Social Media

What To Do When My Business Gets a Bad Review?


24. June 2011


Businesses can and do get bad reviews. And there’s nothing you can do to prevent that occasional negative review despite your best service, care, and effort. If you’ve been on top of things, and have many positive reviews, then that negative one won’t hurt as much. As part of our services, we encourage and educate our business owner clients to be open to reviews, by creating citations for their business in various popular review directories if they aren’t already listed.

When you open yourself up to reviews, generally you’ll get more positive reviews than negative. This trend has been documented by research, even as far back as 2006 by BazaarVoice. The review distribution follows a J-Curve, with most reviews on the positive side. Unless of course, your product/service is really truly crappy or unethical. If you’re a good business, you’ll likely hover between 4 or 5, with some studies showing that the average aggregate is around 4.3 out of 5.

Negative Reviews & Managing Your Online Reputation

Negative criticism can come from many places. There’s the traditional and popular review sites such as Google Local and Citysearch, but opinions from your customers can also come in form of tweets, Facebook comments, Foursquare tips, blog posts, and a variety of other social tools and websites. It is important to monitor all your reviews, both good and bad, engage your customers online, and take appropriate action when necessary. As a business owner, it is not enough to simply read the reviews & comments people leave your business, you must do something about them too.

When a review contains profanity or malicious content, often times the Terms and Conditions of the hosting site will allow you to flag a review for removal. Places like Yelp and Google allow you to respond publicly to the review. At Flow Simple we encourage all businesses to respond with a quick “Thank you” to the positive ones. That way when you do get a negative one, it won’t seem out of place for you to respond and explain your side of the story. With Facebook and Twitter the comments and replies are quick and easy. A simple acknowledgement of someone mentioning you in a tweet, comment or post is good for managing and growing your online reputation.

Monitoring Tools to Help You Track Reviews & Comments

There are many tools that make this process easier and efficient, and when you work with Flow Simple, we’ll both use these tools to monitor your the buzz about your business, and train you on how to use these effectively to respond to your customers. These are our favorites:

  • Google Alerts: Tracks any mentions of your business name on websites, blogs, discussions, etc.
  • Hootsuite: A nice social media dashboard to monitor Twitter, Facebook and other tools all at once.

Aside from tracking just your brand name, it can also be useful to track:

  • keywords related to your business in a localized area
  • your competitors
  • industry news that can serve as content to report or retweet
  • local news outlets and sites to improve your press relations
  • your employees
  • names of products that you use in your business or service
  • Encourage Positive Reviews (& Checkins)

Encouraging and explicitly asking your customers to review is good business practice. (Yelp being an exception, and to quote Matt McGee, they live in a “world of pixie dust and unicorns.”) Offering incentives for reviews and sharing does work, and may be good for your business if you are lacking in good user generated reviews to help boost your listings viability and overall SEO efforts. For most service based business the ROI from offering incentives is easy to see and justify, and often times the incentives don’t need to be huge to encourage your customers to review you or check in.

Having your customers review you or check in to your business is another way to get some free marketing, a great way to build customer loyalty, and increase your retention rate. So before you’re you’re feeling desperate to go cough up a ridiculous deal for Groupon at a total loss to you, try an incentive deal for checkins and reviews and see how effective this can be!