Online Reviews: What to Do When Issues Come Up

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Yes, you’re all-in on the online review train! You understand why online reviews are important (SEO, trust, credibility and more) and you know how to build an effective strategy.

The reviews are rolling in and your business is growing. So, it’s smooth sailing, right?! Well, as with everything in life, you may run into a few hiccups here and there.

Thankfully, we have you covered. Read on for tips and tricks to managing three potential online review roadblocks.

Potential Roadblock 1: You’ve Received a Negative Online Review

We touched on this a little in our last post. Specifically, how it’s important to respond to every review you receive, especially the negative ones. One study found that businesses who respond to reviews average 35% more revenue.

We know the idea of having a bad review on your Google Business Profile can be intimidating. This concern alone can make businesses second guess putting time and effort into a review strategy.

But a negative review doesn’t have to be the end of the world. As we mentioned before, a customer’s negative online review can actually lead to better interactions and brand reputation.

Plus, 9 out of 10 people said they’ll look past a negative review if the business responded and addressed the issue.

Here are steps to take when responding to a negative review:

1. Assess the feedback internally to understand the customer’s specific experience.

2. Respond to the review publicly via your Google Business Profile as soon as possible. This shows you’re attentive and care about the customer experience.

3. Be empathetic and kind in your response. You don’t want to go on the defense or be argumentative. You also want to thank the reviewer for their feedback – all input can positively impact your business.

4. Be transparent if you made a mistake and offer a solution. Over 90% of people said transparency is important to their purchase decision.

5. Make sure to sign your name at the end of the review to show it’s a real response.

6. Follow up with the reviewer a few weeks later. Going that extra step can turn a naysayer into a committed, loyal customer.

Potential Roadblock 2: Online Reviews Aren’t Appearing on Your Google Business Profile

You had a successful customer interaction and you sent a personalized email with a direct link to your Google review section. Even better, they were more than happy to leave you a glowing online review. But when you go to read their online review, it’s not there.

Here are a few things to check:

1. Confirm you sent the correct custom review link, and that the reviewer has a Google account.

2. Consider the timing of when they left the review. While some online reviews may show up on your profile instantly, it may also take Google a week to post others. Unfortunately, there’s no rhyme or reason to this part of the review process.

3. The review may have violated one of Google’s policies. This one can be tricky to navigate, because Google doesn’t notify someone if their review doesn’t follow the guidelines. The most common violations include:

  • The review was copy and pasted from another website
  • It contains hyperlinks or URLs
  • Google feels the review was incentivized
  • The person who wrote the review is an employee of yours

4. Check to see if the customer took the final step in the online review process — clicking “Post.” If you feel comfortable, you can send a quick follow up note like the one below.

“We’re so grateful you took the time to write a review for us! Your review is not showing on our end quite yet. If you clicked the blue ‘Post’ button after writing your review, then hopefully, it is simply experiencing a delay! What is most important to us is that you’re happy with the service we offered. Thank you so much!”

One key thing when sending a follow-up email is to include your custom Google review link again. This makes it easy for the person to double check or even quickly rewrite the review. 

Potential Roadblock 3: You Receive a Fake or Misleading Online Review

Not every online review you get will be authentic, whether left mistakenly or intentionally. It may not be fair, but it does happen. Thankfully, you can take steps to get the review removed:

1. Ask Google to remove an inappropriate review following the steps they outline. We recommend sending this request as soon as you notice the review.

2. Flag the review from multiple accounts. Doing this may help the request get noticed by Google.

3.  If you’ve gone the route above and still haven’t heard back, you can try tweeting @GoogleSmallBiz.

Managing your online reviews takes thoughtfulness and time, but it’s incredibly worth it! Showing customers you can handle the good and bad will boost your online reputation.

Knowing online reviews account for 17% of the formula for how Google ranks a local business, their importance cannot be understated.

But you may also be wondering, what about the other 83%? Schedule a free 30-minute online brand review and we’ll walk you through the full strategy for optimizing your online presence and growing your business.

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