responding to negative reviews online blog image

18th April 2019

How to manage negative reviews online

Reviews, whether on Google or Facebook or third-party websites, can be hard to come by but are great trust indicators. Both business to business and business to customer providers benefit from the positive experiences expressed by their clients online, but they can equally become damaged by expressed negative experiences. Negative reviews are commonplace because people can feel more compelled to express a negative experience than a normal or even great experience, because this what they’d expect and hope for. It’s always best to respond to negative reviews online and manage them in-house, but how?

Can you delete or remove negative reviews?

Across platforms like Facebook and Google My Business, you cannot remove a negative review. This is the platforms’ efforts to both keep their users interactive, supply useful metrics to other browsers, and keep each business profile as fairly and impartially rated as possible. You can ‘flag’ a review and provide a synopsis on why you believe it to be fraudulent, inappropriate, or even abusive, but the governing team behind Google and Facebook will weigh these reasons against the review itself. The long and short of it is, you can’t just simply remove a negative review online, so you need to know how to deal with them.

1. You need to respond

If you encounter a negative review, you need to acknowledge it and its author. It’s nigh impossible to control every impression and encounter a client or customer has with your business and sometimes mistakes, miscommunications, and misunderstandings happen. Your client or customer, for a reason unique to them and their experience, feels their service has been compromised and recognition and an apology goes a long way to soothing some of that ill-feeling. Apologising for a negative experience doesn’t actually and directly say ‘we did something wrong’, because you might not have, but acknowledging that they have had this experience is always beneficial to maintaining their business.

2. Control it and take the discussion offline

Regardless of where the review was posted, invite the client or customer to speak with you over email or telephone. This ensures that, if you were somehow at fault, none of the intimate details of their experience are shared online to ward off future business. It also stops the encounter becoming too personal and public, because the ensuing conversation may reveal more about the experience the longer it goes on and your company could be seen as aggressive. Instead, acknowledge their experience and invite them to contact you and your team directly so that you may improve your services and streamline future projects so that this kind of experience can be avoided.

3. Respond to even the fake or spam negative reviews

Some disreputable techniques of slandering the opposition are used by some businesses and companies, such as creating fake accounts that leave negative reviews on their competitors. Google My Business and Facebook both take your average review scores to show to browsers, so even one negative review sprinkled amongst the positive can draw this score downwards. Acknowledging a spam review should always throw a little doubt on the user who left it, but also throw caution to the wind just in case they are a customer or client of yours.

‘Hello [name], we are sorry to learn that you’ve had a negative experience with us. We can’t locate your details on our records but would like to discuss this further with you, so please get in touch with a member of the team to discuss your concerns on __’

A response like this conveys 3 things:

  • It lets other browsers and potential future clients know that while this review is negative, is might be fake or defamatory, so to take it with a pinch of salt.
  • You are actively seeking to better your services and are appreciative of all forms of feedback so that you can continue to serve your clients better.
  • It shows that you value your clients and are listening to their concerns.

Securing future business, both new and returning

Consumers and clients want to be recognised and listened to, otherwise it can feel a little like a conveyer belt. Clients who have had a negative experience, leave a negative review online, and are then reached out to by a member of your team are being listened to, acknowledged, and assured that all measures will be taken so that their complaint doesn’t happen again. This may help you both resolve the issue and they may continue to give you their business because of this interaction. It also shows other people that are browsing your Google My Business or Facebook business page that your team are on top of their reputation management are actively trying to solve the problems of your current clients. This interaction may help to convert future new business, as you are acknowledging a fault wherever it may lie and working with the client to improve.

Dealing with negative reviews is a sensitive task, but a very necessary one none the less. Regardless of whether it’s a fake or spam review or a real complaint, each needs to be acknowledged and damage controlled to ensure that channels of communication are presented to the complainant. This will better your brand image through reputation management and is just another small task that could make the difference between retaining that business relationship or letting it go.

For reputation management across social media, Google My Business, and our third-party review platform recommendations, speak to a member of the Cosmetic Digital team on 01159 140 640 today.

Jump to the top