Reputation Management and Negative Reviews
So someone said something bad about you or your company online and now here you are, desperately searching for a way to undo all those ripples of bad PR. There are ways to wave the magic social media wand and get rid of those mean people, but most likely you are about to learn some lesson on dealing with anger that will serve you well in online marketing (couldn’t hurt to try them in your personal relationships too). And remember, you may be able to eventually remove a bad review, but that won’t fix a bad opinion. Try fixing the cause of the problem first and the rest will take care of itself.
A) WHERE IS THE COMPLETLEY UNTRUE REVIEW?
Is it on a site no one really visits or is it on Google? If the negative review happens to be on a smaller site you may be able to remove it easily by calling the company who owns the site and stating your case. However, we only recommend this if you have a good reason (see Do You Deserve It below). For Facebook, simply “X” out the review or “Edit Page” for the Review App to remove the review from your followers eyes (the review will still appear on the reviewer’s feed). For Google, follow these steps:
- Wait. Google only shows the first few reviews, and if you get steady reviews in then the bad review will eventually be pushed to the second or third page.
- Flag. You can “flag” the review as inappropriate with an explanation, and if it does in fact violate Google’s rules they will remove it.
- Vote. At the bottom of the review Google asks “Is This Review Helpful.” Mark ‘no.’ The review won’t be removed but it will hold less clout.
- Respond. The best way to deal with a negative review is publically. Respond ASAP with an apology and offer to fix the problem. Reach out to the reviewer privately with a message that offers them a discount or refund.
- Push It Down. Burying negative content is sometimes the only way to make sure future leads do not see these reviews. Use link building, social media marketing and reputation monitoring to life positive content higher. (Need help? Call us!)
B) DID YOU DESERVE IT?
If a review comes from a recently fired or disgruntled employee, you can sometimes call the review site and explain this case to the representative. Most of the time this falls under jurisdiction to have them remove the review without further question. Here is how to tell what reviews you have control over:
- Well-Written Reviews: Proceed to C. If the review is well-written, not in all caps and contains high school-level grammar or above, you are dealing with a rational and educated person. These reviews won’t be removed easily unless it is by the person themselves.
- Visibly Crazy Reviews: Call the site. If the reviewer is making false claims, making no sense, or just making sentences out of curse words and prepositions, you may be able to get these removed by the site they are posted on. Use your judgment to see if the review is even something that deserves your time (most people won’t hold these reviews against your company).
- Reviews From Ex-Employees: Proceed to A. If the review is unsubstantiated then you can call the site or follow steps to have the review removed. Do not contact the ex-employee
C) HOW TO RESPOND TO ANGRY PEOPLE
This isn’t a free therapy lesson, but the best advice we can give you for removing a bad review. The only person who can sometimes save you is the reviewer, so you better learn how to handle a very angry person who does not want to talk to you. Here are some tips:
- Contact them first and ask if there is a way you can help make things right. Brace yourself.
- Don’t respond with attacks, defense or anger even if they are wrong.
- Apologize sincerely repeating key words they used about their feelings. Keep listening.
- Put them in the power position and ask what you could do to make it better.
- Do what they suggest (within reason) and follow through. All a man has is his word after all.
- Only after No. 6 may you enter the lion’s den and ask if they would mind removing or editing their review. Be tactful and thankful.
- Accept the result either way and know you did your best.
- Concentrate your future endeavors on avoiding the negative reviews to begin with and keeping customers feelings in account. Bad services and products may come along, but waste someone’s time or make them feel unimportant and you are through.
More questions about removing negative reviews? Email us!