I got a call from a client the other day. He got a couple of bad reviews on Google from people he’d never worked with and asked what to do about the situation. Here’s the advice I gave him, which I’m including here as I’m sure he’s not the only one who’s faced this issue:
- If the review is indeed fraudulent, report it to Google and hopefully they’ll remove it. Only do this if they’re indeed fake reviews though—this is not a strategy for countering legitimate bad reviews.
- If the review is not flattering but legit, publicly reply to the review in a professional way, explaining your policies and commitment to quality work. The audience is other potential customers, not the asshole who wrote the mean review. You might be justified in firing back at the reviewer, but this will just make you look bad. Instead take the high road! Use this as an opportunity to showcase your customer service skills and how you deal with unhappy customers.
- The best defense against negative reviews is a proactive offense – aka a ton of positive reviews. Get in a habit of asking all your happy customers for reviews. If you have fifty 5-star reviews, a couple 1-star reviews won’t matter much. Whereas if you have a couple good reviews and a couple bad reviews, your overall average will be negatively affected.
Navigating positive and negative feedback is part of running a business. Although you have no control over what customers say in a review, you can always reply professionally and learn from the experience. Finally, stay ahead of the game by encouraging your biggest fans to leave reviews, which helps to protect your business from future critics.