Getting a bad review online can make your heart sink. Bad reviews carry more weight than positive ones and word travels twice as fast, tarnishing your reputation quicker than you can sputter out the words to explain your side of the story. It can be tempting to try to filter out bad reviews from your online presence – be it Facebook, Yelp! or another platform – but doing so can also leave potential clients and customers with a bad taste in their mouths.
Transparency Creates Trust
So you’ve gotten a bad review and you’re thinking of hiding it from view. Before you do that, think about how you’d feel if your favorite company did that to you. You might feel hurt, betrayed or suspicious, as though there might be some merit to the things said in the review that the owner of the company doesn’t want you to find out. Hiding bad reviews does exactly that: breeds mistrust. And it often will make dissatisfied customers more vocal about their experience with your company.
When you opt to leave bad reviews as they stand, you’re allowing clients to see a larger picture of who you are and how you operate. If you hide them, clients may wonder what else you’re trying to hide. Or at the very least, they may question your business ethics and customer service.
Handling a Bad Review
Rather than filtering out a bad review, create a civil, calm and carefully crafted response to the review and reply constructively. How you handle unhappy clients speaks a world to your future clients about how you operate your business and can paint you in a positive light that makes it appear as though you’ll do anything – even going above and beyond – to rectify a mistake or a client’s unhappiness. At worst, it allows those reading to see both sides of the story and judge for themselves.
Treat the reviewer how you would want to be treated. Whether it’s offering to fix the mistake, asking what you can do or simply asking them to call you to work out a satisfactory resolution to their grievance, use your best customer service training to find a peaceable solution to the problem, one that may allow you to bargain with them to remove or amend the review.
What About False Reviews?
Totally false reviews – those left by those who take issue with you personally or by someone with a bone to pick or even by your competition – still shouldn’t be removed. Most platforms have a complaint process to flag a review as suspicious or erroneous. Rather than filtering it out, go about the process of having it removed by the site where the review was left to ensure you aren’t painted in a bad light – either by those reading it or those who might notice you filtering out negative reviews.
It’s also worth mentioning those folks who seem determined to bad-mouth your company and are unwilling to accept any of your efforts to make things right. Others will see you making an honest effort to resolve a problem and notice that your detractor is being unreasonable. Often, others will come to your defense. That’s a situation in which you win twice… you show your desire to satisfy your customers and your brand is etched more deeply in the minds of others.
Will Leaving it Hurt?
Leaving a bad review viewable to the public will do far less damage than trying to filter it and being caught doing so. Take steps to reach a resolution with the client and have them amend or remove the review themselves, if possible.
If you can’t do that and the review is false or suspicious, contact the site hosting the review, explain yourself and the circumstances to see what steps you should take to play by the rules and have it removed. Filtering bad reviews isn’t a good idea, even when it’s possible – it creates mistrust among your clients, both current and future.