What To Do When You Have Bad Reviews

Bad reviews

How to Remove Bad Reviews

With the explosion of review sites on the internet, more and more businesses are finding negative reviews about their business online. You may not even know that someone has written a bad review because business owners are not consistently notified by all sites when a review is written. Given the seriousness of a bad review for your business image- it is important to know what is being written about you on the web. This article reviews what to do when you find a negative review online, and how to monitor the internet to make sure you can quickly see the review and can respond to what was written.

Review Sites Are Trusted But Not Always Reliable

Review sites like Yelp, and Google Local provide consumers many advantages for quickly researching and finding detailed information on prospective businesses. According to a 2009 Nielson study, 70 percent of people trust consumer opinions posted online. The review sites also provide consumers with ways to easily share their experiences with providers. Unfortunately for providers, some people are using these sites as an alternative to direct communication about their negative experiences. In some cases, these comments are posted anonymously, as it is easy to set up a new email account and create a pen name with free email services like AOL, MSN, and Gmail.

Even if you believe that the negative post is not accurate-it does not matter to the review site visitors as this is one person’s opinion; and as we know, people who do not know you- may judge you based on how others perceive you. Therefore, by addressing the negative review- you are taking a proactive approach to maintaining a positive reputation.

Steps For Getting Your Bad Review Removed

Once you discover the negative review online, there are a number of steps that you can take to address it.

The first step that I recommend is to try to contact the person who submitted the review using the email or other contact information found in their profile on the review site. Ideally, if you can address the reviewer’s concerns they may choose to remove their review. If they do not and you feel the complaint is unfounded or untrue you can choose to contact the review site and try to get them to remove it.

The next step, is to contact the review site such as YELP, Google Touchlocal, Healthgrades, and ask what the process is to contest the review.

Depending on their policy, the review site may or may not remove the post depending on the validity of the reviewer and the content of the review. The Communications Decency Act (“CDA”), even though it was created to protect free speech, effectively provides some immunity to the websites that publish or distribute the content of others. For this reason, even if a negative review is totally baseless, it can be very difficult for a victim of this online defamation to get the site to remove it.

Ask For Good Reviews

In most businesses, another strategy that works well in combating negative reviews, is to solicit positive reviews from satisfied customers. This works well because the most recent reviews posted show up on top of the review listings and push older reviews to the bottom. Some professions have ethical guidelines that prohibit their members from soliciting reviews so check with your professional industry association to see what is allowed.

How to Monitor Your Online Reputation

I do recommend that every business set up an early detection alerts using Google and Yahoo Alerts. Google Alerts and Yahoo email alerts can be set up using your desired keywords. Emails are sent to you when Google or Yahoo finds new results that match the keywords that you want it to find. You can set it up for your name, a product name, or the name of your business or organization, and every time the keyword(s) is mentioned, any where on the internet, you get an email with a link to the source. If you are not sure what keywords to track- then just enter your main “buzz” word at Google Suggest to see what are the most commonly searched terms. You can also search in Google Trends for the most recent search trends.

Setting up these alerts is a good idea for the following reasons:

  • People may be talking about you or your organization online, whether you choose to listen or not
  • It helps you monitor Google and Yahoo results (news, blogs, web, video, training) in real-time
  • It allows you to respond quickly to negative reviews or other content about you or your organization

Also, make sure that your business is registered completely on the review sites with accurate contact information. That way, you can be notified when a new review is posted. In this way- you can more quickly address positive or negative reviews and understand what your customers value.

There are other monitoring tools such as Monitor This which allows you to monitor a single keyword across 22 different search engine feeds at the same time, and Trackur which is useful if you are interested in social media monitoring.

Be Proactive With Your Online Reputation

Given the amount of information now available publically online in chats, forums and social networking sites- I recommend that you take a proactive approach to protecting your organization. You may not even be aware that your business has a bad review, or even a positive review on the internet. It might have been posted by a client, your competition, or a disgruntled employee. The internet has changed the way people communicate and express their feelings, and all businesses must adapt to these changes which, if done correctly, can enhance your relationship with your customers and give you greater insight into your customer’s needs.

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