Online reviews for businesses in the service industry are so important to those businesses! A good business consistently responds to both positive and negative reviews. Good review ratings and responsiveness are paramount for businesses that are on top of their game. Every business gets bad reviews one way or another, justified or not, it’s how a business responds to those reviews that is important.
The thing is though, not every bad review is always legitimate, justified, or helpful. Sometimes bad reviews are just kind of silly, and those types of reviews just need to be shrugged off for the most part. Other times, someone may have had a legitimate bad experience with a business but the review they left wasn’t very helpful or impactful. From a customer perspective, it is important to know good practices for leaving helpful reviews. It is nice to vent, but at the end of the day, a good business wants to get better at what they do. Doing your due diligence as a consumer to leave a review that is helpful and constructive goes a long way for businesses that are serious about their service! It’s okay to be negative, no one is looking for a puff piece, but finding a way to offer constructive criticism rather just criticism is very valuable.
Just by doing a quick Google search you can actually find Google’s own advice for writing great reviews. Their first tip is to be informative and insightful when leaving a review for a business. If you liked the place, then say what specifically you liked about it. If there was anything you have never seen before that was unique, mention that as well! If you disliked the place, be sure to say what exactly it was that you did not like. The hardest thing for business owners is to get a one or two star review that has no comments attached to it. When that happens there is no way to know how to get better or do something about that person’s poor experience.
Business owners always want to improve and as a customer writing a review it is important to give information that allows business owners to do that. Google’s also suggests keeping it real. It is okay to say both positive and negative things! Just give all of the details about your own experience and visit. A truthful and honest review, whether it be positive or negative, does so much more for business owners and customers alike than any review with no comments at all.
Making sure to respectful is another thing Google points out and I agree! Look, not every experience with a business is going to be a good one, some might just be downright terrible. However, the vast majority of these businesses are not setting out to purposely do a bad job or ruin your day. Sometimes after a bad experience it is easy to just want to vent and go crazy on a review about a business. Even in those moments of frustration just try to remember that the only way a place is going to get better is if that negativity is made to be constructive. Tarnishing a place you had a bad experience at without pointing out any real ways you think they could improve doesn’t help anyone in the end.
Also, at the end of the day, most business owners and their employees are the same as everyone else. They are just trying to make a living and put food on the table (even if they weren’t the best at putting food on the table for your visit), keep that in mind next time to feel yourself descending in to a blind rage. A good practice for writing review may be to sleep on it! Don’t write a good or bad review right away. It could be beneficial to take some time to gather your thoughts about the experience before etching in to the digital world.
Keep It To Your Experience
Google points out another practice about giving reviews that I hadn’t really thought of up until reading it. That is to make sure that your reviews are always just reviews and not general commentary. There are certain times where a business may find themselves in the center of some type of controversy. Google states that they respect and value everyone’s opinion in these moments, however, local reviews are not the place to vent your frustrations. Places like blogs and social media are the more appropriate online outlets to discuss social or political topics revolving around a business. Local reviews should always reflect your firsthand experience with that business and not what you think about them based on what has been in recent news.
I had never really thought about that before but it is definitely an important thing to note. Just off the top of my head I can remember a bunch of anecdotals where a business did something that got them thrust into news and media coverage or plastered all over social media, and in turn they were absolutely bombed with negative reviews. I get it too, it is really a way where people feel like they are exacting justice for whatever that business has done. In a way it feels right and I can’t really in good faith argue with that. I mean depending on what that business has done there needs to be some sort of social repercussions right? At the same time, I understand and value Google’s point of view. The review system shouldn’t be abused in those ways. That is not what it was made for and even in the worst circumstances, and as hard as it is, outrage should always be fueled elsewhere. Reviews should always be about your experience and that is it.
Finally, if you are leaving a review make sure to make the reviews readable. Use good grammar, spelling, and avoid swearing. People take notice of reviews that are thoughtful and well articulated. Having an impact means having an idea. Be thoughtful about your review, that way only good can come from it!