How to Deal with Negative Reviews in the New Year

What to do about negative reviews— it’s the ugly side of running a business, but one that can’t be ignored. A decrease in your overall rating on business review sites like Yelp or Google Maps becomes a drop in your overall revenue. The new year brings a new opportunity to polish your online reputation. Make it your resolution to have a better star rating by the end of the year, and if you’re already happy with your score, make it your resolution to maintain it. As one of the first companies to tackle the messy business of online reputation management, we know the truth about negative reviews and the measures that must be taken to bring you closer to the coveted four-to-five star rating.

The first thing every business owner wants to know is: how do I remove these negative reviews? What you should know and may not want to hear is— there are no guarantees that a negative review will get removed. If a so-called online reputation expert tells you otherwise, turn and run the other way. It’s true that consumers must adhere to a code of conduct when posting content about a business, and some reviews will have a higher percentage of removal than others. However, the reality is that business review sites are likely to keep negative reviews published. They understand that consumers want to be heard, and as such, business review sites need to maintain a certain level of trust to give consumers a platform to do so. While we have a proven track record of getting negative reviews removed for our clients, every request to remove a review is at the whim of a strict evaluation process. Rather than relying entirely on the removal of reviews, it’s important to put a plan of action in place to uphold a positive rating. Think of it as an insurance policy for your online reputation.

As part of your new resolution to take responsibility of your online reputation, you must make it a point to monitor your reviews regularly. The old fashioned way is to bookmark the links to your online listings and track your reviews and ratings on a weekly if not daily basis. This can, however, get tedious and business owners often find themselves too busy to stay on top of their reviews consistently. That’s where online reputation management companies and software comes in handy. You won’t have to go at it alone; instead, you’ll have a whole team behind you to track your reviews and ratings for you. Technology also makes reputation management easier and much more convenient these days. You can have a personal dashboard set up for your business to track all your business listings at once. With the option of text alerts, you can be notified in real time when a new review comes in, or when a negative review gets removed.

In a consumer-centric era in which the customer wants to have a voice, you need to take it a step further and engage with your customers. You can do this by simply responding to your reviews, both positive and negative. Reputation management software also gives you the ability to respond to your reviews without having to log in and out of each individual account. When it comes to positive reviews, a thank you will suffice. Don’t feel compelled to offer any type of reward in your response. Not only is this in violation of conduct on many review sites, but it also discredits your positive reviews in the eyes of potential customers. Responding to negative reviews gets even trickier. The initial human impulse is to lash out at the customer, which is something you want to avoid completely. That would be equivalent to yelling at a customer in public, and will only make your other customers feel uncomfortable. You should neither blame the customer nor should you admit fault. Instead, try to sympathize with your customer. Offer to make things right and take the conversation offline by having them contact you by phone or direct message.

The last part of your resolution is to think positive. While business owners tend to obsess over getting negative reviews removed, they fail to recognize the power of positive content.  Let the good outweigh the bad. By generating more and more positive content to your online listings, you will, in turn, suppress the negative. This starts at the homefront with personal interface. Make it a point to improve your customer service, and get your team on board to encourage your customers to share their experience online. The sad reality is, most consumers will only leave a review if they have a bad experience, and often forget about the good ones. Remind your customers to share the good times by sending a reminder via text or email. Texting surveys to your customers is another simple and effective way to keep the negative content off your listings. By giving them a chance to critique your business offline, you’ll be softening the blow and decreasing the likelihood of seeing them rant by way of a negative review.

Our reputation management tools are designed with the business owner in mind, making it as easy as possible for you to be proactive about your online reviews and ratings. A resolution to stay on top of your online reputation is a resolution to see greater success and increased revenue.  Fill out your business information below for a free evaluation and learn more about how we can be of service to you in the new year.

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