Social Media can truly be a two-edged sword. On the one hand positive reviews can really boost a small company’s reputation with potential customers. People tend to regard customer reviews as nearly 97 percent of customers read reviews before purchasing something from a local company.
So if for a business that had plenty of positive 4-star and 5-star reviews congratulations, consider yourself lucky. However, there are always plenty of people who strongly, even violently disagree with you.
These types of customers will be satisfied with nothing less than an attempt to completely ruin your business.
I saw this type of event when I was in the Air Force and at a new base. I had been to town approximately 2 days, and went into a fairly new Vietnames restaurant.
The food was good and reasonably priced. The atmosphere was pleasant. When my new office mates asked me where I went for lunch I told them. Their reactions were horror.
Apparently, according to the rumor, my Vietnamese Restaurant served rat, squirrel, or any other kind of unpleasant variety of food. I’m sure if it was in 2020, it would be bat meat.
I don’t know who started this nasty rumor, but needless to say this new business went out of business within three
But that was in 1988. Nowadays it’s significantly easier to start a nasty rumor. Just post it on social media.
Many businesses have such fear of the power of negative reviews that they rush to an attorney and file a lawsuit if the person is a relatively influential reviewer. It’s not uncommon for people to spend $25.000 or more in anti-defamation lawsuits.
So what about your business, should you hire a lawyer if the occasional negative review pops up?
Generally not? What you really want is an honest attempt to clear the decks regarding negative complaints. Unfortunately, many business owners are so irate when they feel they have been unjustly criticized that they cannot remain objective.
For that reason, many businesses hire an online reputation repair specialist. So what does an online reputation repair service do?
One of the things they do is to contact the complainer, if possible, to gather facts. Then after an investigation, they make a response, preferably directly with the complainer but off-line.
Many negative complaints are handled this way and the original reviewer may even issue a public apology.
If the reviewer can’t be contacted individually, an online reputation counselor will work with the publisher of the reviews. Often they will be given an opportunity to explain the companies side of the story right beneath the original reviews
In some cases the publisher will be asked to remove the review, and a surprising percentage of those the reputation counselor works with will comply.
Another thing a reputation repair company can do is determine whether the individual leaving the review violated any of Google’s terms of service. If so, Google may step in and remove the review.
If the review or negative information can’t be removed, Google will sometimes do what is called search engine suppression. It may stay up, but Google can force it to the bottom of the page.
Once hiring a reputation repair company, most businesses see a significant improvement in overall review ratings and reputation within two months.
Reputation repair is not magic. It takes time and also a good reputation built up with publishers. But seeing as to how a single negative review can drop a local businesses revenue by 22 percent, reputation repair is a necessary part of most companies business plan.