How to turn bad Google reviews into recommendations?

Bad google reviews are like ugly oil stains on a white shirt. It is equally difficult to clean up. But unlike the shirt, you can’t throw away a brand and get a new one. It is necessary to preserve a company’s pristine condition.

You can have several amazing reviews, but even one bad review will push out like a thorn. It hurts a company’s reputation. Any customer who sees this bad review will second guess their decision to give you business. So what to do when you get one?

Below are some mantras which tell you how to reply to bad reviews on google. We won’t sugarcoat it. This is a daunting task. You will need the involvement and co-operation of several departments of the company.

The beauty of these mantras is that they work for any customer rating and review site. You can apply these for google reviews, Zomato reviews, yelp reviews, TripAdvisor reviews, and so on.

There are ways to make these tasks more manageable through a customer review management system like Kooyal Reviews. You will see how this software can help as you read through this article. Now without further lecturing, let’s see how to handle bad reviews.

Table of Contents

Mantra 1: Response ASAP to bad Google Reviews

graphic art showing google reviews

Criticism usually comes from a place of anger and discomfort. If you delay, this anger will rise. Ideally, you should respond to a bad review within the first 24 hours of receiving it. This time frame is even less for hospitality services. Customers of restaurants, cafes, hotels, and resorts require an almost instant response. 

Steadfastness ties in with aspects of resolution and compensation. Imagine having a bad experience at a restaurant. You will definitely follow your meal with a bad review and a low rating. The restaurant feels bad and offers you an apology and compensation. Now would you be happier to receive this the very same night or a month later?

When it comes to answering bad reviews, the clock is always ticking. Sometimes so is the customer. If you are not fast, your reputation will blow over.

Read more: How to get mind-blowing reviews?

Mantra 2: Custom response for every Google reviews

If you reply to a bad review with a run-of-the-mill automated message, you have lost the battle. From the customer’s point of view, this message looks like an insult. It communicates indifference. When you should actually be showing consideration.

Address the customer by their name and answer the bad google review by referencing it. The majority of companies give an automated answer. Your effort in creating a custom message helps you differentiate your brand. Your answer should communicate the fact that you have read and understood their review.

Mantra 3: Hammer down conned Google Reviews

You need to jump into action and find out if the review actually does hold merit. You don’t want to be conned by someone. There are people who try to take advantage of a company’s gracious nature. There are also people who would deliberately give a bad review with the sole intent of damaging your reputation.

The market always has tough competition. So, it is not uncommon for competitors to hire people to leave fake reviews. You should talk to the people involved and get to the root of the problem.

This step allows you to determine the type of reviews you are getting. It can also showcase holes in your system. Genuine bad reviews can help a company grow. This investigation can also alert you if your competition is showering fake customer ratings and reviews on you.

If the review is genuine, you should move on to the next step. Otherwise, report the fake review to the host site. 

Mantra 4: Little sorry goes a long way

If it was your fault, apologize. Even if it wasn’t your fault apologize. This is a matter of decency. The customer expects this. Any response offered without an apology will seem dry. You want to seem genuine. The purpose of this exercise is to re-establish trust. Let your customers know that you recognize the error. Tell them that you are truly sorry for the inconvenient experience.

You should create a bond of understanding between the company and the customer. The apology doesn’t have to be a paragraph long. Even 2 sentences would work just fine.

Mantra 5: Sing praises in melody

Alongside apology, it is important to thank the customer for their review. An apology will remedy the mistake a little. But it is common. However, showing appreciation for a bad review will seem like a breath of fresh air. It is not something people come across every day. This mantra will help you differentiate yourself from the rest of the brands.

You have to tell them that you are grateful for their feedback. Let them know that you made the effort to read and understand their problem. Show gratitude towards them for choosing you in the first place. But you don’t want to seem patronizing.

Read more: How to use Google Reviews for Marketing?

Mantra 6: Outline the Investigation

If you had to be careful with the above 2 steps, you should be extra cautious for this one. You need to communicate to the customer what went wrong. At the same time, it should not come off as justification for the problem. If it does, you can expect another bad google review.

As you answer bad reviews, you have shown that due diligence has been conducted. That the problem has been identified. Add in appreciation towards the customer for pointing it out. You can present pointers from your investigation. Most importantly, you must convey that the issue has been resolved. The person should feel that if they are to be your customers again, they won’t be facing the same problem.

Drive these points home and you will surely win back their trust. That’s how to answer bad reviews. In order to turn them into good reviews and even recommendations continue reading.

Mantra 7: Take bad Google Reviews Offline

Internet interactions can get messy. Even if you present your best side, you might not receive the same courtesy from the other side. You need to understand that bad customer reviews usually come from a place of anger. It is no surprise that many times subsequent conversations become ugly. You don’t want to display it online. So the first thing you should try to do is get the conversation offline.

You should try to get the customer’s number and limit your responses to direct messages only. You should never respond to a bad review through a comment or a reply. If you already have the customer’s contact number then give them a call. You can continue placating them on call.

Mantra 8: Show off a little

turn bad google reviews into recommendations

As you are working to resolve the customer’s problem, it is important to let them know about it as well. You should continue to follow up with the customers about their problems. They should feel that you are working truly hard for their benefit. It is necessary to update them about the progress of their problem resolution as well.

But, don’t overdo it to the point of irritation. You should update them about the progress, inform them about delays if any, and ask if they have received the solution as per their desire. Get this step right and you will be able to create a little sympathy for your brand. This will help in the latter part of the process.

Mantra 9: Compensate generously

Once you have resolved the customer’s problem, it’s time to go the extra mile. In most cases resolving a problem would suffice. You can end the matter there with an apology and a thank you. But you can turn the tables and convert a hurt customer into a loyal customer. Things get even more difficult from here onwards.

You need to offer the customer something more than they can expect. It can come in the form of a freebie, a gift, or something along those lines. It should be surprising. If it is something mundane or expected, it won’t have the necessary impact.

Taking things even further, you can even offer coupons or discounts on future purchases. This way you can ensure continued business from the customer. You get future opportunities to show this customer the positive side of your brand experience.

Mantra 10: Change the game

Now the hard part’s done, let’s get to the delicate part. The reason we started this exercise in the first place. Now that you have apologized, problem-solved, and compensated, it’s time to ask the customer to reconsider their initial review. You have the opportunity to win back your reputation.

You cannot ask them to change their review right off the bat. You must ask them to give a review for your customer service. If you have showcased your efforts properly, you would have gained a little sympathy from the customer. Now it’s time to capitalize on it.

As much as possible, you should drive the conversation towards the initial review and how it has damaged your reputation. Remember, the only person who removes bad reviews on Google is the customer. You should capitalize on the sympathy factor and ask them to change the ratings. You can tell to keep the original review, just add the part about your problem resolution.

This would take you from one-star google review to at least 3 stars. If you feel the customer is comfortable with this request, you can add another bait to make it happen. This is the time to offer additional benefits such as discounts or memberships for upgrading the review. You can even take this a step further and offer more benefits for recommending you to their friends and family.  If you have followed the mantras properly, they definitely will.

That’s how you answer bad reviews on google and turn it into a good review + recommendation + future business + customer loyalty. Any business can vouch for the immeasurable benefits of this equation.

Now, all this is a little difficult to pull off. That’s where Kooyal Reviews can help. It can not only help you while countering bad reviews but also prevent bad reviews as well.

Check out the miracle that is Online Review Management with Kooyal Reviews here.

About Kooyal Reviews

Kooyal offers a wide arsenal of business management, organization, communication, and marketing tools. Online Review Management is just one of our amazing products. You can check out more of our offerings here.

The world of online business is changing and so are the customers. Kooyal helps your brand be up to date.

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