Recently, I was working on Search Engine Optimisation for a new client and the subject of a Google My Business Page came up. ‘We don’t want one,’ they said. ‘We don’t want anyone to have a platform to write negative reviews about us. That’s why we don’t have a facebook page, either.’ This is a great family owned business, and they are great at what they do. So why the fear?
‘Well,’ I said. ‘Someone’s already set up a Google My Business Page for you, just so they could write a negative Google review about your business!’
They Googled their business name and sure enough, there it was; a 1 Star Review from an unhappy customer. What to do?
The first thing I did was to claim their Google My Business Page. Then we talked about how to handle the review.
You can’t just remove a Google review because you don’t like it, but you can flag and report a review that you believe violates Google’s Policy (it’s also possible to report fake reviews on Facebook).
Here’s how you can report a review in Google My Business:
- Go to: google.com and select the location you manage.
- Click ‘Reviews’ in the left hand column and look for the three dots beside the review.
- Click ‘Flag as inappropriate’ and follow the prompts.
If the review doesn’t violate Google’s Policy you have two options: 1. Ignore it (which I don’t recommend) 2. Respond to it. Often, how you respond to a negative review can be more powerful than receiving a positive review. Getting it wrong can be catastrophic for your business. So, here’s how you handle a negative review…
- Keep it short and sweet.
- Apologise with sincerity.
- Take it offline. Ask them to contact you directly so you can work through a solution to their issue together.
The business owners I was speaking about earlier decided to respond with a carefully crafted and brief response to the negative review. I also recommended they ask their happy customers to write reviews, so people researching their business could get a better idea of the excellent service they’re likely to receive.
Even the best businesses can’t please every customer every single time, so don’t be disillusioned by negative reviews. Learn from them and respond well.
Google Reviews do play a role in lifting your organic search rankings so be proactive and do send the review link to your happy customers.