Malicious business reviews have always been a problem for business owners, but in recent years, they have become an even greater concern. With the rise of social media, it is now easier than ever for unhappy customers to leave negative reviews that can potentially cost a business thousands of dollars in lost business. In fact, studies have shown that bad reviews on Facebook, Google Business, and Yelp can actually drive away potential customers.

The following is based on a true story from a customer:

Bruce cursed as he read the one-star review on his business page. It had taken him eight years to build up his pressure washing business to nearly five stars, but now an angry customer had brought it down to just over four stars. He scrolled through the comments, trying to see if anyone had anything helpful to say in the last week. But it was just a bunch of people marking the negative review as ‘helpful’ as if he was an idiot for not giving free services.

“Great,” Bruce muttered, “just what I need.” He responded to the lady, explaining the full situation and that he’d done what he’d been paid to do, but that he couldn’t work for free. He closed his laptop and went outside to start prepping his truck for the day. The sun was shining and the birds were singing, but all he could focus on was that one-star review. It seemed like everywhere he looked, people were talking about how terrible his business was.

It was hard enough getting new customers with nearly five stars, but now it felt almost impossible. He did his best to keep his head up and do each job with care, but inside he was feeling discouraged. Maybe this wasn’t meant to be?

Suddenly, there was a phone call on his business cell. Bruce answered and it was the woman who’d left the bad review–she was furious. She started yelling at him about how she should have gotten her driveway washed for free and how she was going to tell all her friends not do business with him either.

Bruce tried to explain that it wasn’t standard procedure to offer free services like that, but she wouldn’t listen. Finally, in frustration, Bruce told her to go ahead and write whatever she wanted on social media – he honestly didn’t care anymore. As she walked away fuming, Bruce couldn’t help but feel a little relieved…at least now he wouldn’t have to deal with her anymore! 

Unfortunately, his business struggled for months afterward before he decided to be proactive and contact us.

While there are steps that businesses can take to try to remove malicious reviews, such as contacting the review site or hiring a reputation management company, the best defense against them is simply to prevent them from being posted in the first place. By providing excellent customer service and dealing quickly and efficiently with any complaints, businesses can help ensure that malicious reviews are not posted in the first place. If it’s too late, then you should consider using negative SEO to deal with the problem.