You can’t stop people from leaving negative online reviews, but you can handle them in a way that will increase your rating, reinforce your brand, and improve your search engine ranking.
Some reviews that your company or organization receives will have clear benefits. Positive reviews can entice new customers, with one study even claiming that 76% of people trust online reviews as much as recommendations from family and friend. And some negative-but-constructive reviews can provide valuable feedback. But there’s something to be gained from every review – even the most negative.
If the reviewer had misaligned expectations, it’s a chance for you to reinforce your brand.
Assume you own a busy sports bar, and a customer posts a two-star review complaining that the ambiance was too loud and the food wasn't gourmet.
You have a few options for how to respond: you could deny it (which would be false), or you could tell the customer that you hope to never see their stupid face again (which might be true, but is still better left unsaid) - or you could go with it, acknowledging that your place is noisy and un-fancy and saying you're sorry that wasn't what they were looking for, but you hope to see them again if they're ever in the mood for a spirited
What about the biassed, hateful, and completely awful reviews? Yes, even those can be beneficial to your business. They allow you to answer politely and professionally, demonstrating that you are a pleasant and professional establishment, here’s a guide on how to do that.
Google rewards review responses in its search rankings, As a result, the fact that you're replying at all boosts your SEO. Responding might also persuade the reviewer to alter or delete their review. Furthermore, according to one study, customers spend up to 49% more money at firms who respond to evaluations.
All of this comes with one condition: you must act promptly
An unanswered bad online review is detrimental to your company. Only by proactively tackling it will you see positive results in SEO, customer trust, and brand management.
Incorporate review management into your regular responsibilities, and make sure you're always aware of new reviews for your locations. This can be accomplished by manually checking each location you manage, or by using a review management service like Conversations, which will notify you when reviews are posted at any of your business or organisation's locations and allow you to respond to all of your reviews across all of your locations from the same interface (or delegate this task to a teammate).
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Reviewed & Updated: August 3, 2023