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How Are You Handling Your Customer Reviews Online?

Lately, we have been receiving calls here at Higher Images, from clients about the customer reviews online, regarding their business.

Sites such as Google, Yelp, CitySearch and more allow customers to post reviews about companies they do business with. From pizza joints to dental offices, customers are posting their experiences – both good and bad.

Many customers who have found negative reviews often call us, asking how they can get them removed. Before we get into those details, however, we want to explain why you shouldn’t remove them.  You see, customers can have bad experiences anywhere.  Perhaps it was just a bad day, a new employee, your business was short-staffed, or you have a disgruntled ex-employee.  Regardless of the reason, business owners must look at their reviews as an opportunity to learn and grow their business.

Typically, when a customer has a bad experience with a business, they are more intent on publishing negative reviews in more than one location – especially if the customer attempted resolve the issue with the company, with no luck.

Not only only is scouring the internet and deleting bad reviews for your business a bad idea – it’s bad business. If a customer has taken a significant amount of time to ensure others are reading the negative reviews, as a business owner, you should immediately address them.

If you feel that the negative review is inappropriate or inaccurate, the best way to handle it is to rebut it. Address the customer directly on the review site, with your description of events, and why you feel that you have done the right thing in your business practice.

If the negative review is warranted, it is imperative you show your good will towards valued customers, by either asking the customer to contact you directly via the review site or tracking down the customer through your business records. Deleting reviews will only further upset the customer, and give them the feeling that it doesn’t matter to you whether customers are satisfied or not.

In order to respond to a review, you most likely will need to claim your business via the specific site.  Most sites will require some sort of verification on your end – such as a phone call or postcard – in order to ensure that you are the owner or representative of your business.  Once the verification process is complete, you will then be able to address the review.

While we can’t stop you from deleting a review, we certainly won’t encourage it (unless it is warranted). Competition is fierce in the business world, and while none of us want to see anything negative about our businesses, we would be better off addressing the issue, and utilizing it to better our business (and business practices) for future customers.

No business is perfect, but addressing negative comments will take you much farther with potential customers than sweeping it under the rug.  9 out of 10 times, the review will reappear and cause irreparable damage to your reputation.

The following list – while not all inclusive – are some of the most common sites that business owners will find reviews posts.  Again, there are many, many sites out there that allow users to post their experiences with businesses, but the below are the most common:

Google Reviews

Simply go to Google and type in your business name, followed by the word reviews. If your business has any reviews on Google, you should easily be able to find them in this way.  Click on the review link, and it should take you to your business’ Google Place/Local page.  Lower down, on the right hand side of the page, you should see “Is This Your Business?” with a “Manage This Page” link.  Follow the instructions, in order to claim your listing, and have the ability to post responses to reviews.

If you want the review removed, you can request Google do that for you, by going here.


Yelp was once thought of as a “social” review site, containing reviews and write-ups about bars, restaurants, clubs and other “socially” centered businesses.

However, Yelp has evolved into a well-rounded review site that allows users to post reviews about any type of business they frequent. Because Yelp is a site centered around user reviews, that is the main reason people visit the site.  If your business has a negative review on Yelp, realize that it could be found (and relied on) by many, many potential customers.

To claim your business on Yelp, simply go to the site, and search for your business in the search bar. In the results, select your business.  You should see “Edit Business Details” and “Work Here? Unlock This Page”.  In either case, Yelp will require verification that you are the business owner, or an authorized representative of the business before you can edit your business details or reply to/address a review.

City Search

Just like Yelp, simply go to the website and do a search for your business.

Once your business is located, you can then click on the link towards the upper right hand side of the page that says, “Own This Business?”.  The verification is a quick and automated process, and will allow you to update any/all business information, as well as the ability to address reviews.

There are upgrades/paid options available that will allow for advertising, call tracking and more.

Also, if you are a Search Magnet Local customer, you have the ability to rebut or address any negative reviews that you may encounter, simply by logging in to your Web Marketing Console account.  If you have any questions on how to do this, don’t hesitate to contact us at 412.203.1996.