/How to deal with negative reviews on Google
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How to deal with negative reviews on Google

When you run a business and list them on local listings and directories such as Google My Business, Bing Places, Yelp, Yahoo, etc., getting a mix of reviews, comments, feedback, and queries is common. There will be times when you will also get negative reviews for your financial firm. But first of all, let’s clear one thing, negative reviews don’t mean your financial business is bad. They only mean that your clients were not happy with one or multiple aspects of your business. If every business takes negative reviews and feedback too seriously and shut their companies, Google My Business, and other review platforms will be of low or no use. Take these reviews as suggestions which can help your business. You can combat them by dealing with them smartly and focusing on getting more positive reviews. Managing your negative reviews and encouraging more positive feedback is an important part of online reputation management.

Deleting the negative reviews, comments, and feedback isn’t the best way to deal with negative reviews on Google for financial firms even if deleting seems like a great option. Removing negative reviews will only annoy the already upset customers. There are chances that they might post several other negative reviews. So, what is the best way to respond to and fix negative reviews on Google for financial firms? Below is a list of tips that you can consider to deal with negative reviews.

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Respond to Every Review

First things first, no matter how negative the review is, make it a point to respond to each one, without getting defensive or rude. Don’t panic when you receive negative reviews. A negative review on Google for financial firms isn’t the end of the world, and every business listed on Google My Business may have got at least one negative review. The way you respond to the reviews and comments is what matters. Also, everything you say to your reviewers is out in public for all to see. Responding publicly to the negative Google review is very important because you’re not only talking to the reviewer, you’re also talking to potential customers that may read the review in the future. According to the ReviewTrackers Online Reviews Survey 2018, 63.6% of consumers say they are likely to check online reviews on Google before visiting a business. The reviews and your responses will stay for a lifetime unless you plan to remove or flag them later. This means that the reviews and your responses will be available for future clients too, even after a decade or so.

Remember people are busy. So when someone takes a moment to write a review for your business, the least you can do it is to answer and acknowledge the reviewer for taking the time to write. Thank them for taking out time and reviewing your financial firm. Also, thank them for bringing out the issue to your notice. Not responding to positive reviews and feedback is something that can work. But not responding to negative ones is something you must not do at all.

Responding to reviews on Google for financial firms is quite easy.

  1. Sign in to Google My Business account.

  2. Click ‘Reviews’ from the menu. (Note that if you are registered on GMB, your business needs to be verified in order to respond to reviews.)

  3. Click ‘Respond’ to respond to a customer review.

  4. Write a response and click ‘Submit.’

Understand the Dilemma

Rather than getting sad or offended by the negative reviews, try to understand why your customers are not happy with your financial services or your business. Understand that every negative review has a hidden problem or dilemma faced by your customers. When you receive a negative review, look at it as a potential problem your customers are facing. Don’t just respond to the negative reviewer, fix the problem, too. Not only does providing the solution make that customer happier, but also help other potential customers see that you care about what your customers say. Also, don’t refrain from apologizing when it is your financial firm’s mistake or lack of diligence. For instance, if the negative review is because a client didn’t get timely bookkeeping, all that you can do is apologize and commit to them that you will update their books of account for months to follow in a short duration. But make sure you don’t offer gifts or any freebies in your responses, as these reads like bribery.

Lastly, if you have a good rapport with the customers, politely ask them to update or change their review to reflect that the situation has been resolved. This is purely optional. Other ways to combat negative reviews is by focusing on providing better services that will help in generating more positive reviews.

Identify When NOT to Respond

You surely know that you must respond to all the reviews, especially the negative ones. You also know that you must respond quickly so that the negativity gets solved as soon as possible. But do you know that there are times when you should not respond to reviews? Yes, you read it right. There are situations when you must not respond to the reviews at all or take a good amount of time before responding. First, let’s discuss when not replying at all can be a viable option.

Some people aren’t only unhappy with your financial firm, but with every other business, they have dealt with. If you go through the profiles of some reviewers, you will notice that their profile is filled with negative or irate comments for all the businesses. You can choose not replying to such customers and waste your time trying to change that person’s opinion. No matter what you say or commit, these people won’t change their opinion and only add fuel to the fire or commence an argument.

Talking about when you should take time to respond. If you are angry, irritated, busy, too happy, or tired, avoid responding to the reviews and comments immediately. There are chances that you may get excited or not understand the concern and respond inappropriately in such situations. Things written in such emotional moments are rarely what you want the reviewer and the audience to read. Thus, sleep over the reviews and re-read them after a few days. Respond to these reviews only when you are in a good state of mind in order to understand the problem and respond appropriately.

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Don’t Copy-Paste Responses

It is often seen that many financial firms on Google have a set reply to every response. For instance, ‘Thank You’ for good reviews and ‘Sorry for the inconvenience’ for negative reviews are the set responses that businesses give. But this is how automated chat bots respond, and not how businesses should go about their customer reviews. If you think that having 4-5 set responses for different kinds of reviews is better as it saves time to copy and paste the same text, you are sadly mistaken. When reviewers see that every other reviewer is receiving a similar response to their reviews, they may not like it. They may feel that you don’t care about your reviewers and are responding just for the sake of doing it. But when reviewers get more personalized and unique responses, they feel good. They feel that you are actually listening to their concerns and are committed to solving the problems so that you are able to provide better services them.

We know that potential customers often consider online reviews and ratings before choosing a business. When a potential customer sees that you have similar replies for most of your reviews, they may not be impressed by your financial firm and move to a competitor. It hardly takes a few more minutes to respond in a more detailed and personalized manner. Therefore, understand every review and respond to them in a way like a person is actually trying to make an effort to solve the problem.

Flag Irrelevant and Fake Reviews

From time to time, say every 3-6 months, you must review all the comments, feedback, and reviews received on your Google listing. You will surely see a mix of reviews unless your financial firm is one of the best ones in the town. While evaluating the reviews, you will notice that some extremely negative reviews are not appropriate, necessary or they are irrelevant. You might also identify some spam reviews that aren’t of any use. In such a situation, you can flag or even remove these reviews. Yes, it is suggested not to delete reviews no matter how bad they are. But if the reviews are fake and irrelevant, you must remove them in order to give a true picture of your business.

Google allows you to flag reviews that are fake so they can remove them. You must know that the reviews, comments, and feedback that violate the Google review policies and posting guidelines can be removed from your Google My Business listings. Some of the guidelines set by Google are:

  1. This post contains hateful, violent, or inappropriate content: When a reviewer threatens you or your employee, tries to become racist, uses abusive words and inappropriate language, or gets too personal.

  2. This post contains advertising or spam: When a reviewer tells people to take action or do something for or against your business. Or when a reviewer constantly posts the same reviews and spams your review feed.

  3. This post contains conflicts of interest: When a competitor advertises their services while adding negative reviews about your business.

  4. This post is off-topic: When a reviewer posts a negative review for your financial firm but describes irrelevant aspects such as housekeeping services.

Here is how you can flag a review for removal on Google from your desktop or laptop:

  1. Sign in to your Google My Business account

  2. Find the review you want to flag on Google listing or Google Maps

  3. Click the three-dot menu 

  4. Click ‘Flag as inappropriate.’

Take Reviews As Feedback

You don’t always have to get offended or start thinking what went wrong from your end every time you get a bad review. You can take the negative feedback positively. Think of all the negative reviews and comments as learnings. Look at all the reviews as suggestions that can make your financial firm better. Negative reviews can highlight where your financial firm is lagging. Understanding these pain-points of your business gives you a chance to improve and provide better services to the future clients.

For instance, imagine if your customer complains about the lagging customer service. They are unhappy with an accountant or because your service didn’t work as they expected. Rather than taking it personally or explaining the reasons to the customer, you can take the review as feedback.

When you get an undesired review, take this opportunity to get insights into what your financial firm might be doing wrong, and thus, you may discover ways to improve your business. You can work on the quality of your customer service and ensure that people don’t face the same issue again. Understand that you would have no way of knowing how to improve if you don’t have reviews and feedback. Therefore, take every negative review positively, learn the issues associated with them, and work towards finding the solution and becoming a better financial firm.

You are the one responsible for to respond to the reviews, comments, and feedback that come from Google, Yahoo, Bing, social media, and other platforms. Responding in the best way, at the right time, and solving the concerns of your reviewers is all you need to do to fix negative reviews on Google for financial firms. You can seek assistance from a credible online reputation management firm. The team of professionals knows the best ways to respond to different reviews and comments, thereby solving the issue. They can keep track of all the positive as well as negative reviews, and ensure that you don’t lose out on existing or potential customers. Not to forget, these professionals not only deal with Google reviews but all the other reviewing platforms.

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Digital marketing, sales and technology expert. Public speaker, and entrepreneur. Co-founder of Rapid Boost Marketing. Ali's Lifelong Goal is to help propel and market businesses. Ali brings out of the box thinking to the table because he believes what worked yesterday won't work tomorrow. For him the bottom line matters, but relationships matter the most. His passion is to connect with people and help them market their businesses. Connect with Ali on linkedIn or visit http://rapidboostmarketing.com