Let me start with a blog post that I wrote a few years ago: www.anduro.com/blog/managing-online-reviews
Some of the language has changed - the review section on Google is now called Google My Business and Urbanspoon is now Zomato - but the principles are the same. Sadly, Marco Abdi has died since I wrote this blog post but LaBrezza Ristorante is still going strong.
POINT #1: BURY THE NEGATIVE REVIEW
We had one negative review a few years ago from a client who is still a client. It came out of the blue - we weren't expecting it. See: Monica Hirai's review. We sent out emails and phoned other customers to ask them to write a review for us. And I think we even gave an incentive like a Starbucks gift card.
POINT #2: CONTACT THE REVIEWER AND ASK FOR AN UPDATE
Monica did an update. This was after I contacted her and asked for her explanation about the review.
POINT #3: LEARN FROM THE REVIEW AND ADDRESS THE ISSUE
If you read the details of the review you will see that she has a valid point: too many people from our company were contacting her. Point taken. We addressed the issue. And then she posted an update
POINT #4: MAKE A PUBLIC REPLY TO THE REVIEWER
Have a look at this review on DealRater. This is how one of our client, PrecisionHyundai.com, replies to ALL reviews. This is not always possible on all platforms but for most the owner of the page can reply to the review.
POINT #5: MAKE A PRIVATE REPLY TO THE REVIEWER
Here is another example on Facebook by another customer of ours StoreNSave.com. See review by Matt Sullivan on March 6th. He complained. SnS read the review and replied asking for contact details in a PM (that is private message in Facebook Speak).
POINT #6: CALL THE PERSON OUT IF THEY ARE WRONG
Doug Lacombe told this story when he spoke at Calgary Executives Association in February. See the review on the Google My Business page for his company Communicatto.com. There is only one review from "cassidy crawford" which is in lower case - first sign of fishiness. She complains that he blocked her car. At first glance this appears to be a legitimate complaint - no one likes having their car blocked. However, the truth is that she parked in his spot which he pays for.
Ah, not such a legitimate complaint any more. Read his response. Such a comedian. I would have slashed her tires. Well maybe not but the image of me doing it would have played a few times in my mind.
POINT #7: DO SOMETHING
Sometimes it is best just to ignore the negative review. However, be careful. This can backfire on you. Have a look at the reviews for this pizza company. Lots of negative reviews and no replies. I don't think I would eat here. This review by Jen J. - hilarious. is the best - read it carefully.
POINT #8: DISPUTE IT AND TRY TO GET IT REMOVED
Most review sites don't give you the ability to delete a review. However, you can flag it or dispute it. See Google's approach: support.google.com/business/answer/4596773. Competitors can be nasty, so all the review platforms have some way for companies to defend themselves and remove reviews that are just WRONG.
POINT #9: RESEARCH IDEAS
Here are some good articles:
I love this. Note the H.E.A.R.D acronym. https://www.groovehq.com/support/deal-with-bad-online-reviews
Long but some great points: www.buzzmaven.com/2010/08/15-tips-for-responding-to-google-place-page-reviews.html
Do's and Don'ts: www.fundera.com/blog/dealing-with-negative-online-reviews
Let me know if this is helpful.