It happens every few months. I get a call from a client who is frantic because they got a bad Google review. The call usually goes like this:
“Meg I just got a 1 Star review and they said really bad stuff about us. You have to call Google right now!”
If only it were that easy.
These reviews are on the Google My Business Platform which doesn’t have much support, so here’s my suggestions for handling a bad review:
- Don’t respond in the heat of the moment
Give yourself some time before to calm down before you respond. If you are emotional you might say something that will make you look bad.
- Respond to the review
Be sure to write a response to all your reviews, even the bad ones. Be positive. Don’t recount the entire situation and try to make them look bad in an effort to make yourself look good. This could get them fired up so they write back, and you end up with a long and unpleasant chain of comments. Instead, tell them you are sorry that they had a bad experience and invite them to call you directly so you can address the situation with them. Let people see you taking the high road. Remember, you aren’t really writing this for the complainer. You’re writing this for the general public so be positive and professional.
- Report it to Google
On the Google My Business platform there is an option to report a bad review to Google. However, Google doesn’t usually remove a bad review unless it goes against their policies. If a review is vulgar or inappropriate there is a possibility it will be removed, however they won’t remove a review because it is bad or untrue.
- Get More Good Review
Contact clients and specifically ask them to give you a review. If you add more good reviews, it will push the bad one to the bottom where it is less likely to be seen.
Keep in mind that an occasional bad review is ok. If you only have 5 Star reviews, people might be suspicious that they’re fake. (Yes, that’s a thing! There are people who actually write fake reviews for a living!!) If you have a lot of reviews, people will expect to see a few bad ones, but in that case, they will look to see that you handled them professionally and with class.
About the Author: Meg Huwar is a small business marketing expert and Principal of Brand Accelerator. She and her team work with companies who want to market their business but don’t have the time, experience or staff to do it themselves. Meg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-848-8822.