Bad publicity can happen to any brand, and you can’t win with every customer. Reviews can be a great way to increase visibility online and encourage some word-of-mouth marketing, but when you allow reviews, you also run the risk of getting bad reviews too. Sometimes it is appropriate to delete bad product reviews, but doing so can put you at risk of further bad publicity. Handle deleting reviews very carefully!

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When To Delete A Bad Review

Trust and transparency are an essential part of building a brand, but companies also need to protect themselves from trolling, slander, and misinformation. It is acceptable to remove yelp reviews or other bad reviews is when those reviews are part of a wider slander campaign against your company. A competitor, hacker, or disgruntled customer might create multiple fake reviews in order to negatively affect your company’s reputation. When you can prove that these reviews have been posted from the same IP address or account, you can delete them. 

Brands should protect the consumer’s right to an opinion, but you also should protect other consumers from unacceptable content on your website and social media profiles. If someone leaves a review that is full of bad language or uses an inappropriate image, delete it, and think about leaving a placeholder message explaining why the review was removed. 

Brands that want to manage their reviews like this should include a review policy on their site. Make it clear that fake reviews and obscene content will not be tolerated, so other customers know why reviews are being deleted. In cases other than spam or obscene content, however, it’s usually better to leave bad reviews and respond to them in a positive way. This shows other customers that you are willing to work with your customers to give a positive experience. 

Why You Shouldn’t Delete

Encouraging your customers to share their thoughts shows other customers that your brand is transparent. It shows that you don’t mind consumers being able to see the possible disadvantages of a product, because you know that the pros outweigh the cons. Being transparent helps to create a sense of confidence in consumers and can drive more sales. Customer trust is a big part of what makes brands successful, without needing to resort to gimmicks or price cuts. Customers might be suspicious if they only see positive comments about your brand. 

Leaving negative reviews up for others to read doesn’t have to hurt your brand, especially if the review has been written politely. If you can respond in a productive, professional manner, it can actually give people a better opinion of your brand, and make them more likely to spend their money with you. Leaving up negative reviews gives the impression that you are honest and transparent, and willing to work with unhappy customers rather than ignore them. 

Respond politely, and move the conversation away from a public place, such as to email or direct message. Don’t just delete and ignore. The feedback can be helpful.