If customers want to get an idea of a product or service, online reviews on the relevant platforms are an important source of information. Here they will read about what the experiences of other users have been, and this is often when they will decide whether they can trust the seller and whether they want to buy the product or not. Probably the best known review website beside “Tripadvisor”, which focuses on reviews of restaurants, hotels and tourist attractions, is the cross-industry portal “Google My Business”. Once a company has set up an account, customers can award star ratings and leave reviews for the services it provides.
Online reviews: how to get them and how to respond
Reviews on online portals are often a very important guide for customers when it comes to deciding what to buy. But how exactly do you get reviews as a company, and what should you do if the reviews are bad?
How companies can get reviews
Of course the occasional customer will enter a review completely unprompted. However, rather than just waiting for reviews, you can also proactively encourage customers to leave reviews. Ask satisfied customers for a review as soon as possible after they have bought something, either in person or by e-mail – whichever you feel is more appropriate. It can also be useful to specify which platform you would like them to post their review on (e.g. by sending a link), and you could explain why you are asking them for it. For instance: “This will help us to give new customers a better idea of what we do.” or simply “You are a loyal customer. Your opinion matters to us.”
Keep checking what customers are saying about your company.
It’s important to take a regular look at reviews on different platforms. Schedule this in as a regular activity and take the opportunity to thank those people who have left a review, and to clear up any questions – especially if the feedback is negative.
The best way for companies to respond to bad reviews
After all, in addition to compliments about the professional advice and the fantastic products you provide, you may also see bad reviews from disappointed customers. When this happens, the key is to stay calm and cordial, which can be tough if you feel the allegations levelled at you are not justified. The following tips may help:
- Don’t get too worked up, and respond as soon as possible – but make sure you give a level-headed response.
- Be sure to remain professional.
- Thank customers for any constructive criticism.
- Don’t spend too long trying to defend yourself, and instead simply get to the point.
- If the error is indeed on your end: apologize and offer a solution.
- Learn from your mistakes.
- If you cannot see any error on your end (even after careful consideration and looking into the matter), offer the customer a meeting in person if possible.
- Never just write a stock response. Instead, get to the heart of the criticism.
- Have a look at how other companies respond to bad reviews. You are sure to find a response that you could adapt to your company.
Why and how can Google reviews be deleted?
Getting a Google review deleted is no mean feat, and is only possible in two instances:
First, if the review contravenes Google’s guidelines. This includes offensive, harmful or disparaging content, or irrelevant reviews, such as those that are not based on that person’s own individual experience.
Secondly, a review can be deleted if it constitutes an infringement of the law. This can for example happen if the review contains abusive language, slander or defamations of character that are based on demonstrable falsehoods, or which constitute a breach of privacy.
If you deem a third-party review on Google to be unjustified, you cannot delete it yourself – it has to be removed by Google. There are two ways of doing this:
- Search for the review in question through Google My Business or Google Maps and report as inappropriate
- Complete the The link will open in a new window form on support.google.com for legal infringements and send to Google
It is often a real challenge to remove a review. In such an event, it may be advisable to consult a professional service provider. At the same time, it is also important to weigh up the pros and cons of deleting the review.