How to Remove Bad Reviews: The Most Effective Way to Overcome Bad Reviews
No matter how good you are, you are bound to get a bad review every so often. Many contractors think they need to remove bad reviews, however, this isn’t as easy or effective as they think. Instead, it’s better to overcome bad reviews with an effective review management strategy. These eight steps will help you overcome bad reviews and create more leads and jobs.
8 Steps to Overcoming Bad Reviews
- Claim Your Business Listings – If you haven’t already, claim your business listings. For listings that you have already claimed, review and update your information.
- Forget Past Reviews – This may seem counter-intuitive, but forget any review older than 6-months.
- Address Recent Reviews – Respond to every review you’ve gotten in the last 6 months and address any issues those customers mentioned.
- Schedule Time to Manage Reviews – Set aside time to read and respond to new reviews.
- Ask Customers to Leave Reviews – Ask your current customers to leave reviews. You can even follow up with recent customers too.
- Follow Up with Customers – Once you ask for a review, follow up with that customer if they haven’t left a review within a week.
- Respond to All New Reviews – Reply to every review you get, good or bad. Make sure to thank them for their business and address issues they mention.
- Work to Improve Bad Reviews – When you get a bad review, work with that customer to resolve the situation. Then ask them to update their review.
How Reviews Help Generate Leads and Jobs
Reviews are a major trust signal for many potential customers. While they might not read every word of every review, they will likely look at star-ratings and skim the content for themes. Customers usually want at least a 4-star rating and are looking for a positive consensus.
The better your reviews and rating, the more likely customers will choose to contact you. Plus, your reviews rating will also impact both your paid and organic search results. They can influence where you rank in those results as well as make your content more visible to customers.
How to Remove Bad Reviews
Since reviews are important in generating jobs, many companies ask how they can remove bad reviews. Unfortunately, that’s not how reviews work. Once it’s published, the only way to remove bad reviews is to get the author to update their review. Although you can and should try this with every negative review you get, it won’t always work.
While some platforms may allow you to report reviews or dispute them in some way, they will only remove them if they are fraudulent or violate their terms of service. Avoid reporting every negative review, as this can result in the platform blocking you. And that’s certainly not going to help with negative reviews.
Additionally, some platforms may allow you to pay to downplay or remove bad reviews. There are also third-party programs or apps that promise to remove bad reviews. In both cases, there are no silver bullets to fixing your bad reviews. Instead of buying your way out, your time and money are most likely better spent working on addressing the problem.
A better way to overcome bad reviews is with a comprehensive review strategy. Getting reviews and 5-star ratings are just one part of that strategy. However, an effective review strategy also includes responding to reviews, both bad and good. It’s about showing that you are engaged with your customers. This will take a little time and effort, but you will get more leads and opportunities from your reviews.
The Value of Bad Reviews
Reviews are a trust signal for many customers, indicating the level of service they should expect from you. While you may think you need a perfect 5-star rating, a few bad reviews are actually beneficial.
If every review is 5-star, customers are more likely to assume some or all of your reviews are fake. They may also think you are paying to have negative reviews removed. Either way, the result is that they look for another contractor to address their water damage or restoration project.
A mix of 3-, 4-, and 5-star reviews will help all of your reviews look legitimate. Ideally, you want an average rating between 4.1 and 4.8, with the sweet spot around 4.4 to 4.6 stars. However, if all of your reviews are 1- or 2-star you should take a look at your customer service.
How to Overcome Bad Reviews
These 8 steps will help you overcome bad reviews. While they won’t remove them, you can bury them underneath positive reviews.
1. Claim Your Business Listings
From Google to Facebook, there are dozens of websites that offer free business listings where customers can leave reviews. Hopefully, you’ve already claimed some of these listings. Either way, take half an hour to claim as many listings as you can.
Some of the most important are Google, Facebook, Bing Local Places, and Restoration Local, but check out our best sites for reviews guide for more options. If you get locked out of an account, do not create a new one. Instead, work with their support team to gain access to your existing account.
Then update your information on each site. Make sure your business name, address, phone number, and website are identical on each site. This not only makes it easier for customers to find your listings, but it will help your local SEO strategy too. When possible, include your company logo and photos of your truck and recent jobs as well.
2. Forget Past Reviews
Part of overcoming bad reviews is forgetting about things you can’t change. When it comes to reviews that are old than 6-months, try to forget them. Even if you do respond to them, your customer is unlikely to want to do something after all this time. Plus, most customers will only look at reviews from the last 6-months. Your time and effort are better spent working on recent and new reviews.
3. Address Recent Reviews
You should then take the time to read and address all of your recent reviews. This includes your positive reviews as well as your negative ones. For positive reviews, thank your customer for leaving their review and respond to any specific comments they left.
Even if their review is mostly positive, make note of any criticism and include that in your response. When it comes to replying to bad reviews, you want to validate their concerns but move the conversation out of the public space quickly. We cover responding to bad reviews in more detail below.
4. Schedule Time to Manage Reviews
When it comes to responding to recent reviews, you don’t need to address them all at the same time. Instead, set aside half an hour every day or every other day to get through them.
Prioritize your time to dealing with bad reviews and newer customers before replying to less recent customers. Once you get caught up, it should only take you a few minutes every day or two to maintain new reviews.
5. Ask Customers to Leave Reviews
The single most effective way of overcoming bad reviews is with new, positive reviews. Getting new reviews is as simple as asking your customers to leave reviews. However, don’t just ask them to leave a review.
Make sure you talk with them first and mention all the places they can review your service. For many customers, this will be Google or Facebook. However, let them choose what works best for them.
Then send them a link directly to the site or sites they said they use the most. This makes it easy for them to follow through and increases the chances they’ll actually write a review.
6. Follow Up with Customers
You customers are busy, so give them several days to a week to leave a review. Most review sites will email you when a customer leaves a review, but take a few minutes every day or so to check.
If they haven’t left a review after 7 days, you should email or text over the link to their preferred review site again. Wait another 7 days for a review and, if they haven’t taken action, give them a call.
Tell them you are just following up to make sure they are happy with your service and that there isn’t anything more you can do. Then gently remind them about a review one more time before you get off the phone. If they don’t act after that, they probably never will.
7. Respond to All New Reviews
Make sure you have time set aside to respond to all new reviews. Thank your customers for their business and address any concerns or criticisms they mention. Keep in mind that your replies are as much for that customer as they are for future customers. Since reviews serve as trust signals for customers, use your responses to prove your commitment to customer service.
8. Work to Improve Bad Reviews
Know that you are bound to get bad reviews from time to time. They are not the end of the world as long as you respond properly. Never reply in anger or blame the customer, even if you think you did nothing wrong. Angry and hostile responses will only reflect poorly on your business.
Instead, acknowledge them and give them a specific time when you will follow up. Even if they don’t read your response, it will look good to other customers. Make sure you review their job before you call. If you didn’t perform the work yourself, talk to the employee that did.
When you call, make sure you listen to their complaint. Then try to come to a mutually beneficial resolution. If you are able to resolve their issue, ask them to update their review. Our responding to bad reviews guide covers how to deal with these situations in more detail.
Remember, Reviews Create Leads and Jobs
Throughout this entire process, remember that reviews will help create more leads and more jobs. While you can’t remove bad reviews, you can show that you’ve heard your customers and you’re making improvements. You’ll look better to new customers, making them more likely to call you. Never every lead will turn into a job, but there is a direct connection between the number of leads and the number of jobs.
Other Ways to Create Leads and Jobs
A review strategy is one way to get more leads and there are several other marketing strategies that can create them as well. Another way to get more leads is by buying them from 33 Mile Radius. Our exclusive, flat-rate leads work with your reviews and marketing strategies. This gives you more opportunities to land jobs and increase your revenue.
If you’re ready to learn more about our exclusive leads, fill out the form below. One of our business development managers will contact you within one business day. They will explain how our leads work and answer your questions. If you’re ready to start getting more leads today, call 888-594-8381 now to secure your area.