How To Deal With Negative Online Reviews
What would you do if you were casually perusing your online business page and you found that it was infested with negative reviews from unknown sources? Think about it. What would be your first call? A competitor? An enemy? Or even a random stranger looking to ruin your business just because they can?
This post will teach you what to do when your business is suffering a similar fate.
MY BUSINESS IS UNDER ONLINE ATTACK. HELP!
We know it is frightening when you work so hard to build an online reputation and in a flash, that reputation is soiled by negative reviews from agitated attackers. One thing is going through your mind right now. You want to lash out and reply to the negative review with an honest piece of your mind in hopes to recover your business’ online glory.
Know that negative reviews do not mean that the world is ending, at least not any time soon. You will eventually discover that no publicity is bad publicity after all. One bad review can keep a ton of other angry customers from lashing out because someone is already handling that for them.
Possible Reasons Why Your Business Might Be Under Online Attack
As much as a personal endorsement, 85% of people trust online criticisms. Every 1-star increase is a whopping 5 – 9% income escalation. They are also crucial ranking indicators in Google’s algorithm. With this sort of influence on customers and their purchasing choices, it is no surprise that deceitful competitors looking to outshine other’ businesses will sometimes orchestrate these attacks on their rival’s online review pages. In some cases, negative online reviews are carried out by trolls, online trolls who just enjoy cyber-bullying.
Handling A Negative Review Attack On Your Own
The first thing you should do when you find negative reviews is to remain unruffled. Don’t move a single muscle or even blink. Back away slowly.
WaitThat only works when you see a snake, but it is the same principle. If you panic, you will get stung. Do not add fuel to the already burning fire by responding to the reviews in your anger. Try to avoid responding to them for as long as you possibly can while you quickly make an effort to remove them.
The next best thing to do is to check if the reviews are from real customers or not. If they are, evaluate the situation by checking the service or product they paid for. The more informed you are about the reason for the agitation, the better prepared you are to handle it and stop it from reoccurring in the future. You can also drop a brief comment containing an apology and a promise to rectify the situation. Do not forget to execute the obligation.
Get The Required Information About The Reviewers and Report Them
If they are not from legitimate customers, you should flag and report the reviews. To put this into effect, locate the exact site rules that the negative reviews violate. This process is also where patience is needed. You will need to find a review management service to source out the site’s Terms of Service (TOS) defilements for all undesirable reviews. Most websites typically remove such reviews if you can prove that they violate any of their rules.
Some online attackers post multiple threads of similar negative reviews, and others do so in the same period. These are examples of conventional foul play. Sites like Facebook avail you the option of reporting the accounts responsible for the negative reviews.
In cases where multiple attempts to remove or even report the reviews go unanswered, a raw option is to take down ALL reviews, including the positive and negative ones from your online pages. This option is limited to only a few online platforms.
For brands and businesses that rely on good reviews as a requirement to customers buying their products and services, hidden or missing criticisms can be more harmful than a low ranking. Not the most excellent alternative but it is perfect for buying you enough time to work on another solution.
After reporting the spam reviews, the site in question will determine if the said reviews violate its Terms of Service (TOS) or not. Usually, some of these online platforms understaff their review monitoring units, so it takes a while for them to respond to complaints.
What you can do is to contact Site Support directly through any of their listed online social media platforms with a document containing the following information:
– The registered profile name(s) of the offending reviewers
– Links to their profiles
– Attached notes as to why their reviews are being reported.
Along with the document, you will need to supply the following information:
– Your business name
– Business address
– Link to document or provided sheet and links to other resources.
It is recommended to use Google Documents to create the file to enable you to share the link with Site Support.
It might take about three to six weeks for Site Support to respond to your SOS and remove all or most of the documented reviews. If any of the negative reviews were undocumented, you would need to update and resend the document.
Surviving The Negative Online Review War
It takes a while for a business to regain its online virtue after a negative review attack. This process is hastened if the number of positive reviews left on the site weigh more than the negatives. Be practical about getting positive reviews from all your customers. Ask them if you need to! Having a lot of positive reviews before a harmful review attack cushions the effect of the crisis and makes it easier to deal with. Never wait until an actual attack happens before you build your positive review customer base with requests.
Unless they are an actual attack, negative reviews can be a gold mine as you get to listen to client feedback directly. It is an excellent opportunity to better your business. You can openly and politely reply to negative reviewers to call them out.
The overall process of saving face and recovery from review sabotage will take a lot of patience and self-restraint. Freaking out during the waiting process will worsen the problem and may open up doors to more damaging negative reviews.
Using the steps explained above will aid you to speed up the process of cleaning out your review sheet to get your business back on track.