Managing Negative Google Reviews (And Turning Haters Into Raving Fans)

Managing Negative Google Reviews (And Turning Haters Into Raving Fans)

January 21, 2022
(Reading time: 3 - 5 minutes)

Maintaining a healthy online presence is vital for the well-being of your business. Before making any sort of purchase or committing to a certain company’s services, most people will first look up their reviews online.

And if the average review score for your business is less than 4 stars, chances are they will turn to your competitors with a better score instead.

The problem with reviews is that people are much more likely to share negative experiences with your product/service than positive ones. So, even if you think your business is perfect, a bad review is an inevitability rather than a possibility. 

And just leaving one unattended is a terrible practice: it will both show people that you provided a poor product/service and didn’t even bother to do anything about it.

The Best Way To Combat Negative Reviews 

If you only have a dozen reviews and one or two of them are negative ones, their impact is much greater than if you have hundreds of positive reviews and only a few negative ones.

The reality is that most people satisfied with your business don’t leave reviews. So, bad reviews can really skew the picture for your potential customers. It significantly impacts your brand reputation, conversions, ROI and can even cause you to lose sleep over a really bad review. 

This is why you need to encourage all your customers to leave reviews. One easy and effective way of doing so is by sending your users an email after making a purchase, or, if you have an application, have a pop-up window asking them to leave a review.

A lot of people will simply ignore the first prompt, but if you set up a couple of follow-ups with your email software, and they truly are satisfied with your service, you will start seeing a lot more positive reviews racking up. 

Reply To ALL Of Them

It is a really good practice to reply to all customer feedback, both good and bad.

I know that sometimes it can feel that the review is unjustified and there is simply no pleasing some people. It can be tempting to let your emotions get the best of you, but you absolutely have to stay calm and composed, especially if the reviewer is very angry. 

It’s best to respond to feedback as soon as you can (within 24 hours is perfect), but don’t rush to the keyboard as soon as you see it.

Before writing your answer, try to gather as much information about the incident as you can. What exactly happened: is it the service they’re angry about, did they receive a faulty product, did they feel the price was unfair, etc.

The very first thing you should type in your answer is:

[Name of the customer],

Thank you for your feedback.

You still have to thank them, even if it's terrible feedback. Next, you should acknowledge the issue with a line like:

We are very sorry about the inconvenience we caused you with [incident]. This is not the way we want to run things at [Company] and we want to sincerely apologize.

However, apologies alone are unlikely to change the opinion of an unhappy customer. So another crucial thing you need to include in your apology is how you plan on making it right for them.

Will you fully refund their purchase, send them a complementary product, or offer them a discount for their next purchase? It is very situational, so decide accordingly to what happened.

A good idea would be to prepare a template response and personalize it a little bit for every bad review you have to deal with.

If you deal with it professionally, you may even turn the reviewer into a happy customer, and replying to every single bad review in a calm, professional, and helpful way will show everybody that you’re a great company that cares about its audience.

Dealing With Inappropriate Comments

You should never delete reviews and always reply to them. However, there are certain situations where you would be right to remove a comment, according to Google’s rules.

Note: before you flag a comment as inappropriate, you should still respond to it and thank them for their feedback.

There are three cases in which you are able to flag a comment as inappropriate:

  • When it includes hate speech or profanity;
  • When it includes spam as well as promotions or mentions of other products/services;
  • When it is irrelevant (for example, if somebody gets robbed in front of your cafeteria, god forbid). 

Summing Up

So, you need to answer every single review - both bad and good. For bad ones, you always need to thank the person for their feedback, acknowledge the problem, and offer some type of solution.

The end goal here is not to dismiss or delete a bad review (even though it might be tempting), but provide such an amazing customer experience that the reviewer changes their mind and leaves a good review instead.

Written by: Vlad Orlov  |  January 21, 2022

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