Handling Online Reviews For Your Business

Handling Bad Reviews Online

Your online reputation needs to be an essential part of your business plan and responding to online reviews helps build up your business. When customers search for you, they are more likely to choose you over a competitor based on your business reviews.

Build an inviting and comfortable environment your customers will want to interact with. Knowing that your online presence is the first impression that your potential customers will see - make it a good one.

Why You Should Care About Good Reviews

You might think - great review, so there is nothing that I need to do. That couldn't be further from the truth. You need to cultivate good reviews so that they can be great. Giving positive feedback can boost search results and provide any potential customer more reasons to choose you. Help create a better reputation for your company and thank those that take the time to leave a review.

How To Respond To Good Reviews

There are some significant elements that you should be adding to every response - yes, you will need to respond to everyone. Your customer took the time to leave you a review so it is important to make sure it means something to your business.

  • Handling Online ReviewsSay, thank you - I know it seems like a no-brainer, but it's important and often forgotten.
  • Mention the product/service they used.
  • Call them by name - well, username.
  • If it's natural, use your business name - "We are so glad you stopped by, and the team here at Site Smart Marketing is thrilled to hear such amazing feedback."
  • Ask them to come back and try something new - "We are so happy you love our SEO package! Did you ever consider signing up for web maintenance? We are running a special right now. Thank you for your continued loyalty!"

You can turn a positive review into a great promotion for your business, but you can also make a customer for life. Never take for granted that your customer/client knows how much they mean to you.

How To Respond To Bad Reviews

When you receive a negative review, it could feel like a personal attack against you and your company - stop and think about the situation because it is not a personal attack. When someone expresses concern, this is an excellent opportunity for you to create a better customer experience. If you don't respond to the review in the appropriate way it could damage your online reputation.

When responding to anything negative, have a plan, and get the conversation offline as quickly as you can. Here are some tips for dealing with negative comments.

  • Handling Online ReviewsApologize for the situation.
  • Move the conversation offline to someone that can help them.
  • Keep it simple in your response - "Hi John, we are sincerely sorry for the negative experience you had. We want to learn more about what happened and do everything we can to earn back your business. Please call Jane at (999) 999-9999 at your earliest convenience, and we look forward to speaking with you."
  • Keep a level head because everyone will see your reaction.
  • Never engage in an argument online.
  • Always offer a way to resolve the situation.
  • Don't mention your business name - There is no reason to name your business in the bad review. Just offer solutions to help them.

A little care can go a long way, and it helps to show that you are willing to resolve the situation. Don't offer someone who can't help them either because moving from one person to another can create unneeded tension.

Things You Should Never Consider On Bad Reviews

Some things will never help the situation. I know it might seem like a great idea at the time, but these things will only hurt your business, and damage your reputation so you should NEVER consider doing them.

  • Deleting your account to get rid of reviews - they won't go away, and they will still hurt your business.
  • Calling it fake - this doesn't allow you to save face, and it only makes you look bad to everyone that reads it.
  • Don't delete the negative review if it's an option - deleting it doesn't solve the underlying problem.

The bad is just as important as the good when it comes to your customers. Nobody is perfect, and it is more about how problems are rectified than a perceived view of perfection.

How To Handle Fake Reviews

Handling Online Reviews

There is always a possibility that the negative review you have received is fake. Yes, it happens people can be angry for some other reason or even jealous of competitors. When it looks fake, it is essential to take a step back and deal with it calmly. Here are some tips for dealing with anything fake.

  • Request the entry be deleted.
  • Don't challenge the authenticity because it will be hard for you to recover if it turns out to be real.
  • Know that it may never be taken down, and learn to live with it.

Don't be consumed by the fake review, and just work hard to get positive reviews. Knowing it's up there for everyone to see can be nerve-wracking, but sometimes even your best efforts will not yield the results.

Know Site Policies

You should know how to interact with the community as it pertains to their guidelines. This is beneficial for you in the long run because you will be able to remove reviews for legitimate reasons. After all, they aren't following the rules.

Yelp Reviews




Yelps content guidelines go both ways, and you can have reviews removed if these guidelines are violated in any way. Some keys to getting a review removed on yelp are:
Anything that doesn't address the core of the customer experience

  • Fowl language
  • Threats/harassment
  • If any private information is publicized

Yelp Content Guidelines

Facebook Reviews




Facebook's community standards are essential to who they are, and they will not stand for anyone that violates those standards. The community is free to voice concerns as long as they do it with consideration. Here are the standards the community as a whole is held to.

  • Authenticity
  • Safety
  • Privacy
  • Dignity

Facebook Content Guidelines

Note: Because they don't have separate rules for businesses, all Facebook users are held to these standards.

Google Review Icon

Google's contribution policy is vital to maintain its community of users. When any of these policies have been violated, they will remove any reviews in question. Here are some of the reasons a review will violate that policy.

  • Spam / fake content
  • Off-topic
  • Offensive
  • Conflict of interest

Google Content Guidelines

All removals based on the policies listed above will be subject to a moderator that will decide if your claim is valid and subject to removal. Don't ever rely on reviews to be removed because the moderator could not see it the same as you. However, if you feel that any reviews violate user agreements, it is essential to report reviews and try to remove them.

Asking Customer To Remove Entry

You have to be careful when you ask someone to remove a review. This conversation should always be done privately offline, and only if you have been able to resolve the issue at hand. If you ask someone to remove a review before you help them - they might take exception and feel like you are holding a resolution hostage until they bend to your will.

  • Never ask if you know you can't resolve the situation.
  • Never ask online via reply, direct message, or email.
  • Don't offer money, gifts, or free services to remove reviews.

It is better to live with the negative review then get yourself into a situation you don't want to be in.

Build Your Success

There is much more to online reviews than you may have thought, but following these guidelines can really make a difference to your online reputation. Don't wait - get started now.
Designate one person to respond to reviews.

  • Create a plan on how to respond.
  • Make sure you respond to everyone.
  • Be polite!

Your success will depend on how dedicated you are to sticking with your process that works for you. Get out there and build the customer relationships your organization deserves.