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How to Weed out Negative Reviews!

by | Jul 23, 2023 | Franchise development tips

Negative reviews can make potential customers and prospective franchisees reconsider their choices and question the brand’s credibility. With multiple franchise locations and diverse customer bases, franchises face a unique challenge in managing their online reputation.

According to a BrightLocal survey, 94% of consumers admit that a negative review can discourage them from engaging with a business.

In comparison, 98% of people at least ‘occasionally’ read online reviews for local businesses.

These numbers emphasize the profound influence online reviews can have on a business.

how much people rely on reviews

Effectively addressing negative feedback improves the public’s perception of a brand and reveals a franchise’s commitment to customer satisfaction.

So how can franchise owners preemptively handle negative comments and leverage them to increase brand loyalty?

How to Deal With Negative Reviews?

When a negative review appears, it can initially feel like a blow. However, it’s essential to approach it with the right mindset and strategy.

  • Stay Calm and Professional

While being firm in your response is important, it is essential to remain professional and courteous. Refrain from being defensive and engaging in personal attacks, which will further damage your reputation.

Example: “We appreciate your feedback and are sorry to hear about your negative experience. We take customer satisfaction seriously and would like to address your concerns.”

  • Respond Promptly

A swift response shows that you value customer feedback and are committed to resolving issues.

Example: “Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. We assure you we are looking into it and will provide a comprehensive response shortly.”

88% of consumers are more likely to choose a business that responds to all reviews, positive or negative comments.

how many reviews are answered

  • Publicly Acknowledge the Review

Before diving into a detailed response, publicly acknowledge the review to show other potential customers that you take feedback seriously.

Example: “We have received your review and appreciate your honesty. We are committed to delivering the best possible experience and will do our best to address the issues you’ve raised.”

  • Apologize and Empathize

Even if you disagree with the review, it’s important to apologize for any negative experience the customer had. Empathy goes a long way in diffusing a negative situation.

Example: “We apologize for any inconvenience or dissatisfaction you may have experienced. We understand how frustrating it can be when expectations are unmet, and we appreciate you bringing this to our attention.”

  • Offer a Solution

Where possible, provide a solution to the customer’s issue or let them know what steps you’re taking to prevent such problems.

Example: “We would like to make it right for you. Please contact our customer service team at [phone number/email address] to discuss how we can resolve this issue to your satisfaction.”

  • Take the Conversation Offline

For complex issues, it may be best to take the conversation offline. Provide contact details and invite the customer to discuss their concerns privately.

Example: “We understand that this issue requires more detailed discussion. Please contact us directly at [phone number/email address] so that we can address your concerns personally and find a resolution.”

Remember, the ultimate goal is to turn the negative situation into a positive one, showing potential customers that you take their feedback seriously and are committed to improving their experience.

Negative Feedback and Reviews on Your Franchise Website

Franchise owners may find themselves in a situation where they believe a negative review should be removed. It’s crucial to understand that this should be a last resort, typically for fraudulent, offensive reviews or violate the platform’s guidelines.

In such cases, the first step is to flag or report the review to the platform, following their particular process. Owners should detail their reasoning, providing evidence if possible.

how to remove negative reviews

  • Google Reviews

Google does not allow spammy, off-topic reviews, contain hate speech, or violate its content policies. Recognizing these guidelines can help decide when a review should be flagged for removal.

Google allows business owners to request the removal of negative Google reviews. Owners can navigate to their Google My Business account, select the location if they have multiple, click ‘Reviews,’ find the inappropriate review, and click ‘Flag as inappropriate’ or ‘Report a Review.’

If the negative Google review is not removed automatically by flagging, you can submit a one-time appeal for further help.

  • Facebook Reviews or Comments

On Facebook, business owners have limited control over the reviews left on the page. If a review violates Facebook’s community standards (e.g., it contains hate speech, spam, or fake reviews), you can report it to Facebook for review.

If the reviews become a significant issue and unfairly impact your business, you can turn off reviews altogether. Remember that this action may also prevent positive reviews from being left, so it should be used sparingly.

As for the comments, you can delete them or hide inappropriate ones that don’t necessarily break any rules.

  • Yelp Reviews

Removing Yelp reviews can be challenging, as Yelp has strict guidelines and a specific process for review removal.

Sign in to your Yelp business account, locate the review you want to report, and click on the flag icon below the review. Select the reason for reporting and provide additional details if requested.

💡 Keep in mind that not all negative reviews should be removed. Research indicates that 62% of consumers would stop buying from companies that censor their reviews. To reduce the impact of negative feedback, respond to reviews by addressing customer concerns and focus on generating more positive reviews.

How to Minimize Negative Reviews?

  • Deliver Outstanding Customer Service

Ensure all staff members understand your brand’s values and customer service standards. Regular training and feedback can help maintain high-quality service.

  • Maintain Consistency Across Franchise Locations

Implement a franchise-wide policy for handling common customer complaints. This ensures that no matter which location a customer visits, they can expect the same high level of service.

  • Promote Open Communication

Provide clear and visible communication channels – like suggestion boxes, customer service emails, or feedback forms – for customers to share their experiences or concerns.

  • Engage with Community

Actively participate in the local community and build customer relationships. Sponsor local events, support charitable causes, and engage with customers on social media.

  • Encourage Positive Reviews

Actively request satisfied customers to leave reviews on platforms of their choice. This can help balance out negative reviews and improve your overall online reputation.

Turning Negative Reviews into Positives

Negative experiences can be valuable opportunities for growth and improvement. By prioritizing customer concerns and implementing targeted improvements, franchise owners can turn negative feedback into positive outcomes.

  • Publicly Address Changes Made

“Thank you for your feedback on our service speed. We’ve taken your comments to heart and have since implemented a new training program to ensure more efficient service. We hope you’ll give us another chance to impress you.”

  • Leverage Customer Feedback for Improvement

“We’ve heard your feedback and improved our menu! Come try our new and improved dishes, and let us know what you think.”

TopFire Media’s Role in Managing Online Reviews

TopFire Media uses advanced tools to monitor online review platforms, allowing franchises to stay informed about new reviews in real time. Our team of experts can work with franchises to craft personalized and effective responses to customer feedback.

From in-depth analysis of reviews to identifying recurring themes and customer sentiment, we help franchises gain valuable insights into customer experiences and make informed business decisions.

Moreover, we have developed several marketing strategies to encourage satisfied customers to share their experiences online. And also execute online reputation management campaigns to reduce the impact of negative reviews.

While it’s impossible to eliminate negative reviews, these strategies can help franchises minimize their occurrence and impact.

So, if you need help managing reviews and raising customer satisfaction levels, contact TopFire Media today at 708-816-5190 or fill up the form. Let’s weed out negative reviews and help your business bloom!