THE TRUTH ABOUT BAD, FAKE AND MALICIOUS REVIEWS
So many of our clients ask us:
“Can I Remove a Bad Review?”
The truthful answer to that is “SOMETIMES”
BAD REVIEWS FROM ACTUAL CUSTOMERS
Here are the important facts to know about managing your reviews, and what can and cannot be done for the most part:
Anytime a customer buys your product, contracts your service, eats in your restaurant, or engages you directly and has paid you for a product or service, they are entitled to leave their opinion. An actual bad or poor review from an actual customer who feels they received less than adequate service is a legitimate review and for the most part, cannot be removed. You can, however, respond to the review appropriately and promptly to start the repair and recovery process. You can then reach out to your dissatisfied customer and make EVERY attempt to make the situation right. This can be anything from a partial or full refund, to doing the work over again, having them come back for another meal, or whatever remedy falls into your category of business.
There is one ultimate truth to consider: WHEN IT COMES TO REVIEWS, THE INTERNET IS NOT FOREVER! Your customer has the option, at any time, to amend their review or delete it entirely. Sometimes you will be dealing with an individual who just cannot be reasoned with, and this option will be a non-starter. But we have seen in many cases where the person who left the bad review (usually when they were angry), later will realize the damage they’ve done and a discussion about amending their review can happen. Remember, you have a significant investment in your business and spend a lot of time, money and effort to get new customers.
Mistakes do happen, and the old adage “You can’t please everybody” should apply. But bad reviews just drag down your average and you’ll need 5-10 GOOD reviews to dilute or negate the effect of a single bad review. You may find out that people are more reasonable than you think if you just take the time to work with them and bring them back to “happy” status. But the most effective fix for a legitimate bad review, failing the above mentioned options, is to drown the bad review with a good number of positive reviews. You will not only dilute the effect of the bad review, but it will pushed back in the time-line and over time become irrelevant.
“What About A Fake Review?”
The truthful answer to that is “MOST OF THE TIME”
FAKE AND MALICIOUS REVIEWS FROM ANONYMOUS USERS
The internet is now rampant with abuse, with all manner of misguided individuals gaming the system to inflict harm on businesses that are run by good folks. Sometimes a disgruntled ex-employee will take it upon themselves to post malicious content with the sole purpose of damaging their former employer. And we know that there always two sides to THAT story!
Sometimes business owners get the not-so-bright idea to post anonymous, weaponized fake reviews against their competitors. This disgusting behavior can be absolutely maddening for the person being victimized and causes actual, and sometimes, severe damage by lowering the overall ratings of the targeted business. We have always found it interesting that everybody says “Don’t believe everything you read on the internet” with tongue in cheek, yet there are many consumers who will see a fake review and really not think about the fact that it might not be true at all. Although recently people are becoming more and more aware of fake reviews, there is no reason for this to be allowed to continue.
There is a remedy for these types of reviews. It doesn’t work every single time, and all review sources are a bit different in the way they address your complaint. But there is always hope that a properly managed complaint can result in a malicious or fake review to be removed eventually. You will need the assistance of someone experienced to accomplish this. Just following the steps provided by the review source or website is sometimes not enough. And while that process is grinding through its steps, your rating average is suffering and you’ll never know how many potential customers passed over you because all they did was glance at your “Stars” and didn’t want to drill down into the actual reviews. In any event, a pro-active approach to gleaning as many positive reviews as possible has now become the ONLY course of action to achieve, and maintain, a high rating. Lowered review ratings are the biggest Achilles Heel for small business, and can be costing you 10% to 50% of your possible revenue. The biggest silent killer of your business, and IT CAN BE PREVENTED!