Online reviews are not new, but they are becoming more prominent. This is causing more businesses and customers to pay attention to them. Negative online reviews often capture the attention of viewers, customers and businesses alike.
Two common questions:
- Can I delete a negative online review?
- How do I respond to a negative online review?
Deleting Negative Online Reviews
Normally, you cannot delete negative or any online reviews. Online sources like Google, Facebook, Yelp, etc. do not allow business/organization owners to delete reviews, even if they are on a page that you manage. Facebook allows you to turn off all reviews, but you cannot hide one individual review. I do not recommend turning them off. The better solution is managing them properly. The reason behind this philosophy is to provide reviews that reflect the reality of the business experience to viewers. No business is 100% perfect all the time.
You may want a few reviews that aren’t raving about everything wonderful that you do. People doubt a business that looks too “perfect.” Are they for real? Or is this all made up? Respond to the negative review, address any situation related to it, learn from it and move on. Keep asking for reviews and usually you’ll end up with many more positive reviews than negative. If not, you might have a bigger problem. A few negative reviews sprinkled in occasionally keep you humble and real.
What to do when you receive a negative review?
Negative reviews happen. View them as an opportunity and respond appropriately. How you respond is an example of the customer service people will expect from you. A negative review can be an opportunity to prove how you treat customers. If a person provides a negative review, but are treated with respect, they may become your biggest fan and best customer.
- Pay attention. Monitor your online presence and know what people are saying about you.
- Keep an open mind. It can be hard to hear negative things about your business or organization, but don’t let it upset you.
- Take a step back. If you find the negative review bothers you, give yourself some time to process the feedback before responding.
- Have someone else look at it. Another person may read the review, and the meaning behind it differently than you do. Perhaps, someone dealt directly with the person leaving the review, and can provide an explanation.
- Respond appropriately – always!
- Always respond and acknowledge the review.
- Thank them for their feedback.
- Do not argue or be defensive, online, with someone that leaves a review. This is the only thing worse that not responding!
- Highlight the positives – If the review mentions anything positive, acknowledge that or thank them for visiting your establishment.
- If they are referencing something that you are changing or working on, share that information, and invite them back to try your improved service.
- Be personal, not scripted. Every review response should not be identical.
- Reach out to the customer for more details. Mention this is your response.
- If you have the customer’s contact information email or call them to hear their side of the story.
- If you don’t have their contact information, provide your email or phone number in the response, so they can reach out to you.
- Avoid the trolls. There are people or hackers that will share negative reviews just to be funny or not so funny! Don’t fall for them. It is appropriate to respond with “Thank you for your feedback. We are reviewing this situation.”
- Be timely. Respond within a few days (at most) of receiving a review.
- Learn from it. Are you seeing reoccurring feedback? Maybe there is something that needs to be changed – a process, training, product quality, staff concern, etc.
Want to learn about your online reputation?
Online reviews have been around for a while and they aren’t going anywhere any time soon. Beth was talking about reviews back in 2011 – look at this blog post! Embrace them and use them as a tool. When responding keep a couple key things in mind, be polite and genuine.