What to do When Your Business Gets a Negative Review

September 5, 2014 on Local Search Marketing Blog by Jeffrey Magner

Getting a negative review is no fun – but it’s not the end of the world! Actually research has shown that people are less likely to trust a business with ONLY positive reviews. Really! Readers of reviews are most familiar with movie reviews or lengthy reviews on books at Amazon.com and basically they all know how to filter out the reviews that don’t really pertain to them. When was the last time a movie or a book had 100% positive reviews? It rarely (if ever) happens.

What the reader – your potential new client or customer – is looking for is this:  “Will this business (or “movie” or “book”) be something I’d like?” and then, “Should I choose THIS one?” Ultimately its up to the discernment of the reader. Of course, all of humans have our own manner of discernment.

So rest easy if you just got a negative review. In fact, a negative review is actually a great opportunity for the business owner to make a public comment to the reviewer. If done properly this comment can showcase how well the business takes responsibility for the poor experience of the reviewer and what the business owner is offering to do to make it right for the customer. This can have a greater impact to a reader than scrolling through a list of 5-star reviews! Would it make a difference to you?

Of course, the best strategy is to avoid getting bad reviews. If most of your reviews are negative or you have negative reviews on multiple websites, people will simply not visit your website or choose your company. They’ll go someplace else. Or worse – they might share via word of mouth how they heard/read that your business is perhaps “not that great”. One easy example is my own personal experience shopping for tires here in Boulder, Colorado. I looked up “Tires, Boulder” on Google and saw the reviews for Big O tires and Discount Tires – and they were just horrible. Those were the tire shops that I was most familiar with, so what to do? I dug deeper into Google and found Barnsley Tires. Barnsley is a die-hard local Mom & Pop that it turns out is “where the locals go” to get their tires.

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If you suspect and can prove that the negative review(s) was written by a competitor or a disgruntled employee, you could threaten to sue for damages. You might just win. But really the best approach may be to use this as a tactic to request the unscrupulous reviewer to log in and remove the review(s) they wrote.

Ultimately, if you do great work and do your best to make your customers happy, you’ll eventually have some great reviews. The number of online reviews of your business will affect your ranking. The next time a customer is really thrilled it’s fine to ask them to review you online. They might just make your day!

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