How to Get Customers to Edit Their Bad Reviews

General, Google My Business

In today’s world of marketing, customers have just as much control over the perception of a brand as the business itself. From restaurants to computer software, consumers flock to online review sites like Yelp, Google Maps, and TripAdvisor to give them advice.

  • 97% of people read reviews for local businesses. (BIA/Kelsey)
  • 93% of consumers say online reviews impact their purchasing decisions. (Podium)
  • 89% of consumers read businesses’ responses to reviews. (BrightLocal)
  • While every business loves positive reviews, every business must have a strategy in place to monitor and manage bad reviews.
  • Why is getting customers to edit their bad reviews so important?
  • 94% say an online review has convinced them to avoid a business. (ReviewTrackers)
  • 80% of consumers have changed their minds about a recommended purchase after reading negative online reviews. (Cone Communications)
  • Businesses risk losing as many as 22% of customers when just one negative article is found by users considering buying their product. (Moz)

So, how do you manage the negative reviews and strategically approach customers to edit their bad reviews? Candidly, it’s an art. Asking customers to simply change or edit their bad reviews could create an even more damaging experience.

In this post, we explain a few specific steps you can take to put a process in place for managing negative reviews and optimize your chances of getting customers to edit any bad reviews they might leave.

How to Get Customers to Edit Their Bad Reviews

Here are five specific steps you can take to improve your chances of getting customers to edit their bad reviews:

1. Determine the motivation for posting.

One of the most important things you can remember when addressing negative reviews is that customers write reviews for a reason. Understanding the motivation behind a customer’s negative review is key. Not only does it help you determine which reviews are worth responding to (vs. which reviews should be flagged), it also helps you craft the best response strategy for each review.

For example, someone who leaves a vengeful review should get a response that’s different than someone who leaves a review where they recognize their concern might be an isolated issue that can be addressed.

In most cases, negative reviews are neither punishment nor the end of the road. Instead, they’re a form of customer outreach that’s often akin to a cry for help. Taking time to understand a customer’s motivation for posting allows you to create a response that’s tailored to the customer and his or her situation.

2. Be human in your initial response.

This is another important principle to remember when addressing negative reviews. Many businesses tend to respond to negative reviews with empty phrases like “We’re so sorry you had a bad experience,” or “We were saddened to hear you were dissatisfied.”

A better approach is to empathize with them, show them that you’re paying attention, and let them know that you’re working to fix the problem.

3. Do everything you can to resolve their issue.

If you’re able to connect with the customer who left a bad review, you’re being given a second chance. It’s then up to your brand to do everything you can to change the customer’s opinion.

You should do everything in your power to remedy the situation. Sometimes, that might look like addressing their specific problem. Other times, it might look like offering a second positive experience that outweighs the initial negative one.

With every legitimate negative review, your goal should be to wow your customers back into the relationship. Addressing what went wrong is a promotional opportunity for you, in some cases. Even if it doesn’t turn out that beautifully, posting a desire to make things right reassures other potential customers that you care about providing them with good experiences.

4. If they’re absolutely happy, consider asking them to edit their bad review.

It’s important to note here that asking a customer to edit his or her bad review is a risky move. If, and only if, you know the customer’s experience as been remedied, then it’s appropriate to ask him or her to edit the bad review or post a new review as an update.

You should never demand that customers edit their negative review. However, it can be worth asking or reminding customers to edit their review, especially if you’ve addressed their negative experience and they’re happy with your business.

This is where understanding their motivation for posting the negative review comes in handy. If someone comes across as vengeful, you’ll probably want to just leave them alone. But if someone seems to be posting a negative review to give others a “heads up,” then it might be worth bringing that up when you ask them to adjust their review. Recognize the fact that they’re looking out for others and ask them to share an update now that you’ve resolved the issue.

5. If the review is fake, flag it for removal.

Some negative reviews might be fraudulent. If you notice a review that seems suspicious, it’s important to check your records to see if that person is an actual customer.

Every review website gives businesses the chance to flag reviews to be removed. You can read the specific policies for Google, Yelp, & TripAdvisor.

It’s important to note that even if you flagged the review, prospects may still see it, or it may not be removed. This is why you should always be proactive and intentional about the way you respond.

Need Help Managing Your Online Reputation?

If responding to negative reviews wasn’t in your business plan, we’d love to connect.

Our team at The SEO Silo can help you create a plan not only to manage online reviews but to proactively improve them. And, because we’re part of a full-service marketing agency—Green Apple Strategy—we can help you improve customer experience through our marketing services, customer service and sales training, and other agency services.

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