You Got a Bad Google Review - Now What?
Consumers may not realize it, but they have more power than ever when it comes to complaining about poor service, or a product that didn't perform as advertised.
With social media platforms, Google Reviews, Trip Advisor and others, it has become incredibly easy for consumers to have their say when they feel they've been ripped off, or for that matter, when they've received great service and want to tell the world how happy they are.
What happens though when the consumer isn't fair and has an axe to grind for whatever reason? Many companies are grappling with ways to deal with unfair reviews and I recently worked with one.
A Bad Review
Last month I got a call from a businessman who I did media training for several years ago who told me he needed my help. His company had an unpleasant experience with consumers and they had given his company a bad Google review. He asked how he should handle it.
He told me what happened and sent me information to review and when I got back to him I told him things like this happen all the time (although certainly not to his company with 5-star reviews aplenty), and secondly, they needed to deal with the review quickly and professionally. His company had a response prepared, so he sent it to me and I did some editing and sent it back to him to review and respond online to the Google review.
Upon further review, I felt there may be grounds to have the review removed by Google. Many people don’t know they can make that request. In fact, I found a phone number so my client could talk directly with people at Google to plead their case. Understandably Google doesn’t want to get into who’s wrong and who’s right, but it will take down a review if it feels inappropriate language is used, racism or sexism is involved, or someone is being bullied.
It appears the bad review will remain online, because Google rules weren’t violated, but really – is that such a bad thing?
You Can't Keep Everyone Happy
Let’s face it, nobody wants a bad Google review. It makes prospective clients think twice and it affects your overall ranking. Unless you have dozens and dozens of reviews, a single 1-star review can affect your overall total average score.
I believe people are smarter than we sometimes give them credit for and they can take a look at a bad review and decide whether they even want to consider it. When they look at a bad review, they also see a professional response from the company and then have to decide who to believe. If there are 50 4-star and 5-star reviews, and only one poor one, I know who I’m going to believe.
Five years ago, my family and I went to a resort in Sint Maarten. We looked at Trip Advisor reviews before and right after our trip. When we got home we saw negative reviews from people who were at the resort the same time as we were. All of us wondered how it was possible people could complain about that resort. It wasn’t a 5-star property, but it was terrific.
This summer my wife and I went to a resort in Saint Lucia. I saw a review from a person who had been there who was complaining about the pepper not coming out of the pepper shakers properly because the holes were too small. People – be better!
Four Things To Do
I advise companies getting a poor Google review, or bad review on any website, to do the following:
1. Respond quickly and professionally to the poor review. Be polite and if there’s a way of fixing the problem try to do so. People can edit their reviews, so if you’re able to try to make it up to the reviewer, they may change their online review.
2. Understand that poor reviews aren’t such a bad thing because in many cases, people look to see how the company responds to a negative review. In some cases, even a negative review can produce positive results because if the company responds in a positive manner, it sends a clear message to potential customers that the ownership cares, and tries to be better. Negative reviews that don’t have responses from the company also send messages that the customer was likely right to say what they did. Sometimes silence can be deafening.
3. Step up the pace in asking for reviews from your happy customers. The more good reviews you get, the quicker the negative one gets buried. Most people will only look at the first 10-15 reviews to give them an idea of what people are saying about the company. They may never see the bad review.
4. Acknowledge all reviews even if they’re extremely positive. Do this on a daily basis to show you’re on top of things.
Social media has given consumers power they never had before. Companies need to be concerned about their image and especially what others are saying about them online.
Now about those pepper shakers..….