Getting customers to leave reviews about their experience gives us insight into how a business operates. It allows us to choose who we want to deal with based on how others have been treated. Some are good, others not so good, but even a negative review helps us.
Negative reviews let us see what the worse case scenario might be and we can act accordingly.
All reviews are an asset. Even the ones Google just misplaced, accidentally deleted, or decided to help everyone out by erasing the really long-winded ones.
Google Isn’t Thinking This Through
I’m sure Google isn’t happy about the new Yelp reviews integration in Maps on iOS. Whatever the reason they could have communicated their concern and sent out a warning email that explained what could happen allowing people to export their reviews if just to keep a record of the reviewers info.
It takes a significant investment of time and money to create a process so customers can leave a few words about how happy or unhappy they felt about the transaction and if they’d come back or just as soon see your business get leveled.
Occasionally, I have a bad experience and thoughts of raking them over the coals seems to feel effective for venting my frustrations and alerting others who may react as I did in hopes I save them some grief. What usually happens is about 15 minutes or so later I’m not really feeling the hatred anymore and the thought of wasting time leaving a review is low on my priority list.
I suspect others can relate, and I suspect that’s why there are lots more positive reviews than negative.
Then there’s the positive reviews that seem to be written in a state of euphoria. Can’t possibly be that many happy people filled with an overwhelming joy who think of writing reviews like they’re writing a poem. Just let them leave their own review for God sakes, even if all they can muster is 4 or 5 words mostly mispelled and abbreviated, let em be and maybe Google will take the cuffs off you.
So if Google 86′d most of your reviews, you can fight back or you can look at focusing on new reviews and implementing some changes along the way.
One suggestion would be to get some feedback on your reviews. Ask a friend to read through some of your reviews and give an honest opinion of what they felt while reading them. Repeat a few times with people you know will give you good feedback and try to implement their suggestions.
If you have nothing but 5 stars and each word in your reviews places you up there with the Gods, you’re not going to get results. You’re going to make people think you’ve got a pair of concrete shoes for the wise guy who wants to sling mud. That’s not exactly the best way to make people comfortable doing business with you. You leave 5 stars or I break your face isn’t the type of look you should give your customers when asking for a review.
So what’s Google planning to do about this debacle. They seem to have no accountability or urgency in communicating with those affected. It might be time to take your business elsewhere, and find alternatives until they offer some sort of explanation. If they can’t adequately support and moderate the reviews they allow people to enter other than to simply drop nukes to clean up a few happy go lucky reviewers they shouldn’t offer the service and let someone like Yelp handle it.
So if you’re curious to hear what some dealers are finding, here’s a quote from a dealer who expressed his frustration when Google stole all his positive reviews and left him standing there looking like the stereotypical car dealer crook.
Wow, I have been requesting that all of my customers, good, bad, and ugly post a review on Google to two of our stores (West Houston Volkswagen and West Houston Subaru) for almost two years. It was going great. We had over 300 reviews at VW and over 150 at Subaru. These were all reviews that the customers did from thier home or office, never at the stores and never with any coaching. If we got a bad review we were able to fix a customer issue and retain that customers business. Things we may not even had known were wrong, we fixed. It was a great tool.
Now we only have limited reviews showing up and they are ALL BAD! Why are legitimate reviews wiped out?
This was a great tool in the past now all the hard work has gone to c…@p!
We work with our manufacturers every day to get our Customer Satisfaction Ratings high by making customers happy, now all we have are bad reviews.
I need help to fix this.
[source: Google Product Forums]
This issue will probably take awhile to settle down unless there’s something Google can do to revert whatever filter that caused this to occur. It may have been too aggressive as one of my Lexus clients lost over 150 reviews and is left with less than 10 as of today. I am very anxious to see where Google is going with this, you can take away something very valuable to a business and do nothing.
All The More Reason To Engage in Social
I believe Google has made a choice on how they plan to handle reviews, although I can’t see how they can rely on an algorithm that simply will never have the ability to detect with the precision needed to judge whether a review is authentic or not.
Here’s an example. I recently went to my chiropractor, who’ve I’ve been going to for many years and we’ve become good friends. Last week, I decided to leave him a review on Yelp, I also uploaded a couple photos of his office to Yelp and Facebook. I was doing this while my wife and kids were being seen and I was just sitting in the waiting room. I did this from my mobile phone, and wasn’t connected to their wifi, but I would suspect my location was detected from the apps.
I noticed something while writing my review though. I really began to think my review could almost seem too good to be true, given the fact I have the utmost confidence that he’s the best chiropractor in my opinion and has helped me tremendously. Now it seems that if my review is too good it could be considered spam, depending how Google is trying to filter fake reviews.
I didn’t even bother writing a Google Review, and may never again simply because I don’t want my time spent writing something to simply vanish, no I’ll share my experience in other ways.
So I hope to have an update early this week on what I find out by doing some recon work to see where Google might have misplaced some reviews.