So you see that email from your Google Business Profile that says you just received a 1-star review. Some business owners freak out and think immediately that life as they know it is over and their business will now take a nose dive. Well getting a 1-star review for any reason is never good but it is not the end of the world and certainly not the end of your business. In the course of doing business over months or years, it would actually be very odd that a business would never receive any 1-star reviews. It is common and as the old saying goes “you can’t please everyone all the time.”
A one-star review is a tricky thing for any business. You can’t ignore it because that could be seen as encouraging the behavior, but you also don’t want to get into a back-and-forth with a customer who’s already angry and unhappy.
Here are some tips to handle these reviews:
1) Look at the reviewer’s other reviews to see if they have given all your competitors five stars. If so, then it’s likely that they’re just trying to hurt your business for no reason. Most likely it is a fake review.
2) If the review is about something that you can improve, then take the time to reach out and apologize for their experience and ask what you can do better in the future. This will show people that you’re listening and care about their feedback
3) Respond quickly with an explanation of what went wrong or how you fixed it, so as not to leave customers hanging
4) Seek out positive reviews from your customers by asking them to leave a 5 star review if they are happy with their experience with your business.
The first step as stated above is to figure out if the review is fake or not. There are many ways to spot fake reviews and spam reviews. One of the easiest ways is by looking at the user’s other reviews. If they have no reviews and then suddenly only a one 1-star review, it might be a sign that the user was compensated to leave a bad review. Also, many times these are done to hurt a business using bots. Bot accounts are pretty easy to spot if you look at their user profile.
Another way to find out if it’s a spam review or not is by looking at their profile picture. If they have no profile picture, it might be because they don’t want you to know who they are and what their intentions are. Also, look if they have posted positive reviews for your direct competition. This is usually a telltale sign that they left the 1 star for you just to bring down your rating.
The second step would be figuring out how you want to respond to this review – do you want to leave a reply? or do you want to try and remove them? Do you want them changed? Or do you just want people not to see them as easily?
This is a common problem that every business will face at some point. One of the most important things to do is to respond as soon as possible. Unless it is a 1 star with no comment it is a good idea to leave a concise and professional reply to the review. The main thing here if you do choose to reply is to never argue or fight with the reviewer. Keep in mind everyone else that searches will possibly read this review and your reply. Keep it professional at all times and offer some sort of solutionOn the 1 star reviews with no comment, there are two schools of thought. one is that by replying to the review you are making it valid or confirming it is in fact a real review to Google. While other experts have claimed that replying to the review and simply stating there is no record of the reviewer has ever been a customer of the business shows other people reading the reviews that it is in fact, a fake review. Both arguments have merit so you have to decide what works best for your business. In the end, many business owners find it is actually more cost-effective and efficient to work with a professional reputation management company like Erase My Trax to get these removed.
If you have determined that a review is fake or spam obviously you can flag it as inappropriate for one of the seven different reasons. A good idea is to flag it at least five times from five different accounts and IP addresses for the same reason. That will trigger Google to look into it further than if you only flagged it one time. For this you can ask a couple friends or family for help. Or use multiple google accounts yourself logging in from different IP addresses and flag it that way. Your other options are to file an appeal if google has replied and said they will not remove it after flagging. Finally, you can email Google Business Profile support to explain why you think a review should be removed (you can send screenshots, etc. to support what you are saying).
At the end of all of this what most businesses are after is a high star rating as close to 5 stars as they can get. So if you have tried everything even contacting Google support and they leave the 1-star reviews up? there is still one more thing you can do. Keep in mind that when your Google Business Profile is previewed by someone searching they usually only see the first 2 or 3 reviews as you can see here (see image below),
So the good news here is most people searching want to end their search as quickly as possible and get on with their lives. What this means is that the majority of people are not going to read through a bunch of reviews. Some people will go and check or even sort by lowest reviews first to see your worst reviews. But in comparison to the total number of people searching online, this is a small percentage. So once they see a company that appears to have several reviews where the reviews that are being previewed are all good reviews for most people their search is over. If they see that? usually at that point, they have decided you look legit and trustworthy enough for a call, request directions, or click over to your website. As stated in previous blog posts here having a lower rating does not always mean people will not contact you but Google has publicly stated that most searchers according to their data prefer a business that has a 4.6 rating or better with more than 10 reviews. Google has further said that for each decimal point you go down in rating it is equal to about a 10% loss in potential revenue. Ok good, I still have your attention. So how can you keep the good reviews showing up at the top? That is easy–just keep a steady flow of good 5-star reviews coming in each month. This can be a tough task for business owners to monitor and keep up with gathering the reviews and getting people to post them. This is another reason many business owners prefer to leave it to reputation management experts.
So in summary to protect your online reputation with your Google Business Profile you need to be actively monitoring your reviews, removing any 1-2 star reviews by flagging and then appealing any that are not removed. And finally, keep a steady stream of good 5-star reviews coming in consistently.
If you need any help with improving your online reputation give us a call today at 1-800-501-0675