It’s hard not to take a negative review personally. That’s your business they’re talking about! And while you may not be able to ever one hundred percent prevent negative reviews from appearing (for one of a few reasons out of your control), there are things you can do to try and stop them.
Why do people write negative reviews?
It’s probably for one of these three reasons:
- A customer or client feels unheard after a negative experience.
- A customer or client has not gotten their way and is feeling a wee bit spiteful.
- A competitor sees you as a threat and is trying to devalue your online reputation.
We have the solution for all of these, so keep on reading!
5 Steps for Preventing Negative Reviews
- Manage Any Negative Reviews You Have Already
Before you do anything, you need to take a look at why people are leaving you negative reviews. Analyse every negative review and assess if it is a legitimate review or not. Once you know, take these steps.
Illegitimate Negative Reviews
To start, we’ll note it is illegal to have legitimate reviews removed, so most platforms will take any claims very seriously and may not remove if evidence cannot be provided. Every platform is slightly different, however most will ask for some sort of evidence.
Here are the steps to take to remove a negative review on your Localsearch business profile:
1. Read our Content Integrity Policy to assess if the review does not meet our guidelines.
2. Email [email protected] with your name, business name, relationship to the business and reason for requesting the review to be removed. Reasons may include defamation (although opinions are not defamatory, only direct accusatory statements), not being a customer/client and extremely vague reviews.
3. If you are claiming the reviewer is not a customer of yours, we are required to email the reviewer and request evidence, so ensure all claims are legitimate.
4. Please include any supporting documents, if possible.
Your claim will then be processed by our team within 2 business days.
Please note, as a platform, we must investigate claims within reason and may not be able to remove a review. You can learn more about the legal requirements of both platforms and businesses on review platforms in our Online Reviews Best Practice Guide.
Legitimate Negative Reviews
You can’t make everyone happy (although we do explain a way to filter out unhappy customers in Step 2 below). While negative reviews can be a blow to the heart, they can actually be good for business.
92% of consumers say they tend not to trust businesses with ALL positive reviews (OMG National).
What matters to them is how you handle negative reviews. People want to see what happens if something were to go wrong. This is when you should reply to any negative reviews, remaining calm, professional and offering a solution.
If they have not provided a name you can find in your system, encourage them to contact you to resolve the matter offline. Of course, if you can find them in your customer management system, you can contact them and attempt to resolve their problem, and if achieved, see if they’d be happy to amend or remove their review.
What not to do when replying to a negative review:
– Point fingers or accuse the customer/client.
– Be unprofessional (no matter how much you want to be, just grit your teeth).
– Not reply at all.
Note: You should also reply to positive reviews thanking them for their business and welcoming them back.
- Use a Review Management tool to Filter Out Unhappy Customers
Every now and then, you’ll get a negative review from a customer or client you had no idea was unhappy. This is where a review management system can catch them before they leave an online review.
What is a review or reputation management tool?
A reputation tool lets you bulk email or SMS customers or clients asking them how they found their experience with your business. There will be a link taking them to a customisable landing page, where the person can rate you out of five. If they select one, two or three stars, they’ll be met with a feedback form. This gives you a chance to handle the matter offline.
But that’s not all a reputation management tool can do.
- Increase Your Positive Reviews
What about people who rate you four or five stars via your reputation management tool? Well, they’ll be asked if they’d like to leave you a review on your Localsearch business profile, Facebook, Google My Business listing or other platform, with direct links to each. Most people don’t leave positive reviews because they simply don’t think about it or forget to do so. You can also add a reminder to invoices or receipts as well as a link to your reputation tool landing page in your email signatures.
Why are online reviews important:
– Increases trust in your business, products, services and staff.
– Acts as the online version word of mouth for your business.
– Provides a positive impact on your search engine optimisation.
– Makes customers and clients feel connected with your business.
- Claim Your Listings
People, especially those looking to harm your reputation, tend to leave negative reviews where you’re not active. They’ll assume there is less chance of you knowing about the review and possibly having it removed.
Even if you don’t plan on being active regularly on a platform, or it’s not the sort of place you regularly update (like you would social media), create or claim the listing.
Places to ensure your business is located online:
– Facebook (with a business profile).
– Google My Business.
For a full list, check out our FREE backlinks guide.
- Be Proactive with Your Customer Experience
This one goes without saying, but the number one way to prevent negative reviews is to provide a good experience. The funny thing is, your negative reviews can help you in this area by letting you know where people are not enjoying your products or services—it’s just a matter of being proactive with advice. It’s one of the reasons replying to negative reviews is so important.
Tips for crafting the perfect response to a negative review:
– Thank them for their feedback.
– Acknowledge like any business or person, you’re always looking for ways to improve.
– Encourage them to contact you or let them know someone will be in touch to resolve the issue.
– Provide a contact name and/or details, which can also be seen by others who may direct negative feedback there instead of your online platform.
By following these 5 steps for preventing negative reviews, you should create a more balanced reputation across the internet. The more places you can control your reputation, the better—so get to it!