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Andy Williams

Google Places Reviews – Responding To Bad Reviews

31st Mar 2011 News, Industry News, SEO, Local Search, SEO 2 minutes to read

Google LogoI recently wrote about how important it is for businesses to gain reviews to help improve Google Places rankings, but what happens if you receive bad reviews or negative feedback?

Well responding to bad reviews is possible if you have a verified Google Places profile.

Negative feedback is very different to positive reviews you may have received. First off it is very easy to take them to heart, after all this is your business that someone is criticising. So try not to let your emotions take over. It is important to remain professional and treat the review just like you would a positive one.

Whatever you do, don’t ignore it. Left to sit on your profile without a response, this is all potential customers will see. This is your chance to have your say and to highlight your great customer service.

So what should you do?

Well let’s start with Google’s own suggestions on their support page.

Google suggests the following:

1. Be nice.
2. Don’t get personal.
3. Feedback is helpful.
4. Keep it short and sweet.
5. Thank your reviewers.
6. Be a friend, not a salesperson.

These are good points and should serve as the basis of any response. But as previously mentioned bad reviews placed on your Google Places profile can be taken personally and so there are other important factors that you should take into account before responding:

Wait 24 hours
Let your blood pressure level out. Calm down. Don’t reply when you are wounded. Replying when you are outraged could lead to your reply becoming too personal and lacking a calming balance. You want to respond you don’t want to attack.

Don’t offer freebies
It is an easy trap to fall into but don’t give anything away as compensation. This could be seen in the wrong light. You could be seen as a soft touch and this could lead to similar complaints from people also looking for a freebie from you.

This could also easily be seen as you trying to shut the customer up from writing further negative reviews about you.

Money back or refunds are a totally different area and shouldn’t be confused with compensation “give away”.

You can write the most positive reply in the world but if you don’t act on the problem then you are simply leaving yourself open to more and more bad reviews appearing in your Google Places profile.
Remember you should be treating these reviews as pointers to improving your business or services.

Back it up
It may be that the complaint has already been addressed by you or your company. If information has already been made available on faulty products (for example) then point the customer in the direction of the Press Release or the announcement on your site. Be polite, this isn’t a chance for you to say “I told you so”.

If there is nothing you can do…
There isn’t always going to be a reply or reason you can give for bad service. No company is perfect and now and then things can go wrong. In cases like this it is important to thank the reviewer for the feedback and do something about it.

You can always follow up your response with a “we have acted on this” reply.

All of these actions not only address the complaint but they also highlight to potential customers that you pro active and don’t just leave your customers with a bad experience.

Use these bad reviews to iron our glitches in your business and you will soon be receiving nothing but positive feedback.

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Andy Williams

Andy Williams will be giving you useful insights into local search and the overall SEO landscape. Andy has over 10 years experience in the SEO industry including 2 years as the in-house SEO consultant with a leading Web Design company.

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