Type “remove Google review” into your Google search bar, and the search engine will return an astronomical 1.9 BILLION results! Clearly, bad customer reviews are on the minds of local business owners and operators.
Every business owner dreads receiving a negative online review from a customer. It’s a justifiable fear, since close to 9 in 10 consumers trust online reviews as highly as recommendations from friends and family, and one negative review can cost your business 30 customers. So, once a customer publishes a negative review on a site like Google, Facebook, or Yelp, what can you do to fix it?
It’s generally very difficult to remove bad reviews from a third-party site like Yelp or Google. You need to be able to:
- Show the site managers that the review violates the site’s terms of service by being “inappropriate” — a subjective area that relies on a judgment call.
- Prove it has been written by a competitor or otherwise fabricated.
- Convince the person who wrote the review to take it down.
Pursuing any of these strategies can mean a long, difficult road with uncertain outcomes. Ultimately, you don’t have complete control over whether a posted review stays or goes.
If you can’t remove the negative review, what’s your recourse when negative feedback pops up and hurts your business? In this case, the best defense is a good offense. Here are some proactive steps you can take to protect yourself and mitigate the damage done by a negative review:
Claim your business listings on review sites like Yelp and Google
By claiming your business’s listings on review sites, you empower yourself as the owner to contact the site manager to request removal of the review, and to respond to reviews directly.
Click for our easy how-to articles:
- How to claim your Google My Business profile
- How to claim your business listing on Yelp
- Create and claim your Facebook business page
- Claim your TripAdvisor listing
- Get your business listed on OpenTable
- How to claim your Foursquare business profile
Refer to our free business listings article for many more!
Respond to negative reviews
Since it’s rare for an online review site to agree to take down a negative review, the next best thing is to acknowledge the customer’s experience by posting a response. This is an important step, since studies show 56%-70% of complaining customers will use a business again if their concern is resolved. Keep your tone empathetic and avoid getting defensive — this can actually be an opportunity to generate more sales. By engaging with customers and resolving their concerns, you can generate repeat business, which can increase revenue by 47%.
Plus, new research from Womply shows that negative online business reviews aren’t necessarily as harmful as you might think. Businesses with between 10 and 25% negative reviews make the most money!
Get more positive reviews from your best customers
Getting more online reviews is one of the most important things you can do to attract customers and increase sales. First, it helps customers find your business online because review content on business rating sites accounts for 10.3% of your local search engine ranking. Second, research from Cornell University professors found that simply encouraging online reviews can improve a business’s online ratings—with one-star gains translating to 39% more revenue—and each additional review you receive increases revenue by .49%.
Just as the social web has enabled consumers to rate businesses like yours, technology empowers small business owners to take control of their online business reputations. Womply allows you to monitor and manage all of your online reviews from one place and respond quickly to minimize any negative impact. Complete the form below for a free demo.