Regardless of your industry of choice, it’s likely that the Internet is filled with customer reviews providing feedback on the various products and services available. The good news is that more often than not, these reviews can be really helpful to improve your SEO. Think of reviews as bonus, user-generated content, which keeps your website relevant in the eyes of search engine algorithms. Those reviews generally include very good reviews with strong keywords, given that real customers provide them in relation to your business.
This applies to negative reviews as well. If you choose to respond to those negative reviews, you’re generating even more keyword-filled content while simultaneously increasing your customer engagement. Still, positive reviews are inevitably going to help you more than negative ones. For instance, positive reviews are a key component to increasing your conversion rates. It’s no secret that reviews have a real impact on people’s decisions to purchase or hire a service. It’s been proven that people are far more likely to become customers if there are reviews available. Google search treats positive google reviews similarly to quality backlinks, in the sense that positive reviews also show Google’s algorithm that your site is trustworthy and popular, making it more likely for you to achieve a high ranking on the search results page.
How Do Negative Reviews Impact Your Business?
The fact of the matter is that eventually, you may encounter a negative online review. This is a normal part of running a business, and to some degree, it can be to your benefit. Websites with nothing but positive reviews are generally met with skepticism, paired with an assumption that either the business owner has gone through the trouble of putting up false or fake reviews or deleted all the negative reviews. So how should you proceed when you receive a negative review? If the review is an honest assessment of your business, then you can address it as discussed above or utilize the feedback to make improvements to your site. However, not all reviews are legitimate.
Some people go out of their way to leave a fake negative review on a site they have never interacted with before. Others willfully misunderstand your business offerings and google reviews in an attempt to get some compensation. Others are still confused and end up leaving reviews for a completely different business on your page. At best, these reviews provide unnecessary clutter, making it more difficult for potential customers to assess your business accurately. At worst, they can actively hurt your SEO.
How Can You Remove a Negative Google Review?
According to a study by ReviewTrackers, 1 in 10 reviews are removed from Google every year.
The most common reasons for removing reviews are:
- Violation of Google’s review policies. This includes reviews that are spam, irrelevant, or contain hate speech.
- Request from the reviewer. Reviewers can request that their reviews be removed for any reason.
- Businesses can also request that reviews be removed, but this is more difficult. Businesses must provide evidence that the review is false or misleading.
Fortunately, Google is on your side. When customers choose to submit a review through Google, they are subject to Google’s terms and conditions, and behavior such as that discussed above is prohibited. Google Reviews that fall under the category of spam, are off-topic, include hate speech, or are dishonest are all in violation of Google’s policies and are eligible for removal. Google takes this issue so seriously that it provides business owners with an easy solution. If you find reviews for your business that are eligible for the review removal here, all you have to do is click on the upper right corner of the problematic review and select “Flag as an inappropriate review.” Depending on your request, Google will then walk you through the next steps to complete the report and delete Google reviews.
While this is certainly the easiest way to deal with the issue and remove negative reviews, it is not always successful, especially when the violation is not so straight forward and easy to prove. If Google decides against removing the review, you can appeal your situation by reaching out to Google’s business support team. The team can be located for contact here. When submitting your appeal, make sure you include as much relevant information as possible. Screenshots and additional details can help strengthen your case.
Finally, if Google still refuses to delete google reviews, you can still respond to it. While the writers of false or misleading reviews are unlikely to act cooperatively, doing so still provides some additional context that can help persuade an otherwise cautious potential customer that your company is in the right. There have been multiple cases where the company so well countered an initial misleading, negative review that its response went viral, completely shifting the narrative and boosting the company’s visibility in the process.
Understanding the Impact of Negative Google Reviews
Negative reviews can have a detrimental effect on your business, leading to lost sales, damaged reputation, and decreased customer trust. It’s crucial to understand the potential consequences of negative reviews and why it’s essential to handle them proactively. By acknowledging the importance of addressing negative feedback, you can take steps to remove bad reviews, minimize their impact and even turn them into opportunities for improvement.
Providing Exceptional Customer Service
Be friendly and helpful
This means going above and beyond to meet the customer’s needs. For example, if a customer is having trouble with a product, offer to help them troubleshoot the issue. Or, if a customer is short on time, offer to expedite their order.
When customers feel like they’re being treated with respect and that their needs are being met, they’re more likely to leave positive reviews. For example, one customer might leave a positive review because a customer service representative went out of their way to help them find a product that was out of stock. Another customer might leave a positive review because a store clerk was friendly and helpful when they were making a purchase.
Here are some specific examples of how businesses can be friendly and helpful:
Greet customers with a smile and a warm welcome.
- Use their name when you address them.
- Be attentive to their needs and concerns.
- Offer to help them find what they’re looking for.
- Be patient and understanding.
- Go the extra mile to make sure they’re satisfied.
- Resolve issues quickly and efficiently.
If a customer has a problem, take steps to resolve it as quickly as possible. This shows the customer that you value their business and that you’re committed to providing a positive experience.
Customers don’t want to have to wait days or weeks for their problems to be resolved. They want their issues to be addressed quickly and efficiently. For example, one customer might leave a positive review because a company quickly refunded their money after they received a defective product. Another customer might leave a positive review because a restaurant manager immediately comped their meal after they received the wrong order.
Here are some specific tips for resolving issues quickly and efficiently:
- Listen carefully to the customer’s complaint.
- Gather all the relevant information.
- Identify the root cause of the problem.
- Develop a solution that will resolve the problem.
- Communicate the solution to the customer.
- Follow up to ensure that the customer is satisfied.
Go the extra mile to make sure customers are satisfied.
This could mean offering a refund, a free replacement, or even a personal apology. By going the extra mile, you’ll show customers that you’re truly sorry for any inconvenience they’ve experienced and that you’re committed to making things right.
Customers appreciate businesses that go the extra mile to make them happy. For example, one customer might leave a positive review because a hotel gave them a free upgrade after their room wasn’t ready when they arrived. Another customer might leave a positive review because a restaurant gave them a free dessert after they had a long wait for their food.
Here are some specific examples of how businesses can go the extra mile:
- Offer a refund or a free replacement for a defective product.
- Compensation for a customer who had a bad experience.
- Personal apology to the customer.
- Free upgrade or service.
- Gift card or discount.
Requesting Feedback and Google Reviews
Send out surveys
This is a great way to get feedback from customers about their overall experience with your business. You can ask them about their satisfaction with the product or service, the customer service they received, and whether they would recommend your business to others.
Surveys are a great way to get feedback from a large number of customers. You can use this feedback to identify areas where your business can improve. For example, one survey might reveal that customers are unhappy with the wait times for customer service. This information could help you to improve your customer service process.
Here are some tips for creating effective surveys:
- Keep the survey short and to the point.
- Ask clear and concise questions.
- Offer a variety of answer options.
- Thank customers for their time and participation.
Ask customers to leave Google Reviews.
This is a great way to get your business noticed by potential customers. When people see positive reviews about your business, they’re more likely to do business with you.
Online reviews are a powerful way to influence customer behavior. When potential customers see positive reviews about your business, they’re more likely to choose your business over your competitors.
Here are some tips for asking customers to leave reviews:
- Be polite and respectful.
- Explain the benefits of leaving a review.
- Make it easy for customers to leave a review.
- Thank customers for their time and participation.
- Simply ask them for their feedback in person. This is a personal way to get feedback from customers. When you ask them in person, you can get a better understanding of their experience and why they’re happy or unhappy with your business.
In-person feedback is often more valuable than feedback that you get through surveys or online reviews. This is because you can ask follow-up questions and get a better understanding of the customer’s experience. For example, you might ask a customer why they’re unhappy with your product or service. This information could help you to improve your product or service.
Send a thank-you email with a link to the customer’s review.
This is a great way to show your appreciation for their business and to encourage them to leave a review.
Thank-you emails are a great way to show your appreciation for customers. They’re also a great way to encourage customers to leave reviews. For example, you might include a link to your business’s Google reviews page in your thank-you email. This could encourage customers to leave a review about their experience with your business.
Call the customer to see how they’re enjoying their purchase.
This is a more personal way to follow up with customers. You can ask them about their experience with the product or service and see if there’s anything else you can do to improve their experience.
Personal follow-ups are a great way to build relationships with customers and to get feedback on your business. For example, you might ask a customer if they have any suggestions for how you could improve your product or service. This information could help you to improve your business and to provide a better experience for your customers.
Responding to Negative Google Reviews
Listen and empathize.
When a customer leaves a negative review, it’s important to listen to their concerns and to empathize with their experience. This shows that you’re taking their concerns seriously and that you care about their experience.
Here are some tips for listening and empathizing with a negative review:
- Read the negative review carefully.
- Try to understand the customer’s perspective.
- Acknowledge the customer’s concerns.
- Express your empathy.
Investigate and gather information.
Once you’ve listened to the customer’s concerns, it’s important to investigate the issue and to gather as much information as possible. This will help you to understand what happened and to resolve the issue.
Here are some tips for investigating and gathering information:
- Speak to the customer directly.
- Review your records.
- Contact other employees who were involved.
- Craft a personalized response. Once you’ve investigated the issue and gathered the information, it’s time to craft a personalized response to the customer. Your response should address the customer’s concerns directly and should be sincere.
Here are some tips for crafting a personalized response:
- Be clear and concise.
- Address the customer’s concerns directly.
- Be sincere.
- Offer a solution or explanation.
- Take action to resolve the issue. Once you’ve responded to the customer, it’s important to take action to resolve the issue. This could mean offering a refund, a free replacement, or even a personal apology.
Here are some tips for taking action to resolve the negative review:
- Make sure the customer is satisfied. This is the most important thing. If the customer is not satisfied, they’re likely to leave a negative review even if you take action to resolve the issue.
- Apologize for the customer’s experience.
- Offer a solution that addresses the customer’s concerns.
- Follow up with the customer to make sure they’re satisfied.
- Learn from the experience. Once you’ve resolved the issue, take some time to reflect on what happened. What could you have done differently to prevent the issue from happening in the first place? What can you do to improve your business so that this doesn’t happen again?
- Review your policies and procedures.
- Train your employees on how to handle customer complaints.
- Make changes to your product or service to improve the customer experience.
Here are some additional tips for resolving negative reviews:
- Be timely. Don’t wait days or weeks to respond to a negative review. The sooner you respond, the more likely the customer is to be satisfied with the outcome.
- Be personal. Address the customer by name and use a tone that is respectful and professional.
- Be clear and concise. State the issue that the customer is having and explain how you plan to resolve it.
- Be sincere. Apologize for the customer’s experience and let them know that you value their business.
- Be proactive. Don’t wait for the customer to contact you. Reach out to them and offer your assistance.
By following these tips, you can increase the chances of resolving negative reviews in a way that benefits your business.
Encouraging positive Google reviews and responding to negative reviews are important ways to improve your business’s online reputation. By following the tips in this article, you can increase the chances of getting positive reviews and resolving negative reviews in a way that benefits your business.