Most business owners have experienced the nightmare of dealing with a bad review. Sometimes those bad reviews go beyond “bad review” status and are simply created out of anger of a vindictive person – sometimes that person isn’t even a customer. Personal vendettas do live on in the world of Google Reviews. People who are angry and vindictive want to hit you where it hurts and for business owners, it’s in the reputation of your business.
So what do you do when someone leaves a bad review? Can you delete it yourself? Will Google take it down? Is it better to leave it up and respond? What is the best way to handle this situation?
These are questions we hear every day from customers – and YES! There is a good way to handle these reviews. But understand that they can’t always be removed. That choice is in the hands of Google so it’s best to know what to do if Google doesn’t remove it.
If you have an awful review on Google that is derogatory, foul, or offensive – you most certainly can flag it. In fact, you could essentially flag any review, but that doesn’t mean that it will be removed.
Next to the Google Review, you will notice 3 dots, if you click on those dots, you can choose to flag a review. This tells Google that there is an issue and that you want it to be looked at. You will be taken to a screen to report a policy violation.
You can see from the list of choices you are given how you can flag the content of the review. If the review you are requesting to be removed doesn’t fall in one of these categories – it’s probably not going to get removed.
The best way to handle a negative customer review is to reply to it. In fact, a Harris study shows that about one-third of customers who leave negative reviews will delete them or edit them if the company replies and acknowledges the concern.
Keep in mind that the reviews and your replies are public content and that whatever you write will be seen by any potential customers reading your reviews. With that in mind, keep your replies sincere, genuine, and apologetic. Offer a solution or at least direct communication to try to resolve the issue.
If you are able to make some headway with the customer and feel that the relationship is amicable, ask the customer to delete the review. The customer is the only one outside of Google that can delete or change a review. Don’t make this request on Google’s public platform. Ask the customer through a private email or over the phone after a resolution has been made.
Don’t forget to follow up with the customer! Customer service experts will tell you that 77% of customers will only consider reviews that were posted in the last three months. (BUT – older reviews still count toward your overall business rating on Google.) This is important and valuable information because 49% of customers will not buy from a business if it has less than a 4-star rating. Follow up is essential and can motivate a customer who left a bad review to update their review.
In the meantime, respond to all of your customer reviews. Replying to reviews is considered best practice in digital marketing, can help boost your SEO, show the value of your company and grow your reputation. Make Google reviews a priority in your business and call Get Found First today to learn more about how we can help you drive more reviews to Google.