By Kaia Pankhurst,
These days, every business relies on the power of reviews, and the eye care industry is no exception.
According to ReviewTrackers, 64 per cent of consumers check a business’ Google reviews before visiting that business’ location – and those numbers are up 50 per cent from pre-pandemic years.
Reviews have become an integral part of user behaviour, which means now more than ever, positive reviews are crucial to the success of your business.
Unfortunately, people often use reviews to air their frustration or personal grievances with a business.
Obviously, the ideal situation would be to avoid getting any negative reviews whatsoever. But what can you do if a negative review does crop up?
Here are three solutions you could use to get rid of a bad review.
Option 1: Flag the review as inappropriate
Google does have some rules about what users can and can’t say in a review and they allow businesses to flag inappropriate reviews for removal.
Reviews that fall under any of the following categories are eligible for removal:
- Fake reviews or spam reviews;
- Multiple reviews written by one person;
- Offensive, explicit, or harassing content;
- Reviews from former or current staff;
- Reviews written by a competing business;
- Opinions or rants irrelevant to the service;
- Inappropriate images.
You can flag inappropriate reviews by clicking the three little dots in the top right-hand corner of the review. Google will take some time to review the content, then will take whatever action they consider necessary.
This isn’t a catch-all strategy.
Google will not remove reviews that don’t explicitly violate their guidelines. It’s also important to note that Google won’t take a side when a business and a consumer disagree on the facts of a situation. All this to say option one will only work for you if you’re reporting reviews that are genuinely inappropriate.
Option 2: Pay a reputation management service
A quick Google search will bring up dozens, if not hundreds of reputation management services that, for a fee, will work to get your negative reviews removed. Many of these services offer removal guarantees. Sure, it sounds great. But with a closer look, you may find these services aren’t all you might hope.
Each service works a little bit differently, but generally, these companies will sift through your reviews on various platforms and take note of anything that is fake, slanderous, or in some way illegal. If the platform has a built-in way to remove reviews, they will go through those channels.
Otherwise, they’ll likely send letters threatening legal action if the content is not taken down.
Bear in mind, this doesn’t work for every type of negative review. If it is a legitimate negative review, they will most likely not be able to have that content taken down.
Option 3: Try to redeem the relationship
Option 3 is a little bit more labour intensive for the business owner, but is absolutely worth the results: personally reply to the review.
No, you shouldn’t defend yourself, argue, or fire back at the poster. Instead, offer a genuine-yet-vague apology and ask to take the conversation offline.
Here’s a templated message you could use:
“We’re so sorry you had a negative experience with us. This does not reflect our values and we would like to make it right. Would you please send us an email at [your email address] and tell us a little bit more about your experience? Thank you so much for reaching out.”
The reviewer may not want to make it right and might be satisfied just leaving a nasty review. But it does give you the opportunity to salvage the consumer’s experience. More importantly, it shows other users that you take their feedback seriously.
Bad reviews can be an opportunity
Negative reviews are, to some extent, inevitable. What matters most is how you respond to them. It’s never a good idea to lash out at the consumer.
But if you take the time to evaluate the feedback and look for a way forward with the reviewer, your online reputation will most likely bounce back.
As Marketing4ECPs’ manager of content strategy, Kaia Pankhurst creates and implements content strategies for eye care practices all over North America. Outside of the office, Kaia is a musician, activist, and avid crafter. You can reach Kaia at marketing4ecps.com