Protecting reputation with relief valves

"How can I get rid of a negative review of my business?"

Many companies underestimate theimpact of online reviewson their business. People generally think about them only when they get a negative review, and then they focus on getting rid of it. It's understandable — who has time to think about something as seemingly uncontrollable as Google reviews?

But the best cure is prevention.

Order confirmations, customer experience surveys, top task surveys, email signatures … These are all opportunities to encourage reviews from customers. Link them to your Google My Business listing and ask for reviews every chance you get.

But don't I only want reviews from customers who will give me 5 stars?

No. The volume is what matters.

Researchshows that businesses with an average rating of 4.5 stars are the most trusted on Google. That's because people expect businesses to get a few bad reviews. Having a perfect score makes people suspicious. That's why it's best to encourage reviews from all sectors — even customers who might be less than thrilled with their experience.

Besides, if you do offer customers the opportunity to review you at every turn, and you start getting a lot of 2 or 3-star ratings — that's good information to have! In that case, you have a larger problem that needs to be fixed — and it's not that the "wrong" people are reviewing your business.

Two peas in a pod: Research & Reputation

Designing feedback systems is a big part of what I do. That includes automating different kinds of surveys to be delivered at different points along their journey. A top task survey might go out to a new subscriber or someone who uses a contact form. A different sort of survey might go out after a new customer has completed a transaction.

These surveys can do double duty as pressure relief valves for customers. By designing them to also encourage open-ended, honest feedback, it's possible to catch frustrated customers before they write a negative review. When people feel heard, they're less likely to go public with their complaints.

So, how can you get rid of a negative review?

Well, there are steps you can take if the review doesn't comply with site policies — like afake review on Google. But you're better off replying publicly to the reviewer in a way that makes you look professional and above-the-fray. If you do it right, you can even turn negative reviews into marketing material that demonstrates your company's generosity and professionalism. Then, let it go, and focus on drowning out that negative criticism with positive reviews from your happy customers.

What are you doing to monitor and facilitate online reviews? Hit reply and let me know.

Thanks for reading,

Kyle Bowen