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How to Handle a Bad Google Review

Updated: Oct 13, 2022

Online reviews are the best way for future parents and students to decide whether they want to enroll in your charter school. A bad online review can turn potential parents and students away and even send them next door to the competition.

There is no way to stop bad reviews from being posted, but there is a correct way to handle them. Here are 6 steps you can take to combat bad reviews:


1. Always Respond


Responding to reviews results in better ratings and improves a school or business’s reputation. It builds goodwill among their customers and brings in more reviews. It is a way of showing that the business cares and is willing to learn from their customers. Bad reviews do not go away on their own, so it is better to respond than to ignore them.


2. Be Professional and Nice


Replies need to be courteous and respectful of the parent or student complaints. It is impossible to win an argument with an unsatisfied customer, so it is important to think before writing a reply. A rude reply could potentially make the situation worse, and turn potential students away.


3. Customize Responses

Make sure to use the reviewers name in your response and go over their specific complaint. This helps show the reviewer, and other customers, that your school genuinely cares about their customers and appreciates their feedback. By addressing the specific complaint it helps the reviewer feel like they are personally interacting with the business.


4. Thank Them


Responses to bad reviews need to be professional and authentic. By apologizing to the customer and thanking them for taking the time to write the review will help boost your business in the long run. Thanking them for showing an issue with your school will help turn the review from a negative spotlight into a positive review.


5. Show Your Action

Customer feedback is what helps businesses improve the most. Businesses are built to satisfy their customers, so learning directly from the customer’s experience is the best way to improve. By showing the steps that you have taken to fix the customer’s issue will help turn the review into a positive one. Make sure to mention what steps you have taken to address the issue in your reply to the customer’s complaint.


6. Move it Offline


Most customers’ complaints will not be fully resolved with just a reply. The best solution is to try not to fix every issue in the reply and move the conversation to a more private chat. Less is more in these situations. By providing a way for the customer to contact someone personally helps shift the power by turning it into a one-on-one conversation. It also helps customers see that your company takes customer service seriously.


One final piece of advice when replying to parent or student reviews, whether positive or negative, is to make sure your business account has a profile picture. This makes the messages feel more personal and build trust with your customers. It also looks more professional and complete. With these six steps, your business will be capable of turning a bad review into a positive situation. Bad reviews will not just disappear on their own. By handling them in a respectful and calm manner, your charter school can improve the way they are viewed online.


How to Handle Illegitimate or Spam Reviews


From your Google My Business account, it is possible to request that a review be removed if the review came from an illegitimate source or a spammer. Although useful, Google typically denies these requests due to not having enough evidence to take a side or simply because they don’t have the time to properly address each removal request that they receive on a daily basis.

This can be really frustrating to a charter school administration because as a school, your team works so hard to build an integrable brand. Rather than letting one ugly review ruin your day, use it as an opportunity to prove yourself. Here is a recipe to turn a bad review into an opportunity to impress future parents and students:


  1. A professional response following the steps listed above

  2. 10 five star reviews for every bad review


Parents will be convinced to enroll their student at your charter school by seeing how you handle a bad review backed up with hundreds of other five star reviews. Most people don’t expect perfection, but they do expect professionalism back by a high overall Google rating. A bad review’s power and impact loses its legitimacy when professionally handled and opposed by all the other good reviews!


In conclusion, your Google ranking, your online reputation and your enrollment numbers will improve by taking Google reviews seriously. Have your front office make it a top priority to collect and respond to reviews or reach out to our team here at Charter Connect to learn more about growing your school with five star Google reviews.


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