Reputation Management: How to Get Rid of Negative Reviews
I’m occasionally asked by business owners and managers how to deal with the negative reviews they receive. Negative reviews can and will have a direct response in decreasing a company’s rankings.
My first and best advice for them is to take a serious look at why they’re getting bad reviews in the first place. Numerous bad reviews are a direct indication something really sucks in their company’s process and is pissing off their customers big time. It’s important for business owners and managers to know and get it through their heads that all the strategies, tips and tricks won’t make any difference if their business practices suck at some level. Business owners need to swallow their pride and fix the problems. Sometimes that means firing their relatives who think they’re untouchable.
Part of this equation comes down to the need for some serious counseling if the company is run by a husband / wife team. This scenario can too often turn into a soap opera nightmare. It also depends on who’s wearing the pants at the company. Just because his name is on the door doesn’t mean he’s in charge….which is usually the case. I’ve seen first hand companies with a husband / wife team that turn their company into an extension of their family dynamics and treat their employees as if they were their children. Adding to that dysfunction a wife who constantly disagrees with her husbands methods of running the business and you have a blood filled Shakespearean drama. This however, is exceptionally detrimental to the moral of a company’s employees. What inevitably happens is they are told to do such and such by the husband but is later on vetoed by the wife who gets angry with her husband’s decision. To make matters worse the wife in this scenario berates her manager for doing what he was told to do; explaining that they are a “manager” and need their expertise to override her husband when he makes stupid decisions. This is a no win situation for the manager.
As incredibly ridiculous this may sound it actually happened and happens way too often. Business owners or managers who are inept in their own decision making blame their subordinates or employees for mistakes they make. Huge egos, narcissists, bullies, and those who can never admit their wrong and are just plain pricks create an atmosphere in the work place that is toxic. Moral sucks and leaves employees embittered and apathetic which leads to poor performance, mistakes and a basic “I don’t give a shit” attitude.
When a company’s atmosphere becomes so toxic, even if on the outside to the owners or executives it may appear everyone is fine, a company is doomed to reap a pile full of negative reviews because the anger felt by the employees is then redirected at the company’s customers; since they can’t tell the owners or executives exactly how they feel and still receive a pay check. The level of sabotage can vary from broken merchandise to apathetic customer service but its all to hit the company big shots where it hurts the most….their wallet.
I wish I could tell you this level of employee disenchantment was small but I can’t. In today’s marketplace too many employers are demanding their workforce to do the work of 2 or 3 people for less money and put up with a bucket full of crap.
So in company’s such as these….there is no reputation management that can help. These type of business owners need counseling or to fire their spouse. A two headed monster can’t survive.
Reputation Management for Good Businesses
Now when its the case of some bad reviews that need to go away that are hurting a good company that is not like the aforementioned scenario there are steps you can take to remedy the situation.
First off you must realize bad reviews don’t ever go away; but you can bury them deeper in the pages.
- Contact the person writing the bad review and asks what you can do to make it right if they would remove it
- Understand, they may have a legit reason so you may need to suck it up, apologize and make it right regardless
- This is honestly the best method and the most honest one
- Contact the website and ask if they would remove it – (not likely but you can ask)
- Contact your previous clients and ask them if they wouldn’t mind giving you a good review if they were pleased with their level of service or product purchases. Most people will agree but keep in mind you need to make it simple for them to do so.
- Get video reviews if possible, they rank higher and faster than written ones
- Go to forums and blogs and either write reviews for yourself or hire someone else to do it
- If you do it yourself you have to create aliases since you can’t be the same person saying nice things about your company over and over
- Go to directories and do the same thing
- The more bad reviews there are the more good ones you’ll have to create to counter them
- Avoid commenting on bad reviews giving your version of events, this only gives it more power if you do
Note: If you ever experience someone or a competitor purposely creating bad reviews which are fictitious, hire an attorney to deal with it.