How to Deal with a Bad Google My Business Review
Most local businesses will have a listing on Google My Business. This is the business listing that comes up on Google Maps when you search for your business name. Google allows the public to leave star ratings and reviews for your business, which are attached to your listing and show up in searches.
Not sure if you have a Google My Business listing?
You may have a map listing even if you haven’t set it up as Google often takes public information to set up these listings automatically, so customers may be reviewing you there without your knowledge. If you Google your business name you will see if there is a listings already. If there is, and you haven’t got access to it, you can claim it. If there is no listing, you can set one up here. This will increase your business exposure in search result, and also allow you to post photos and respond to reviews. You can also review this blog post which goes into more detail about setting up a Google My Business Account.
What to do if you get a negative review
Asking your customers to review you is a great way of establishing trust from prospects who are researching your business. This, of course, is assuming the reviews are generally positive.
Negative reviews can be an issue because they are very public and will come up whenever someone looks up your business on Google. If you do receive a negative review, here are some ways in which you can mitigate the damage:
1. Don’t panic or lash out
The worst thing you can do is respond to the review in an aggressive or negative manner. Remember your response is publicly visible and any prospective customers reading through it may get a bad impression. So breathe, and read on…
2. Establish if the review is from a real customer
First of all, you need to figure out if this is a real review from an actual customer. Check your records, talk to staff and try to establish if this is a real disgruntled customer or a troll leaving fake reviews.
3. Respond to the review and rectify the situation
Whether the review is from a real customer or a fake, the first thing you should do is respond to it. Apologize and ask what you can do to rectify the situation. If you can engage with the customer and remedy the issue, you could then ask them – once they are happy with the solution – if they are willing to revise the review.
If the review is fake, still respond politely but mention that you can’t find them in your records as a customer. Provide contact information. Even if the review is fake, there is no guarantee that Google will remove it so people may still see your response.
Always keep in mind that whatever you post is going to be public.
4. If the review is fake, ask Google to remove it
You have the option of flagging a review as inappropriate. Google your business name and click on the reviews section to view all reviews. If you hover over a review, you will see a little flag icon appear next to the star rating. Click on the flag and go through the steps to report the review. Google will only remove reviews that violate its policy – check the policy here before you flag the review. It will take several days at least before you’ll hear back from Google. If you don’t hear back, you can try contacting their support (there is a Support link in your Google My Business account).
5. If the review is here to stay, bury it
Having one bad review amongst a multitude of good ones won’t have much impact on your average star rating.
However, if you don’t have many (or any) other reviews, one bad review will stand out like a sore thumb. The best thing you can do is to ask your friendly customers to review you, and try to bury the bad review among plenty of positive reviews.
This, by the way, is something you should consider doing anyway, even if you haven’t got a bad review. If you have a good base of positive reviews, a bad review just won’t hurt you as much.
Of course you need to make sure your business processes are in order and your customers are generally satisfied with your offering. If you have more than a couple of bad reviews there may be issues within your business that need to be addressed.
A bad review, when dealt with swiftly and politely, is not the end of the world, particularly if you have many positive reviews to buffer its effect.