BRAINWAVES AND NEWSFLASHES

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Responding to Reviews

If you're one of our social media clients, you will know that we are very cautious of review systems. We are cautious because there is no qualification or proof required for a person to leave a review. Therefore, in theory, anyone who has decided they do not like you or your business could leave some scathing words to damage your brand (i.e. a competitor a former staff member with a chip on their shoulder or even someone who is genuinely mistaking your business for another).

We find B2C (business to consumer) businesses are more vulnerable to B2B (business to business), simply due to the variety of customers a B2C will encounter. Business folks simply don't have the time (but if you do find a moment, please leave us a review on Google!)

We have seen a variety of reviews that our clients have received over the years. These include review systems being used as intended, but we have also seen reviews that are questionable at best. That all said, we realise review systems are part of modern business life, so here is our guide on how best to respond:

Responding to positive reviews

It is always nice to respond to your biggest fans and make sure they know you're grateful for their business and the time they took to leave you a review. Your response doesn't need to be long, something short and sweet is often enough to show your gratitude.

Responding to negative reviews

This is the big one and it is important to not panic if one of these comes your way. It is critical that you respond to these in a professional, but timely manner and avoid an online keyboard war. Here are some elements to address in your response, even if you think the review is a fake:

The legit review

  1. If you can identify the person and your intuition says it is appropriate to reach out, do so (if you are able to). It is amazing what a little respect and a 'hat-in-hand' apology can do. It may even inspire them to remove or amend the review.
  2. If you cannot identify or contact the person, reply with an apology and a way for them to contact you so you can make amends. Something like, "We are sorry you had this experience, we would love to chat and see what we can do for you. Please feel free to reach out to us on x or y."
  3. If you believe their review is inaccurate or unfair, don't get into an argument with them. Be polite as always, but respond in writing apologising for their poor experience and asking how they believe you should improve in the future.

The fake or anti-competitive review

If the review is a clear fake or if you suspect this is a competitor playing dirty, don't be afraid of getting serious.  It can be easy to downplay the consequences of the review in your head, however, the reality is that these sorts of things can permanently tarnish the sterling reputation you're trying to protect.

Make Contact

If you can identify the person, reach out and ask them to remove the review. We recommend contacting them in writing in the first instance, so you have a paper trail. Try calling if they don't get back to you after a day or two.

Talk To Your Solicitor

If the review is damaging to the point of being defamatory, have your solicitor write a letter requesting the review be taken down. Include as much evidence as you can identifying the reviewer. Your legal representatives can help you with specifics in this situation.

Flag The Review (Google)

Follow Google's process for reporting a violation of their review guidelines. If possible, have several people flag the review, as numbers do matter. An influx of reports will be more likely to grab Google's attention.

Flag The Review - Escalated (Google)

If nothing happens after a few days of flagging the review, get in touch with Google Support. In your "Google My Business" dashboard, escalate to support by going into the "Support" area and completing their process. Make sure you include screenshots of the review in question. This should take 1-2 days. It is also advisable to private tweet their Small Business Support Team on Twitter, which can sometimes speed things up. You can also public tweet if you are comfortable in doing so.

Once you are in touch with the support team, make your case as to why the review breaches their policy. Cover all of the usual details, but reference their policy specifically where possible.

 

We hope this helps.  If you need any assistance when dealing with reviews, please feel free to reach out and we will help where we can.

 

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