No matter how amazing your products may be, or how perfect your customer service is, negative customer reviews are inevitable. You cannot please every customer all of the time. When a bad review happens, especially on the popular third-party review sites, it can hurt your business.
So, what should business owners do about negative online reviews? One of the most common questions asked about negative reviews on third-party review sites is: How can I remove a negative review? The answer is : You cannot. However, this does not mean you cannot do anything at all.
It is usually challenging to get bad reviews removed from a third-party website. You are required to:
- Show the website admins that the review is “inappropriate” and violates the website’s terms of service.
- Prove that the review is false or has been posted by a competitor.
- Convince the reviewer to take it down.
Practicing any of these strategies can mean a steep road with uncertain results. This is because you do not have complete control over whether a published review stays or gets removed. Even if the review is fake, it is complicated to get the third-party website to remove it. And it makes sense. If such websites started removing negative reviews, genuine complaints too would get deleted in this frenzy, and the actual picture of businesses on these websites would be biased or unfair.
Some negative comments do not violate terms of service policy. However, this does not mean businesses cannot get them removed.
There have been cases of businesses achieving great success calling customers and asking them to remove negative reviews. As long as the business is able to convince the customer or pacify his or her agitation, great things can happen.
While no business wants to attract negative reviews, they are bound to happen. Here is our list of six best practices for managing negative online reviews:
- Don’t ignore the bad review: Ignoring a negative customer review may seem like the easiest move, but a polite and professional response is a better plan of action. Professionally responding to negative reviews will not only help establish a long-term relationship with the reviewer but will also indicate that you are trying to fix complaints.
- Offer an apology: Try not to be aggressive or defensive, and never accuse the reviewer of faking or exaggerating the situation. In order to change negative perception, you must explain why the incident occurred. Remember, while you are interacting with the upset customer, potential customers may be reading your replies and thinking whether or not to do business with your company.
- Try to fix the complaint: If the reviewer’s concerns are about poor customer service or damaged product, it is your responsibility to resolve the problem. Customers often post scathing comments to businesses that are trying to escape the blame. Therefore, do not play the blame game, and look for ways to keep such issues from repeating.
- Handle the concern offline, if required: Depending on the nature of the complaint, instead of leaving a public reply, you may choose to reply privately through email. If you are able to resolve the matter to the reviewer’s satisfaction, you can post a comment for the public to read.
- Share reviews with your employees: You must make sure every employee is aware of positive and negative reviews your company has received. Not only will this help in implementing better processes to prevent quality-related issues in the future, but it will also encourage a customer-first approach among your staff.
- Learn from the negative comment: If you accept that the negative review was genuine, the best thing to do is take immediate steps to improve the problem area. Use the input provided by the reviewer to prevent another customer from having a similar experience in the future. Always remember, no matter how rude the review sounds, you should always learn from it.
Online reputation management is critical because negative reviews could severely impact your reputation. The most efficient way to handle negative reviews is to hire reputation management experts. An online reputation management agency will monitor your online presence while implementing proven strategies to help you put your best foot forward.