customers often look at how quickly any issues were resolved by the business in order to gauge their responsiveness. Finally, potential clients also look for reviews from various sources, giving them a more rounded view of the business.

Can you feed your Google Reviews onto your website?

Yes, you can easily embed your Google reviews onto your website. This allows potential customers to read the reviews directly on your website rather than visiting a third-party site. Additionally, it provides an easy way for customers to leave their own feedback and help increase engagement with your business. Several plugins make this process easier, and you can also manually embed the reviews using HTML code. Doing this allows potential customers to read reviews without leaving your site – helping provide a better customer experience and build trust in your business.

What other social media platforms offer business reviews?

Aside from Google, several other social media platforms offer business reviews. Popular options include Facebook, Yelp, and TripAdvisor for other reviews. Depending on the nature of your business, you may also want to consider industry-specific review websites such as Zillow for real estate agents or OpenTable for restaurants. Each platform provides a unique avenue to reach customers who may not have found your business through other channels.

To stay on top of reviews, you’ll want to determine which platforms are most relevant for your business and regularly monitor feedback. This helps you identify unhappy customers or areas where your services could be improved – in turn, helping you provide a better customer experience.

Does a Bad Google review impact your Local SEO?

The short answer is yes, negative reviews can have a significant impact on your local SEO. In fact, there are two key ways they can hurt your search engine rankings:

  1. User Experience – Google has sophisticated algorithms that track how users interact with your business online. If you receive negative ratings and feedback, it could indicate to Google that customers are having a bad experience with your business, which could lead to lower rankings in the local search results.
  2. Quality of Content – Google looks for quality content on websites and reviews are an important part of that equation. Poor ratings and negative comments give Google signals that you may not be providing high-quality services or products, potentially leading to lower rankings in the local search results.

Therefore, it’s important to take customer ratings and reviews seriously if you want positive local SEO. Responding to customers promptly and professionally can ensure that their experience with your business is good, leading to more positive online ratings and higher rankings in the search engine results.

Let Sydney’s leading Web Design Agency take your business to the next level with a Pixel Fish Small Business Website.

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Further Reading:
How to set up Google My Business quickly and easily
What is Google My Business and how can it benefit my business

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Kevin Fouché, Pixel Fish Director