What about Bad Reviews?
Yes, bad reviews can happen. None of the services outlined in our blog on how to get business reviews guarantee that you will only get good reviews.
So, what to do when a negative review rolls around?
First of all, don’t panic. These things happen, and nobody can please everybody 100% of the time. And whatever you do, don’t respond right away. This business is your livelihood and negative reviews can feel like a personal attack. Don’t respond in kind.
When Should You Respond to Negative Reviews?
Give yourself a day to breathe. If you feel like you can’t wait that long, get a neutral party to craft a response for you. Expert marketers and writers can put together diplomatic responses that may even repair the relationship between you and the unsatisfied customer.
If nothing else, a well-thought-out, polite response lets future customers who are reading that review know that you are a reasonable human being who is willing to attempt to make amends.
How Much Will Negative Reviews Hurt My Business?
That depends. One negative review among several positive reviews will not hurt your business much as far as search engine rankings are concerned. The timing and quantity of reviews is crucial though. A steady stream of positive reviews will hold up marvelously against a negative review here and there.
As far as your customers are concerned, no business is perfect. A one or two negative reviews amongst several positive (try for a 1/8 ratio or better) aren’t likely to deter them much, especially if you’ve responded politely and sincerely to each.
Unfair, Fake, No-good, Obnoxious Reviews
This may come as a shock to you, but not everyone plays fair. Some people are so unscrupulous that they will actually impersonate a customer and leave a false review for your business.
The point of this is usually to injure a competitor’s reputation. However, it can go the other way: some unscrupulous business owners will impersonate their own customers and post glowing reviews about themselves.
This is a terrible idea.
Google has just recently announced an update to their infamous algorithm to help solve the problem of rampant false reviews. Google’s bots take a look at the timeframe in which the review was submitted, the IP address of the user, and other reviews that the user has submitted. If the Google-bots think a review is falsified, the impact of that review is removed from the equation that determines your business’ ranking.
Google hasn’t gone so far as to penalize businesses that leave false negatives or receive false positives – but the fact remains that writing either is just a waste of your time.
That’s All Well and Good for Search Engines – But What About My Customers?
If you are the victim of a fake negative review, though, you may be concerned about what your clients may think. After all, just because Google ignores a negative review doesn’t mean they remove it, and potential customers can still see it.
Many online directory sites have a system in place through which business owners can flag a review as fake. You should definitely take that step. The administrators may not remove the review, but it doesn’t hurt to try. And, as always, a well-thought out response can do much to dissipate the noxious aura of a bad review.
So now you know just about everything there is to know about Business Reviews! This installment has been the last in our trilogy of Business Review blogs. We hope you’ve learned a few things, and of course we encourage you to contact us if you have any questions!