It happens to the best of us.
You had a bad experience with a local business, so you head online and leave a negative review. It could be due to the quality of the product or service or the way their customer service treated you.
But now, you're having doubts. You wrote it when you were agitated but perhaps you’re feeling guilty. Wouldn’t it be mature to just delete it? No!
Here are eight reasons why you shouldn't remove that bad Google review. (And if you're wondering if there's ever a good reason to delete a bad review, we've covered that too).
If you were unsatisfied with a business and leave a bad review, you’re also helping out other potential customers. Instead of having to go through the same experience, they can now opt for other businesses.
It isn’t an insensitive act to leave that review, so long as it’s honest, fair, and appropriately worded. You’re revealing the true picture and that’s a service you’re doing to others like you.
Another reason not to delete a critical Google review is that it can help those businesses to correct course. They may not have been aware of the problem till you pointed it out. With your review, they now have every incentive to improve their offerings.
This is important because local businesses and independent establishments don’t have the marketing budgets to conduct customer research. Your review will be an important source for them to figure out their business’s shortcomings.
An unsatisfactory experience may not be reason enough for a business to refund its customers. Your critical review can help others hold back on their purchases and save money.
If you are complaining about a restaurant misleading you about their “happy hours” promotion, other customers will now know not to go there during those hours.
If a business directly gives you a financial incentive — through a coupon or discount — to take down your negative review, you should think twice. It would be tempting, but you’ll be doing yourself and other customers a disservice by taking a bribe.
Let’s say a pet grooming service didn’t take care of your dog and have seen your negative review about it. Now they are offering you two free grooming sessions for your pet. If you accept it and delete your Google review, you’ll be putting the well-being of others’ pets at risk.
That said, not all financial reparations are bribes. Sometimes, the business simply agrees that you deserve your money back, or they want to make up for bad service. That doesn’t necessarily mean you should change your review unless the refund directly resolves the initial situation.
If the business were to admit its mistakes and improve its service, the ethical thing to do would be to add that to your review or delete your review. But until that solution comes, your review is valid.
Sometimes it can be a grey area as to whether the situation is resolved. Perhaps they refunded you, but you still lost time, effort or went through an upsetting situation. Instead of entirely deleting the review, you could instead update it to include their actions alongside the original grievance.
Just remember to be ethical. Some people might write an unreasonably bad review to try to get their complaint dealt with faster. Remember, you're dealing with a small business here. That review could hurt them more than their bad service ever hurt you.
Entrepreneurs who wish to start small, independent businesses need all the help they can get. With limited funds, they can’t do full-fledged market surveys or hire consultancies. Google and Facebook reviews are excellent sources for them to know what customers what and what they dislike.
If you leave a negative review about a takeout service, complaining specifically about their packaging, it’ll help entrepreneurs understand the importance of packaging. If you feel that a dentist’s waiting area is too crowded, other dentists would know that it’s one of the places they should prioritise when they start their practice.
Maybe it was a spur-of-the-moment decision to leave such a harshly worded review. You had your reasons. The carpet cleaners arrived three hours late or the florist sent the birthday bouquet to the wrong address.
But now you realise that you have been too scathing. You feel bad. This doesn’t mean that you’ve to change your review. You could edit your choice of words but if the experience was unsatisfactory, you should let the review remain for others to see.
Every Google review helps build an online database of customer satisfaction. Genuine positive reviews improve the business’s ratings and help its SEO. But genuine negative reviews also play their part.
They make the ratings more realistic and therefore, believable. You’re not hurting anyone with an honest, critical review. You’re making the system more authentic.
If your bad experience led you to write a negative Google review, you shouldn’t rush to delete it just because it feels harsh (or worse, to win an incentive!). Your negative review will help genuine businesses improve their services, allow other customers to make informed decisions, and build a credible review system. If the service really was bad, think twice before erasing your story from existence.
Whether you're the business owner or the customer, there
are a few things to consider before rushing to delete
a negative review.
Maybe your problem got solved after all, or you just want to tone your frustration down a notch. Luckily, it's not too late to undo the damage — here's how to delete or edit a bad Google review.