A few questions about reviews on Google

Ampere

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I have a few questions about how Google's review system works.

1) Does the person leaving a review get an email notification saying that a response to their review has been made?

2) If I edit my response, will they get an email notification then too?

3) Is there any chance of having this 1 star negative review removed by Google since the person who left it made a mistake and I can prove it with a recording?

1 Star
Can't comment on quality of service, knowledge or price considering they never showed up. Didn't show, and didn't call. Didn't answer the phone when I called to ask if they were coming. Oh well.

Response from the owner
The in-home estimate was scheduled for next Monday, not today. I confirmed that just now by listening to the phone call (it was thru Google Local Services which records all business calls) and we did in fact agree on next Monday. I apologized for not being able to get there on a sooner date. I was about to return the voicemail left today when I saw this review and felt that answering here out in the open was the best option. The appointment time was 10AM and this review was left at 11AM, so it didn’t give me much time to try to fix this issue. Even though the appointment wasn’t for today, I know that mistakes happen so I would have done my best to accommodate you like I do with all my customers.
Here is the review and my response. I am not an eloquent writer, I am a darn electrician, so it might not be the best response :eek::p:D

This is my first review that is less than 5 stars so it really hurts :mad:

Just to spell out what happened... he called me to ask for an estimate for some electrical work he needed to be done, we scheduled for next Monday the 13th at 10AM. On Monday the 6th at 10:15 he left me a kinda nasty voicemail* for not showing up and at 11AM he left me a negative review saying that I did not show up.

*I always try to pickup my phone but I was with a customer at this time. I always return voicemails quickly, but he gave me less than an hour to do so before leaving the negative review.
 

djbaxter

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I think you'll find that the general consensus is that you won't get far trying to remove the review.

On the other hand, your response to the review is right on and in all likelihood this review won't hurt you if the rest are positive. In fact, the customer may have done you a favor in a way, since having that review there along with your response makes your review portfolio look more credible to potential new customers. In the real world, getting only 5-star reviews is unusual.
 

Ampere

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I appreciate the very quick response.

I was under the impression that my response to the review was not apologetic enough. But if you think it looks good, I am happy.
 

djbaxter

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I'm sure some of the Local Search pros here will add their comments too but to my eyes your review looks good - it states the facts clearly and offers an apology without rancour.
 

JoshuaMackens

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Honestly, that response should be enough. People are so sensitive these days.

However, if you really want to do it the best way, I would try something similar to this:

Hey, -insert name-, I am so sorry about the mixup! On our calendar our appointment is scheduled for next Monday. I wanted to double check that was the case so I listened to our call and confirmed we agreed on next Monday. Again, so sorry about the confusion. I hope you see this reply. If I don't hear from you in a few days I'll follow up via phone. I wanted to try this first though. I sincerely hope I hear back from you so we can turn you into a 5 star review. I look forward to being your electrician!

~Your name

Really, you're not replying to this guy. You're replying to the potentially thousands of other customers that will read this reply. The above reply is non combative (not that your response wasn't) and doesn't even really attempt to defend yourself, which makes you look understanding and empathetic. If I saw that reply, I'd still give you a call because you sound like you want to make it right.

Again, your reply should be enough in a logical, emotionally healthy world. But I'm not sure we currently live in that world :)

Whatever you decide to, I'm sure will be fine. Just wanted to help if I could.

Good luck!

P.S. Definitely make sure you follow up with them though if you use that reply. Don't just say it and then blow it off. But you don't seem like someone who would do that. I thought I would say it just in case though.
 

Ampere

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Thanks for all the great info.

Do you happen to know if the person who left the review is alerted to my response or my edit of the response?
 

djbaxter

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As of May 2018, yes:

Google to notify those who leave reviews when business owners respond
by Barry Schwartz, Search Engine Land
May 14, 2018 at 9:15 am

The new feature will be rolling out over the next few days.

Google announced both on Twitter and in its forums that it will notify customers or users who leave reviews on Google Local results after owners respond to their reviews.

Reviewers will receive an email notification when a business responds. Google also plans to add mobile push notifications at a later date.

Marissa Nordahl, community manager at Google My Business, said:

When businesses respond to, or update responses to customer reviews, the customer now receives an email notification. The business’s response is published immediately and 5 minutes later, the notification is sent. This 5 minute delay allows time for the merchant to make any corrections to their response after submitting.

The notification email informs the customer of a reply to their review, and contains a link to a page with the full owner response.

Note: The review response is published immediately on Search and Maps.



Here is a screen shot of the email notification:

cache.php?img=https%3A%2F%2Fsearchengineland.com%2Ffigz%2Fwp-content%2Fseloads%2F2018%2F05%2Fgoogle-review-responses.png
 

Ampere

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When businesses respond to, or update responses to customer reviews, the customer now receives an email notification.


Perfect, that answered both questions.

So the person who left me the negative review saw my response but is not man enough to admit his mistake. I would like to give him a smack, and just may.
 

Tim Colling

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I have a suggestion about another way to handle this. I'm not disagreeing with the others' advice, but I think there's another approach that might work.

1) I would first try to call the customer and work things out with them and get them to be satisfied and then ask them to revise their review. I would wait before posting a response to their review until I had tried all that. The world won't come to an end if you wait a few days before responding in a case like this, especially if you already have a lot of 5-star reviews.

My main business objective here would be to salvage the customer relationship and get them to a situation where they are satisfied. If I can accomplish that then I have prevented the customer from speaking badly about us to others and there is a chance that they might revise their review.

2) If that doesn't work, I would post a reply that doesn't argue or state a defense. I would simply say something like this:

"Thank you for sharing your feelings with us in your heartfelt review. We strive to produce 100% customer satisfaction with our customers and we clearly have not done that in your case. I'd like to make sure that I have all the facts so that we can make this right, and I invite you to call me directly at [insert business number here] to talk about what happened and how we can take care of your concerns."

That way, if you never get the problem solved and never get the review revised, you have presented a face to the public that is genuinely concerned and open to fixing things, rather than defending your position.

That's what I prefer to do, anyway. Everyone's opinion may be different, of course.

Does that help?
 

Ampere

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Tim, I appreciate your response and it is good advice.

But in this situation, two things come to mind.

First, this guy left a nasty voicemail 15 minutes after the time that he thought we scheduled for. That is out of line and shows how unreasonable he is. People wait for 3-4 hour windows all the time, I have a 5 hour window tomorrow to wait for an inspector.

Then 1 hour after the time he thought the appointment was for he left a negative review, further showing how much of an unreasonable ass he truly is. So I don't believe that talking to him is going to help anything, I see him as the kind of person who I can play the recording of him mixing up the dates and he will still be on the offensive- which means possibly going on a mission leaving more bad reviews.

Second, I don't like not defending myself. I don't want potential customers to read that negative review and think that I did not show up for the appointment. Missing an appointment is something that I never do, and one of the reasons why I never received a bad review before.
 

JoshuaMackens

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I have a suggestion about another way to handle this. I'm not disagreeing with the others' advice, but I think there's another approach that might work.

1) I would first try to call the customer and work things out with them and get them to be satisfied and then ask them to revise their review. I would wait before posting a response to their review until I had tried all that. The world won't come to an end if you wait a few days before responding in a case like this, especially if you already have a lot of 5-star reviews.

My main business objective here would be to salvage the customer relationship and get them to a situation where they are satisfied. If I can accomplish that then I have prevented the customer from speaking badly about us to others and there is a chance that they might revise their review.

2) If that doesn't work, I would post a reply that doesn't argue or state a defense. I would simply say something like this:

"Thank you for sharing your feelings with us in your heartfelt review. We strive to produce 100% customer satisfaction with our customers and we clearly have not done that in your case. I'd like to make sure that I have all the facts so that we can make this right, and I invite you to call me directly at [insert business number here] to talk about what happened and how we can take care of your concerns."

That way, if you never get the problem solved and never get the review revised, you have presented a face to the public that is genuinely concerned and open to fixing things, rather than defending your position.

That's what I prefer to do, anyway. Everyone's opinion may be different, of course.

Does that help?
I actually thought I mentioned this in my reply but went back and read and realized I did not. I do agree with Tim on this, you should call and salvage the relationship.

The biggest thing Tim mentioned was making sure he doesn't continue to talk bad about you. This is worse than a 1 star review. If you can turn this around, that would be the best case scenario to prevent negative word of mouth. Not to mention you could get that 1 star review reversed, which is insignificant to the negative word of mouth in my opinion.

I know you're averse to this based on your reply but I still agree with Tim. I understand it's not our business and we're not in your shoes. I can definitely appreciate that as that inflames the response on your part. As the business owner, this feels like a personal attack. I get that and have been in the same place.

However, in this world sometimes we have to choose between being "right" or what's best for our business. From what you described, you're 100% in the right. The difficult decision you have to make is: is being "right" the most important to you or is the business the most important.

That's a tough call and honestly, different circumstances call for different decisions on this spectrum. For example, if it was an issue of integrity, I would probably die on that hill. However, most of the time when it's about being "right" I've realized it's not about integrity but about my pride. I just know that for myself and my business, I have to make that decision all the time. Sometimes I choose to be "right" and sometimes I choose to do what's best for my business at the time. Increasingly I'm finding myself laying down my pride to do what's right for my business. It sucks and it hurts but in the end, it's what has been best in many decisions.

Only you know what's best at this point.

Good luck!
 

Linda Buquet

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Just wanted to pop into this thread to say...

Thanks for such long and thoughtful replies, Joshua and Tim!
Our members are really lucky to have you!
 

Tim Colling

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...However, most of the time when it's about being "right" I've realized it's not about integrity but about my pride. ... Increasingly I'm finding myself laying down my pride to do what's right for my business...
Well said, Joshua. Whenever I feel betrayed or insulted in a business situation, if i am able to look at things calmly and analytically I realize that it's just my pride being wounded.

Pride is a huge trap for all of us.
 

Tim Colling

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One more thought about all this.

One of the things that is most costly about a negative review is that it takes a lot of time to manage the situation in a thoughtful and thorough manner. If the negative review seems to be unfair and unwarranted, it can really be frustrating that the reviewer can not only insult you but also take so much of your time.

I understand. I always feel that way too. It's just too important to try to get it right for me to let it get to me. :(
 

Ampere

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The biggest thing Tim mentioned was making sure he doesn't continue to talk bad about you. This is worse than a 1 star review.
I don't want to seem argumentative, but for the sake of discussion I can't see how that is possible.

A 1 star review is something that every person who finds my company will see.

If he bad-mouths my company to every single person that he knows, chances are that none of them would ever have found my company or called me in the first place.

My business serves an area of hundreds of thousands of people, literally. If I were in a little rural town it would be completely different. Or if I were a restaurant or big name product/service. But with a small electrical contracting company, how far is it really going to go? A dozen people will hear about me missing an appointment? Oh well...

Let's say he tells his friend Mike. It's not like Mike would one day find my company when he needs an electrician and remember when he was told that I didn't show up. I have a better chance of winning the lottery than that happening.

The truth is that Mr. FalseNegativeReviewer forgot about me, or read my reply and is embarrassed that he made the mistake and now hiding his head in the sand. I truly doubt that he is badmouthing me. But if he is, I don't care at all. The 12 people that he tells are meaningless to me. The 120,000 people who see my reviews thruout the life of my business are a more important factor.
 

Ampere

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Well said, Joshua. Whenever I feel betrayed or insulted in a business situation, if i am able to look at things calmly and analytically I realize that it's just my pride being wounded.

Pride is a huge trap for all of us.
I will completely admit that I do take this personally.

But in this situation I don't see how my reply is detrimental to my company. My reply is letting everyone who reads it know that the mistake was made by the negative reviewer. If I posted the reply that you suggested, everyone who read it would believe that I missed an appointment- Which would clearly be worse for my company.
 

JoshuaMackens

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Like I said in my first reply, I think your reply is fine. And in a perfect world where people weren't so sensitive, it would be a 10/10. And we're talking about such a small difference here, it's probably a 9/10 reply. Should you really care about that 1 point difference, maybe not. Also, someone else might tell you it's a 10/10. Who of us really know?

I do know that when I read a review reply that's more defensive than taking ownership, it makes me think twice about doing business with them, that's all.

At the end of the day, we might only be discussing peas and carrots here. It may not matter at all :)
 

Ampere

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Joshua, I think the business type makes a difference too.

If you are talking about a restaurant that people might go to or order take-out from once a week, word of mouth to a dozen people in that town might make a serious dent in their business. For my company, a man spreading the word about my service business to some people in a town 28 minutes away isn't going to realistically make any difference.

Just my opinion :)
 

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