EP 78 – Chris Walker – Navigating the Negative Reviews Your Law Firm May Receive

Chris Walker is the Senior Agency Account Executive at GatherUp. He has been working in digital marketing for the past 17 years in several different capacities. Before Chris joined GatherUp, he managed a sales team and an account management team at a local firm in Toronto. One thing that they did for their clients was review generation and that is how he was introduced to the GatherUp tool. He began working with GatherUp 3 years ago helping businesses get reviews. 

If you are interested in learning more, please reach out to Ryan – ryan@marketmymarekt.com with any questions that you may have and he will be happy to assist you. 

Gathering, Managing, and Marketing Reviews

The reason that Chris started working with agencies was because of his background with agencies being that he had previously worked in them and he understood the day-to-day that a marketing agency goes through. Part of the reason that they started selling reviews as a service to their clients. It was less about making money for the agency, but more interested in enhancing the work that they were already doing for clients. The one thing that they always consistently found was anytime that they were directing new traffic to the customers, the ones that had the most amount of reviews always tended to convert better. They are big on tracking conversions – they wanted to know how many calls you got, how many lead forms they got, and which keywords were bringing in those calls and those leads. When they started realizing the correlation between the best converting client and reviews, that’s when they started looking at how they could get reviews for their clients. It was less about the revenue and more so about enhancing the actual marketing that they were doing.

It can be broken into 3 separate categories here – they help businesses gather more reviews from their customers through text, email, lead capture forms, and inbound texting method called textback. They give those gathering capabilities as well as the capabilities to manage those reviews,  learn from them, read them, respond to them. The third piece is that they help market those reviews in a variety of different ways such as widgets on the website, social share features, as well as being able to display keyword-rich reviews that mention certain products or certain services that the business offers which directly affects their SEO. It breaks into the gather, manage, and market philosophy.

What Should You Do When You Receive a Negative Review?

As much as he would like to say that all review sites are created equal, the fact is that they are not. The majority of the time that someone is going to search for your business online, they are going to search for it on Google and they are going to find your Google listing. Although every review site needs to be paid attention to, Google far outweighs the others. The biggest mistake that Chris sees is a panic and wanting to defend themselves online, so it is very important when those negative reviews come in that you do not freak out. Separate yourself as much as you can and that can be difficult for people who put blood, sweat, and tears into their business and expect their customers to appreciate that. 

Visit the GatherUp Blog here – https://gatherup.com/review-reply-templates/ to review templates for a breakdown on how to respond and the methodology behind it. It does not matter whether that person’s claim is so off-base, the fact is that it is there. We are more responding to the future people that are going to read that review. 86% of consumers read online reviews, but what is also very shocking is that of the people who read online reviews, 91% of those people read the businesses responses. You are not always responding to the person that left the review, you are responding to the countless number of other people who go read those negative reviews to see how the business responds. 

Experiencing Bad Reviews from Fake Accounts and How to Handle It

Generally, the first step in responding is to start by introducing yourself to let them know who you are at the business and then thank them for their feedback (even if you really aren’t thankful) and prove to them that you read it. Take ownership and let them know that you apologize with them, but make sure that you are not being defensive. Finally, offer them a solution as an invitation for them to contact you. Chris refers to this as ‘taking the fight offline’. If you want to fight with them, it is not to happen in the reviews. Every single review on Google can always be edited, so that they can go back and update the experience and that speaks wonders to people who are reading that. More so, you are letting other people know that you do not make everyone happy, but when you don’t, you are showing how you handle it as a business. One of the biggest misconceptions out there right now is that a 5-star rated business is the best business on Google Not true. The peak performance and the peak rating is between 4.2 and 4.5. You must be above 4, if you are not above 4 then you have some other problems. Although we never want to end up with a bad review, it can happen and it does happen, and it can actually help your business if you learn from that as well. Responding to positive reviews should be done as well because it is just as important. For that one, you are showing your sincere appreciation for that person’s business. 

Chris has experienced this quite a bit in his past as well as at GatherUp. He equates to getting a bad review removed to beating your head against a brick wall. You can try as hard as you can but you are not going to get through that wall. Sometimes it is difficult, but that’s not to say that it is impossible. It is a good indicator of fake reviews, especially if they have left a lot of 1-star reviews for a lot of different businesses in a lot of different states and / or countries. The other reasons that you will typically find are extortion, to get media attention, ex-employees, etc. What you want to do when trying to get this review removed is to first document everything – take multiple screenshots, then report it to Google. You start out by flagging that review which will open a support ticket. If they don’t remove it, then just make sure that your response is good, non-defensive, apologetic, and offers a solution and asks them to contact the business. 

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