5 Steps to Fixing a Bad Online Review

Maurine Anderson Energy Circle Content

Whether you work in the HVAC, home performance or solar industry, it seems that no matter how well you train your employees or how high quality your customer service is, someone out there is going to leave a bad review online.

Look familiar?

While a review like this may seem like the end of the world, it actually gives you an excellent opportunity to strengthen your brand image and build rapport with your customers — not to mention improve the service you offer. Harvard Business Review even asserts that bad reviews can boost sales. When all is said and done, a negative review could end up being a very positive thing for your company.

They key lies in taking the right approach to fixing your bad online reviews. Here are five steps you should take when you get that one-star review on Google, Facebook, or Yelp.

1. Stop and assess.

Before you lose your cool, don’t. Now is not the time to panic and lash out at a former customer with a quick, heated online response. As soon as you see that negative review online, stop and assess the situation.

Does the review seem legitimate? Sometimes companies leave fraudulent reviews about their competitors in order to drive down competition; so it’s a good idea to check your records for the user who left the review. If the review does seem legitimate, gather what records you can about the customer. This includes looking up what service they received, finding out which technicians visited them, listening to customer service calls, etc.

2. Respond quickly.

If the review is legitimate, then your next course of action should be to respond to the review as quickly as possible. As you prepare your response, think about how you would want your own complaint to be addressed. Your response should:

  • Apologize for the customer’s dissatisfaction

  • Refer to and address the specific complaint

  • Include an explanation if there is one

  • Offer to fix the problem

  • Outline next steps for fixing the problem

This response empathizes with the customer and expresses a desire to work with the customer to resolve the situation.

A quick and genuine response not only sets you on the road to resolving the issue with the customer but also shows other potential customers that you strive to deliver great service.

3. If the review is fake, report it.

It’s not always easy to catch a fraudulent review. Here are some telltale signs:

  • The review lacks detail.

  • The review contains outrageous claims.

  • The name of the reviewer is clearly made up.

  • There are multiple negative reviews within the span of a few minutes.

  • There are multiple ratings without an attached review.

If you believe the bad review may be fraudulent, be sure to prepare an appropriate response just the same (in case the fake review is never taken down) — and then report it to encourage Google, Facebook, or Yelp to remove it.

If this turned out to be a fake review, you could report it on Google by clicking on the flag icon.

On Google, you can report a fake review by hovering the cursor over the review and clicking on the flag icon next to the rating. If the review is on Facebook, click on the three-dot icon at the top-right of the review and then “Report post.” On Yelp, you’ll need to log into your business account, head to the “Reviews” section, and click on the flag icon underneath the review you want to report.

4. Make the situation right.

A thoughtful response to a bad online review means nothing if you don’t follow through on your commitment to make the situation right. Do everything in your power to rectify the situation — whether that means sending out another service team to the customer’s home, clarifying the details of a specific promotion on your website, or changing up the way you train your technicians. How you rectify the situation, of course, will differ on a case-by-case basis and depend largely on how you do things at your business.

And remember — if you are consistently getting negative reviews with similar complaints, it could indicate that there is something you need to change about your service.

5. Solicit more positive reviews.

One negative review in a pool of only three reviews looks pretty concerning to the potential customer. But one negative review among 100 four- and five-star reviews? That’s a lot easier to see past.

Soliciting positive reviews is a topic we could discuss at great length in a post of its own — in fact, we did so in our post Review Management Best Practices for Local Businesses. The key thing to remember here is that positive reviews are essential for helping you maintain a positive brand image online.

How you encourage positive reviews will depend largely on your business model and marketing strategy. Often, one of the best approaches is to send an email out to previous customers who you know had a positive experience with your company. An email service provider like Mailchimp can make that process simple. You might also design and print online review request cards which your technicians can hand out to happy customers at the end of a visit. (Just be sure not to use any of these strategies to solicit Yelp reviews, as soliciting reviews is now considered a violation of Yelp policies!)

Wrapping Up

Whatever industry you specialize in, managing reviews is essential for protecting your online image and instilling trust with potential clients.

Have you fallen victim to a bad online review? Whether the review is on Google, Facebook, Yelp, or another online platform, make responding a priority. When done well, your response has the power to drive more leads for your business.

Managing online reviews is essential for strengthening your digital marketing efforts. Contact us to learn more about review management for your business.

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