Most people probably realize that many consumer reviews should be taken with a grain of salt. However, in our business, a bad childcare review could make or break our business.
Which is why today I am sharing with you what to do if you ever get a bad childcare review. I’ll share with you my own bad review story and what a friend of mine recently went through. We will get into what you should (and should not) do if you ever get a bad childcare review.
I probably don’t need to tell you but in the 18 years since I’ve opened my business things really have changed. Some for the better and some that are not so great.
I mean I do like being able to order things on Amazon and then only having to wait a day or two for them to be at my door. But I try to think of things from other people’s points of view. So I don’t like that Amazon has most likely put a lot of small businesses out of business.
I also don’t like the impatience that Amazon culture seems to foster. It’s almost unimaginable now to have to wait for more than a couple of days for something to arrive in the mail. Who can really compete with that?
And take Yelp. No, I mean it! Take Yelp!
I hate Yelp! Well, actually I have kind of a love-hate relationship with the Yelp. If my husband and I are going out to try a new restaurant I almost can’t wait to hear what people are saying about it.
But as a small business owner, I really don’t appreciate almost being forced into their reviewing system. And I do mean forced!
But for better or worse this is where we’re at. So in case you need some help dealing with reviews on Yelp (that should actually be their tagline I think), Google or Facebook keep reading.
Help in a Yelp World
Personally, I think that it’s great that nowadays the consumer has a voice and can share (or warn) other potential consumers about good or bad experiences.
But what if the review is false?
What if its a competitor trying to discredit your business? Yep! It happens! Or what if its an angry parent trying to retaliate for one reason (money) or another (money)?
Do you know what to do if you were to get a bad review?
My friend and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad Yelp review
That was the message that my provider friend left for me a couple of weeks ago. When I did call her back she filled me in on what the upset was.
Apparently, someone had left a review for her childcare business on Yelp. It was actually an awful review. The review was from someone who had apparently called inquiring about childcare services but was met with an expletive-laced greeting and hung up on. Twice!
My friend was in a panic, to say the least. She kept trying to explain to me how she would never do that and was in dismay as to why this person would put this review on her Yelp page.
I tried as best I could to calm my friend down. After repeating to her that this was the very reason why I couldn’t stand Yelp, I exclaimed to her that there had to be some recourse to get the review removed.
The Good and Bad of Reviews
The conversation with my friend got me to thinking about what can you do about a false negative review. But not just on Yelp. Google and Facebook too.
Reviews can be a double-edged sword. Good reviews are more like testimonials that may bring more business your way. But a bad review can actually really negatively impact small businesses like ours.
So knowing how to deal with a bad childcare review can be very important. Especially if it’s wrong or false. Which was exactly the case for my friend.
Dealing with a bad Yelp review
First of all, DON’T PANIC!
In my friend’s case, she had so many positive reviews that the one crazy bad review would most likely be far outweighed by the good ones.
After some research, I was able to find out that Yelp has steps for someone to take regarding a bad review. It’s not guaranteed that the review will be removed, but worth a shot.
My own bad Yelp review story
As I have said, I personally hate Yelp. Why? Well, I don’t think that its fair to small business owners to be forced onto their platform. If I don’t want my business there, I shouldn’t have to.
That being said, as it stands now, anyone can put a business in Yelp’s system. Such is the case with my own business.
My bad childcare review
A couple of years ago, my friend called me and said “Have you seen your Yelp page?” After my usual, no because I hate yelp tirade, she told me I should go look. Apparently, one of my former clients had left me a bad childcare review.
Even worse than finding out about the bad review was the fact that my friend said she only noticed the review on my page when a parent she was referring to me mentioned it.
After reading the review, it was apparent to me that my former client was attempting to retaliate over a money dispute. In particular, she had been upset that she was not refunded her enrollment deposit because she had not given adequate withdrawal notice. #readthecontract But of course, she didn’t mention that in her review.
Instead, she went low, claiming that her child had not been well cared for at my childcare.
Now let me just say (repeat) that it is great that the consumer has a voice and can leave reviews. But for a parent to smear a childcare business because of a money issue is despicable.
Write a rebuttal
So what did I do?
I knew I needed to be proactive. So after taking a day to process what had happened, I wrote a well-crafted reply.
In my rebuttal, I stated that the client had not given me withdrawal notice and was upset about a financial matter. I also mentioned that I had taken care of her child for over 2 years. I finished by stating and that I doubted that any parent would leave their child in care for that long if they thought they were not being well cared for.
In my case, because of my dislike of Yelp, I didn’t have as many reviews on my page as my friend. Which made my reply especially important.
However, I did have quite a few testimonials on my website. And unlike Yelp, the reviews on my site had been vetted by an outside company for authenticity.
How to fight a bad childcare review
In both the case of my friend and my own experience with a bad childcare review, there were things we could do to rebut the review.
Here are 3 things you can do:
- Don’t Panic! – Find out what recourse you have on the specific review platform. Yelp, Google & Facebook each have information on fixing and possibly removing a bad review.
- Be proactive – Write a timely, fact-driven reply to the bad review.
- Get testimonials – Routinely and actively solicit reviews from current and former childcare clients. Post testimonials on your website, Facebook page and/or Yelp page.
One last thing
You should know that there are Reputation Management Companies that will help you defend against bad reviews. They are kind of like a public relations firm and help businesses and entities manage their online reputation.
In the end, neither myself or my friend were able to have the bad childcare reviews removed from Yelp. Which is unfortunate.
However, because we were proactive and addressed the reviews, we have not seen a negative impact on our businesses.