Bad review? Here’s what to do

April 16, 2023

Bad online reviews can haunt your business for months – even years.

Most people who rely on the opionion of others when deciding where to dine or which tradie to choose are fair minded. They know the odd nasty review is likely to pop up in a lengthy list and will put it down to a disgruntled customer who might be having a bad day.

So, as a business owner, what should you do if you’re the one on the receiving end of a poor review? On potentially worse, a fake or misleading one.

Rather than feeling helpless and angry, there are steps you can (and should) take to remove the review and stop fakes from happening again.

Sure, responding can be time-consuming, but it’s worth the trouble if you can salvage your hard-won reputation.

1 – First, correct the record 

Respond privately, explaining to the reviewer the circumstances that led to the issue. They may just have been trying to give honest feedback and didn’t realise the review had been unduly harsh or unfair. If they agree to remove the review it will not linger on the site to influence future potential customers. Great result. If you feel you need to respond publicly, do so in a calm and considered way so that others who read your response will understand how the review came about and whether you dispute it. They will also see the positive way you respond to customer feedback.

2 – Ask for the review to be removed

If you believe the posts are unfounded and unwarranted, and they continue, ask for them to be removed. Check the website’s review guidelines and if you think that the review breaches either these or the agreement you made with the platform when you joined, request the post be removed. Be prepared to supply any evidence you can gather that the posts are fraudulent and misleading, and in breach of the platform’s polices. You should also provide as many factual details as you can, along with examples of positive reviews, to demonstrate that the review is inaccurate and inconsistent with your business’ reputation, and the quality of your services or products.

If you suspect that the review was written by a competitor, give as many details as possible to the review platform so they can check IP addresses and determine if it came from a rival looking to damage your business.

3 – Report the breach

If you have approached a digital platform and they haven’t responded to your request, you can report the breach to Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

If the reviews are of a threatening or harassing nature, contact the police.

Every business owner should hate getting a bad review and go into damage control.

Which makes every good review you get gold. Think of them as mini testimonials that tell your digital audience you’re doing the right thing by the vast majority of your customers.