Do a Google search for your company name. Look through all the search results on Page 1, 2 and 3, and see if there are any that have stars next to them. Many online listings sites allow consumers to leave reviews for companies, but only a few show your average star rating in Google search results. Google Places is, of course, the most important, as it's the most popular, and your overall star rating with Google Places can affect your website and Google Places ranking. Other websites that show your average star rating in Google search results are Facebook, Houzz, Thumbtack, Yelp, Yellow Pages, Better Business Bureau, and Superpages. Out of these, the most popular sites for people to leave reviews on are Google Places, Facebook, and Yelp. There are plenty of other sites that allow reviews and ratings, but these are the most important ones.
So what do you do if you get a negative review? Remember that you cannot remove reviews. Obviously if companies could do that, it would defeat the purpose of allowing customers to leave honest reviews at all! But here's what you can do instead:
Here's a negative review that was left for one of my roofing contractor clients:
"Charged more than the original quote and did sloppy work and nails everywhere. Don't ever hire this company their the worse."
(I've included original misspellings and grammatical errors.)
My client checked in his records and could find no information about this person (and of course the name he left on the review might have been fake). My client was very angry and said he was going to "tell that guy off". I told him to let me reply to the review instead, and here was my reply:
"We cannot find a customer in our records with this name. If there was a problem with our pricing or quality of work for this job, we sincerely apologize and ask that you contact our office as soon as possible so that we can try to rectify this issue."
When the company replies to a review, usually the person who left the review will get an email notification about the reply. My client never did hear back from that "customer".
Now here's another negative review left for a different client:
"They suck. Period."
My client's reply:
"well you suck to you piece of crap go get a life you looser"
(Again, I've included original misspellings and grammatical errors.)
Now, which company would you be willing to still do business with despite the negative review?
If the review you want to dispute or report is on your company Facebook page, and you're an administrator of the page, you can report the review. And YellowPages.com allows anyone to "flag" a review, even if you don't have login access to your YellowPages.com listing.
So what can you do to avoid getting negative reviews? Other than closing up your business, nothing! Obviously provide the best customer service and quality of work possible so that your customers are happy. But you can't make everyone happy, and you can't avoid troublemakers or disgruntled ex-employees or competitors leaving negative reviews for your company. And obviously removing all of your online listings doesn't make sense, because you need an online presence to get customers. So besides providing exceptional service, the best thing you can do is ask happy customers to leave reviews for you on the important sites such as Facebook, Google Places, etc. The more 5-star reviews you get, the less that 1-star review is going to hurt your overall star ranking. If you have no reviews on a site, and someone leaves a 1-star review, your overall star ranking is 1. But if you have four 5-star reviews on that site, and someone leaves a 1-star review, the site will average 5, 5, 5, 5, and 1, so your overall star ranking will be 4.2. Plus, the more positive reviews you have, the less people will care about one or two negative reviews.
But what if you only have a couple of reviews AND they're negative? You need to get that star ranking up by having happy customers leave 5-star reviews, but it's going to take time. If your company gets a bunch of 5-star reviews in a short period of time, such as a matter of days or even weeks, the listing site might end up removing all of those good reviews because it will look suspicious. A good rule of thumb is to have customers leave one positive review every 2 weeks or more. The farther apart the reviews are, the more likely they will look legitimate to the listing site (and people who are reading them). The last thing you want is for prospective customers to think you're making up reviews or having friends leave them.
So, instead of scrambling to get good reviews after someone has left you a negative review, start getting those positive reviews posted NOW, to offset any negative reviews you might get in the future.
Learn about Company Reviews and Testimonials in general, why they're so important, how to get them, and where to show them, HERE.