Online review management is a sensitive task to tackle. Your hands are tied in a number of ways, both from a technical standpoint and from a moral standpoint. On the one hand, you have online review hubs like Google Maps/Places and Yelp that impose strict guidelines on what owners can and cannot say in response to reviews. On the other, you have very little control over what disgruntled employees or angry customers say in a review about your business.
While you have to pay attention to your online review management to a certain extent, you can’t let every bad review get to you. After all, if all users see are five-star reviews, they’ll think you paid off your customers to write good reviews, or worse, they’ll assume you made a bunch of different accounts and wrote them yourself. In either case, a high rating is optimal, but you need a few three and four star reviews sprinkled in here and there, too.
Online Review Management on Google
Google Maps for online review management, which shows up in populated results for Google Places, dominate the search results when a visitor searches for a business. If you have a local business or an online store that sells products, chances are that someone has written a review about you. In case you weren’t aware, you don’t have to create your own business page to have someone review you. They can write a review on your business listing, and then you can go in and claim your page after the fact if necessary.
The online review management comes in after visitors have written reviews about your store. As the owner of the page, you can “respond publicly as the owner” and clarify any misunderstandings so that everyone who visits your page can see both sides of a negative story. On the other hand, you would also do well to respond to positive reviews so visitors who leave good experience stories are rewarded for doing so.
Online Review Management on Yelp
Online review management on Yelp is another story. Yelp actually filters reviews, and seemingly on a whim. They’ll take a perfectly good review from a legitimate customer with a true story and send it to the “filtered” section of your page if they think it demands filtering. When you ask their team for a reason why a good review was filtered, they’ll say it was up to their automation system and that they cannot remove it.
One reason this is the case is due to the fact that Yelp likes continual Yelpers, not one-time Yelpers. In other words, a customer who signs up just to review your store might get their review filtered because Yelp may see them as a spam or rigged review. While this certainly doesn’t happen every time, it happens enough that it becomes a habit.
Even though you can’t get past this part of the system, you can still respond to any review as the owner of the page. Online review management in this case works much better when a customer can see both the owner’s side and the customer’s side.