Mash Snack: Online Reviews

Season 2 episode 7 | March 26, 2021

Mash Snack: Online Reviews

March 26, 2021

What do you do when your online reputation is sullied with a bad review?
Audio Transcript

Because almost all of our businesses are online, and I’m sure I’m not just speaking for myself here, but a lot of our recreational purchases are online, many consumers find themselves researching a lot about a product or company before they make a purchase.

This is part of the sales cycle, something that marketers do think about when advertising their items online. Questions like ‘what ad copy will hook someone in the research phase’ and ‘what will trigger a sale to someone who has already done all the research?’ things like that, which is a theory based practice which can and should be honed throughout the campaign. Some advertisers even have remarketing ads that are targeting people who have already purchased. Have you ever seen an ad on Instagram or Google search that says something like ‘How did you like blah blah’ or ‘Now that you’ve tried this, how about this?’ – they are hoping you enjoyed your purchase enough to buy something else in a short lead time.

I think this is pretty clever – it can replace automation if your website isn’t that advanced, or go hand in hand with it if you really want to follow your customers. One thing that I personally think these ads are looking for is what…..? A review. I get emails after purchase asking me for a verified review, and I get a percentage off my next purchase. Pretty cool. I certainly read reviews of specific items on ecommerce sites and it definitely influences my decisions.

Another thing I do is, read Google and Facebook reviews, sometimes even trustpilot if it comes up.

So what are you doing about your online reviews? Positive reviews can do so much for your business, as that trust quotient is better than the ‘I’m great, just ask me’ that is ingrained in most marketing messaging. Negative reviews can be harsh, untrue, conflated and even punitive.

A study by Brightlocal, one of the local SEO superstars, says:

82% of consumers read online reviews

48% of potential customers only pay attention to recent reviews – ie written in the last few weeks

20% of customers expect a reply to their review quickly, within a day

And that only 53% of customers would consider a business with less than 4 stars

So, wow. There are some more in depth stats in the report, which I’ll link in the description.

So what do you do when you get a bad review? You do need to keep an eye out for them, but one thing, I think we can all agree on, is DO NOT START A FIGHT.

Some people want to make a big deal of something online and they live for it – so you will have to accept that sometimes you cannot make people happy, regardless of what you do to help.

Ok that’s out of the way, but for everyone else who has a legitimate complaint or concern, what do you do? It’s easy, and it’s just a 2 step plan.

  1. Turn it into a positive. Don’t shower them with freebies and gifts, but the first thing you need to do is PUBLICALLY take responsibility for the wrong. Even if you think you are right, replying to the bad review online means you need to be contrite without accepting blame, but taking responsibility. Resolve the complaint, apologise and say you have adjusted your procedures to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
  2. Actually adjust your procedures and learn from it.

Can you remove reviews?

In short, it’s difficult. If it’s a real one, the answer is no. If you can prove it’s fake or harassment it’s possible, but unlikely.

On Google, you can report a review if it’s spam, not a real customer, or a fake profile HOWEVER, we have tried this recently with spam or bot accounts giving a client a bad review and Google seems to have a huge backlog of reported posts in GMB because like many workplaces, due to covid, this part of the business was unstaffed for quite some time.

Faccebook is a little more responsive, but the issue is, if it’s a REAL review and you just don’t like it – it’s unlikely you’ll get it removed.

The bottom line here is be polite and know when to call it. Don’t persist in replies if the person is so hurt they are looking for a fight. Actually do what you can to resolve the complaint and then, take it as a lesson and get better at customer service. It’s a harsh but apt lesson in having an online business, and reviews can keep you honest.

By gracefully dealing with bad reviews, you can possibly have that customer change their star rating and with your improved philosophy, gather many more 5 star reviews which will put you in a better light when new customers are doing their research on your product.