There’s always that one person, right? One minute tens, hundreds, or even thousands of people are singing your praises in online reviews and then someone comes along and ruins it. Fact or fiction, you go into crisis management mode and have to figure out the options for removing a negative online review.
Let’s get real for a minute. When researching a restaurant, for example, your eyes will skim passed numerous glowing review to read that one-star, biting review. Why? We’re, by nature, drawn into drama. Was it a nasty server? Did the soup arrive cold? Was there a pest situation? We want to know if the negative experience is something we consider in decision to patronize this business. Room temperature tomato bisque? No biggie. A roach infestation? Nope.
But that’s just the thing. What if the horrific scene someone paints of your business simply isn’t true? What if it’s literally incorrect?
Is there recourse for negative online reviews? There sure is.
Recently, a Dallas jury ruled in favor of a wedding photographer to the tune of $1+ million after her client, a popular blogger, took to social media to spread the word about, what she deemed unethical but was contractually obligated to, an unfair fee to get her photos. It wasn’t just a review. It was an ongoing campaign on behalf of the blogger that caused business to dry up completely for the photographer.
On the surface it seems pretty clear. You pay a photographer thousands of dollars then she holds your photos hostage for $150. The blogger is the victim here. That’s what everyone thought until the photographer fought back and proved that the couple only had to fill out a form, make a few choices, and pay the small fee that they agreed to months prior. The smear campaign was unfounded and consequential. You can read more here.
While hiring lawyers and a trial isn’t a great first step, there are others protections in place as a starting point.
Options for removing a negative online review
Google Reviews won’t get between reviewers and businesses when it comes to the factual accuracy of a review, but it will pull reviews that are harassing, contain hate speech, or otherwise violate their review policies. To report a review, simply flag it.
Yelp is similar in that it lets reviewers stand by their reviews. It will, however, consider removing something that has been reported and is written with a conflict of interest, about another’s experience, or includes inappropriate material.
Facebook follows the same type of procedure where a review has to be reported and it must be in violation of their community standards. Also, it can not remove a review consisting only of a star-rating.
Accept that you can’t please everyone
Don’t get too riled up about the occasional negative online review. They happen. It’s more important to have solid online customer service strategies in place and stay cool. Your composure and willingness to work with a displeased reviewer will speak louder than the lowest of ratings.