Receiving negative reviews for your business can hurt. You’ve worked so hard to get your business running and yet, your customers aren’t satisfied.
While it can be tempting to delete or ignore negative Google reviews, this will only do further damage to your reputation. The best solution is to take the time to respond.
Reviews have the power to attract or deter customers. According to a 2022 study, more consumers are reading online reviews than ever before. In fact, 77% of people read Google reviews when looking for local businesses.
So, why are Google reviews important? With enough reviews, you can:
- Establish your credibility
- Build your business’ reputation
- Build social proof
- Attract new customers
- Increase customer satisfaction
- Create a sense of community
- Build a dialogue
- Find ways to improve your products or services
Responding to all Google reviews, both positive and negative, is crucial. Recent research has found that 89% of consumers are highly likely to use a business that responds to all their reviews.
Think about it, if someone searches for your brand, what do you want them to find? A long string of unanswered complaints? Or a genuine, respectful dialogue between you and your customers?
There's no need to fear bad reviews. They can actually benefit your business. Here's how:
- Bad reviews make good reviews look more authentic and realistic
- Bad reviews help customers to make purchase decisions
- Bad reviews give you the chance to build trust
- Bad reviews also help with SEO (they often have your keywords)
- Bad reviews show you weaknesses in your business
If a customer takes the time to leave you a negative review, then they want to be heard. Since your Google page is public, anyone who visits will be able to see both the reviews and your response. This is why correctly responding to a negative review is so important.
How to respond to negative reviews:
1. Respond Quickly
Responding correctly to negative reviews and not removing them from your page is important but so is replying quickly. Remember, 42% of consumers who post a negative review on social media expect a reply within 60 minutes. It’s best to respond to all reviews within 24 hours. You want the customer to feel like a priority and that their voice is valued. A delayed response to a review can communicate that your business is disinterested and doesn’t care.
When responding to a complaint, listening and understanding is crucial. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes, be genuine and sympathetic with your response. Through showing compassion and kindness to your customer, you can regain their trust.This also demonstrates to potential and current customers that you strongly respect and value their support.
It sounds simple, but actually saying ‘sorry’ is important. Even if the issue was not your fault, you still need to apologise. Showing empathy towards your customer has been proven to improve customer satisfaction by 74%! Make sure you have addressed every issue the customer had to show you have understood their complaint. Sincerely apologise for the trouble and or inconvenience that has been caused.
4. Make it Personal
When responding to a negative review, make sure you take the time and effort to personalise your response. Include the customer’s name and be specific about their situation. Don’t use an automated or generalised response. Customers can tell the difference between a genuine response and an automatic one.
5. Find a Solution
It is then important to resolve the complaint. Reassure the customer that your company will find a solution to their problem that they have encountered. Then invite them to contact you privately by leaving your company's contact details in the comment. By publicly diffusing the negative review you can benefit your business. It is important for customers to see how you respond to reviews (especially negative ones), as it says a lot about your company and its values.
If at all possible, also try to avoid using your company's name and or location in your reply. This makes it unlikely that the negative review will be ranked in the search engine.
Remember, every message, comment and review is an opportunity for your business to grow. Receiving genuine feedback is great for highlighting areas of your company that need improvement. Take all reviews, whether constructive or not, on board to better your company and your customer experience. You only have a business if you have happy customers.
Google Review FAQs
Why do I need Google Reviews?
Google reviews give you increased exposure and customer trust. Google makes it easy to collect feedback from your customers through a short survey. With Google Reviews, you can build brand awareness, attract new customers, establish social proof, and find ways to improve.
Are Google Reviews mobile friendly?
Yes, they are available for both mobile and desktop.
Is my business eligible for Google Reviews?
To participate, your website must include an order confirmation page and you must adhere to Google’s product policies. These include:
- Do not make false or misleading claims
- Be transparent with all company and product information
- List and risks, or relevant disclaimers, associated with your product
- Provide accurate contact information
Can I turn off or disable Google Reviews?
No. You can’t turn off Google Reviews without permanently closing your business. Even if your business is permanently closed, old reviews will still show.
If you are suffering a review attack, Google may disable your Google Reviews function temporarily. A review attack can be:
- if they are triggered by a public backlash due to a media report or social media
- if you are under a fake negative review attack, where a large number of negative reviews are left in a short period of time
How do I remove a bad/negative customer review?
If you feel that a review is inaccurate, dishonest, misleading or defamatory, you can flag it. Reviews can only be removed if they violate Google’s policy. If this is the case, you can report the review to Google and wait for their decision.
- It should not be posted just to manipulate a place’s ratings
- The review is not relevant to your location/business
- General political, social commentary, or personal rants
- Offensive, explicit, dangerous and derogatory content on the comment
- Conflict of interest
- Privacy concerns, personal details are disclosed
- Legal issue
If the review is just a disagreement or issue between you and the customer, then it can’t be removed. The best solution is to respond to the complaint.
How can I remove fake Google Reviews?
If you think a review is fake, you can report it to Google as inappropriate. Google will decide on the outcome within 3 days, and then you can make an appeal if you wish. To prove that it’s a fake review, you will need enough data. Take a look at the reviewer’s profile to determine if they are legitimate.
Removing Google Reviews is a difficult process, and we don’t recommend it. The best solution is to respond to the customer instead.
Looking to grow your business?
Reviews can be a great way to grow your business. If you're looking for more advice on how to level up your marketing and expand your reach, talk to Margin.