How to Handle Bad Reviews on Google and Facebook
The negative comment, the horrifying review, and the nasty responses… these are stressful things to wake up to in the morning. Being the person who manages your social media pages and online presence, it is up to YOU to check the comments and reviews left on both your Facebook page and your ‘Google My Business’ regularly.
“93% [of consumers] say online reviews do impact their purchasing decisions.” (Podium’s 2017 Online State of Online Reviews).
When a single review can make a lasting impression, what do you do when you find a bad one about your business?? Step one… don’t panic. Bad reviews are left every day, and a single bad review probably won’t ruin your business. BUT, with that being said, it is important to stay level headed and approach the matter professionally (even if you know the person and they are ‘crazy’). Here’s how to handle bad reviews on Google and Facebook like a pro!
Respond Right Away
In the ‘Online Review’ study conducted by Podium, 58% of consumers were looking at reviews at least WEEKLY. That means when you get a bad review on Google or Facebook, you need to respond RIGHT AWAY!!! As soon as you see the comment, take a few minutes to calm yourself (mindful breathing, Zen, …ohm), and then write your reply immediately. The longer you let a bad comment linger on your site without a response, the more frustrated the individual will likely become. But more importantly, the quicker you respond, the more Facebook will reward your business and assign you the “quick to respond” status that makes your business look better!
I know it can be terrifying to have a bad review on your page. But I promise you that if you delete a bad comment it will only make things worse. Much, MUCH WORSE. Deleting the evidence only makes you appear guilty. What if the person had saved a screenshot of their comment and called you out on it? What if the customer was one of your loyal supporters? Do yourself a favour and leave the review up and respond in a professional manner. This will show other people reading the reviews that you aren’t afraid of customer service and that you are ready to handle concerns respectfully.
Address the Review Publicly
When responding to a bad review, address the review PUBLICLY so that other readers can see how willing and quick you were to address the problem. This way, even if the reviewer reacts poorly and starts leaving additional rude comments, readers of the review section can see that this customer clearly isn’t being reasonable. Address it publicly by commenting on the original review and show you have nothing to hide!
Be the Good-Guy
If you let your emotions get the best of you, you can expect the reviews of your business to go downhill. (Remember, ‘It’s business… not personal’).
You aren’t Gordon Ramsey and you can’t get away with being rude to people (and neither should he). Writing back negative comments and justifications and being defensive will just lower the respect the user and onlookers have for your business. So, when you catch yourself being rude, sassy, demeaning, cold, harsh, judgmental, or mean… DON’T SEND IT!
Instead, it is CRITICAL to put the anger/frustration/devastation aside and be:
- FRIENDLY (“Hi ____, thanks for reaching out!”)
- EMPATHETIC (“We are sorry to hear that your experience was less than satisfactory and apologize that you feel this way!”)
- AVAILABLE (“We would like to have the chance to create a better experience for you. Please reach out privately so we may discuss how we can help rectify this situation”)
And above else, be PROFESSIONAL – Don’t use slang, don’t make assumptions, represent the company!
Trust us, you don’t want to write respond hastily and risk them taking a screenshot of the conversation to share your poor customer service more publicly. Be the good-guy.
Use Facts Only
It can be difficult to resist defending yourself emotionally when responding to something that is attacking your hard work. But when it comes to responding to bad reviews on Google and Facebook, it is important to use FACTS ONLY! Don’t speculate, don’t assume (you know what they say about people who ASS-U-ME!), and don’t be judgmental. When you use facts, you are ensuring that you keep it professional, are avoiding speculation, and can commit to being 100% truthful.
If the review is completely out of left field and the facts being shared are incorrect, you can certainly respond calmly with the correct facts to clear up any confusion. When doing this, though, make sure not to attack the person or say they are ‘wrong’, simply provide the truth and follow the response steps above.
Invite Them to Send You a Private Message
Always ask them to send you a private message so you can rectify the problem. This takes the pressure off of you to argue in public, and it also looks great from the outside knowing that you are willing to discuss a way to solve the problem and leave them with a better sense of your business.
Be aware that they can also easily screenshot your private conversations, so always keep it professional. One bad review won’t hurt your business, but a bad experience with ongoing negative recommendations certainly could.
Be Apologetic, but Not Self-Incriminating
As with any bad review, you want to apologize. This person just had a poor experience with your business or product, and that is never something you wish upon your customers. Apologize to them, try to solve the issue, offer them a ‘peace offering’, but NEVER do it in a way that makes you sound self-incriminating. If you respond with “You are so right, John, our team isn’t very available and it is something we struggle with all the time. Unfortunately, we can’t hire anyone else right now. We hope you understand.” That makes your business look AWFUL! Be apologetic, but don’t write your business off as a terrible place. Accept the responsibility, apologize, and try to rectify the problem so that they can have a better experience next time!
What If They Don’t Stop?
Unfortunately, some people are just dead set on hurting your business. They will post reviews from different email addresses, have their friends post bad reviews, and continually attack you online.
There ARE legal actions you can take – but those can be expensive. Luckily, people can see through a troll. If you calmly respond to each response with the facts (Ex: Im sorry you’ve had this experience. Is there another name under which you worked with our business? I don’t see you listed as one of our customers), then you can easily reveal the petty fake-reviews for what they are – and potential customers will see it. PLUS! Most people just look up the bad reviews to see how the company handled it, not even the review content itself.
Take the time to respond properly to those bad reviews on Google and Facebook, and your business reputation will be upheld while also giving you opportunities to grow. All feedback is something you can learn from, so turn those bad reviews into a transformative customer service opportunity!