During the pandemic, Google reviews have become a key factor in generating new business. Consider these stats from UT-based Kenect:
- 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
- 87% of consumers won’t consider a company with bad online ratings.
- Our data indicates that about 1 in 50 reviews that businesses receive are negative.
- Monitor your reviews. The very first thing to do is make sure you are monitoring your reviews’ page regularly. You don’t want to leave bad reviews up for days without any response. There is a natural tendency to ignore a negative review, to pass it off as ‘the reviewer is crazy’ or ‘the reviewer is mean.’ But don’t do this. You’ve got to get to the bottom of what happened. Examine your business and determine if there was something you could have done better or if there was something you overlooked. Maybe your team was rude to the customer. Maybe you didn’t communicate effectively. Maybe you overcharged them or charged a fee they weren’t expecting.
- Fix potential business problems. Pay attention to the reviews and fix the things that may be wrong in your business. Ignoring bad reviews doesn’t fix potential problems. Examine your business and determine if there was something you could have done better or if there was something you overlooked. Maybe your team was rude to the customer. Maybe you didn’t communicate effectively. Maybe you overcharged them or charged a fee they weren’t expecting. Try to learn from negative reviews and see if they can drive you and your team to improvement.
- Don’t overreact. While not ideal, one negative review isn’t going to sink your business. Don’t fire the employee who made the mistake or go on social media and stalk the person who left the negative review.
- Don’t argue. In addition to the above, make sure you don’t get into a public argument. The natural reaction for anyone when they get an unwarranted negative Google review is to go on Google and defend their business. Resist the urge to give the reviewer a piece of your mind, put them in their place, or tell them why they are wrong. It won’t do any good. No one’s mind will be changed. The reviewer isn’t going to read your reply and suddenly say ‘Oh wow, you know what… that business is right. I’m wrong.’ All you do when you leave a cranky reply is make the situation worse.
- Consider the true audience. Leave a reply that is respectful. You don’t need to apologize unless something really did go wrong, but you do need to be empathetic. Your entire goal with your reply should be to impress the thousands of people who are going to read that review and your reply in the next two months. They’re your audience, not the person behind the bad review.
- Don’t rely on Google to take down the bad review. One of the more frequent questions asked about reviews is: Will Google take them down? The answer is generally no. Google will usually only remove reviews if they are clearly spam, clearly from a competitor, or cross the line in some way—things like obscenities, racist language, etc. For instance, Google will not take down a review that calls you and your business dishonest and awful. But they will take down reviews that threaten to burn your business down. That’s the distinction.
- Encourage positive reviews. Overall, the best way to deal with negative reviews is to go get more positive ones, yet according to Kenect, 71% of companies say they don’t have enough reviews. Make sure you are asking good customers to leave reviews for you to increase your positive review rate. Additionally,
only 1% of your customers will leave a review unless you text. With texting, it’s 35%. You want to show potential customers that negative reviews are rare, and are not a representation of how your business operates on a daily basis.
Leighton is a content marketing specialist with Kenect, a UT-based business that builds business platforms to text customers, generate online reviews, gather website leads, video chat, and collect payments. To learn more, visit kenect.com or text (888) 972-7422.
To read more about how to market your lawn care or landscaping business, read “Are You Making These Three Common Marketing Mistakes?” from the February edition of Turf.