You can’t please everyone. No matter how hard you try, your business will likely get a negative review at some point. If that negative review is posted on an influential blog, forum, or review website, then you can’t just ignore it: you have to face that review head-on and work it to your advantage. Is it possible? Yes. Easy? Not usually.
Deleting isn’t always the best option
Unless the review violates a website’s guidelines, you probably won’t have much luck trying to get it removed. Popular directories like Angie’s List, Google Places, and Yelp won’t let you delete a review unless it violates a specific guideline. Unless the angry customer launches into a racist tirade or threatens you with violence, you’re probably not going to be able to get the review removed very easily.
Besides, if the customer is truly angry about your business, then how do you think deleting a review will make them feel? Maybe they’ll take their anger to the media or launch a blog dedicating to trashing your company. You never know what kind of force you’re dealing with, which is why you should always seize the opportunity to win back that customer.
Respond as quickly as possible on public sites
When people are searching for your business online and encounter a negative review with no response, it’s going to turn them off of a business. But when they see a response to that negative review posted soon after it happened, it could convince them otherwise. Respond to the negative review promptly when it has been posted in a public place. Take care to be proper with your writing and use the right grammar and punctuation.
Apologize to the angry customer for any problems they had with your company. You might not get the angry reviewer to ever enter your business again, but you will show future potential customers that you take customer service seriously.
Encourage customers to leave good reviews
We get it. You had an angry employee working one week and customers left a string of angry reviews about your otherwise friendly business. To combat this negative publicity, dilute your negative reviews with good reviews. No, that doesn’t mean you should spam your company’s page with fluffy reviews written by your own employees. Instead, it means you should encourage customers to leave genuinely positive reviews online. Leave a note on the receipt, for example, or give them a free appetizer voucher if they leave a review.
Hear about negative reviews as soon as they occur with Google Alerts
Google Alerts is a fantastic way to hear about negative reviews as soon as they are posted. Set up a Google Alert here and Google will keep you updated whenever something is posted online about the keyword you chose. Put your business’s name into this form and you’re set to fight back against negative online reviews.
Above all, you should learn from your negative reviews. Clearly your business angered someone, at some point, to a point where they took the time to leave a bad review of your company. Fix whatever problems that person experienced and you’re instantly a better company.