Reviews Are a Tough Business


Reviews are a tough business for any company, especially when you run into the occasional unfavorable review from a customer you thought you served well only to find out you missed the mark. Or something that could’ve been dealt with by your company was never addressed because the customer suffered in silence rather than being up front about their feelings.

Another challenging aspect of reviews is that not all review platforms or review websites are created equal. Your business may have excellent star ratings on one credible website, but on another website fail miserably at meeting any customer’s expectations. Sometimes you may ask yourself, “What gives?”

After thorough research it would seem that the very channels companies depend on to help them grow and achieve success, like Yelp, put their business interests above your businesses interests citing customer and community interests as the first priority. As noble as this sounds, it would seem that in every aspect business really is business. Google, Yelp, and Facebook all serve customers just like you, and those customers want what they want.  Like any service related business, we’ve all come to the understanding and conclusion that the customer isn’t always right, but it doesn’t change the outcome of your business’ fate online.

Many companies have a Facebook, Google, and Yelp account. All of which may have very different star ratings. For Facebook and Google the reviews occur organically and are able to provide a holistic overview of the service a company provides. On Facebook, if a customer wants to see the most helpful, most recent, or star rating they have the ability to do so, but the company does not remove or “hide” reviews based on its belief of whether or not the review was coerced or solicited. For Google reviews, the default setting is most helpful, but also allows viewers to look based on most recent, highest and lowest scores. Again, at no point does Google remove or tailor reviews based on its own personal preference.  Yelp, another review platform, is a company that’s increase in negative reviews since its inception has somehow positioned itself as an authority on review bias.

The goal of Yelp, originally, was to help customers in a community find reputable services and providers in their area with a version of “word of mouth” online. A two-way street to help customers find what they need, and to help business owners grow, according to the CEO of Yelp. Looking for an unbiased opinion? Think again. Yelp’s algorithm also chooses the reviews YELP thinks are relevant to show a customer, rather than showing the reviews chronologically which would provide a well-rounded and unbiased overview of a company’s service over time. Finally, a company’s star rating is based solely on the 15 or 18 reviews Yelp decides to recommend, unlike Facebook and Google who weigh all reviews before giving a star rating.

Even still, we all understand that reviews and review platforms are not going anywhere anytime soon. Rather than see reviews as a hindrance, consider the value reviews can bring when dealt with properly. Brand awareness is essential to any business and reviews can be a great way to get your business recognized online. If your company is struggling with reviews or needs a little boost, read a few of the helpful tips below.

  1. When reading reviews, remain calm and objective. Any feedback is good feedback as it helps your company continue to grow.
  2. Take reviews with a grain of salt. In a service business you do what you can to please your customer, but sometimes it’s not always possible. Take the review to help you learn and then move on.
  3. Respond professionally. Draft a couple responses and have another employee or manager read them. Two sets of eyes are better than one and you cannot always discern your tone, but someone else can.
  4. Do not argue. Arguing or threatening customers for sharing their experience will not help you find a resolution, it’ll just make things worse.
  5. Ask the customer to reconsider. Once you find a resolution ask the customer if they’d be willing to take down their review or edit it to mention the positive outcome. Some customers are more than willing to help you out if you listen and resolve their issue.

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