If your business has received bad reviews on a major online review site, you have plenty of options to respond in a way that minimizes the potential negative impact of the reviews. You can follow best practices, apply operational changes, deliver better service, and change the conversation.
What we don’t recommend you do, however, is to engage in a legal battle with your review-writing customer.
We have seen several recent cases where business owners sue individuals after receiving negative reviews. Here at Review Trackers we think that taking the matter to court should not be your first option. One of the reasons why is because, more often than not, the cards will be against you anyway.
Take, for example, the case of Martin and Jacqui Clark, who run the Tigh Na Cheo Guest House in Kinlochleven, UK. After receiving a couple of negative reviews on travel review site TripAdvisor, the Clarks set out to obtain the identities of the two reviewers (“dreckit” from Manchester and “edna B” from London) – in order to sue them for defamation.
This week, the couple lost an appeal in their bid to take the matter to court. Appeal judges backed the original ruling issued in February, when Scottish courts decided that they had no jurisdiction over TripAdvisor, a US-based website.
“The postings purported to review events that did not take place,” the Clarks had written in their petition. “They were not reviews submitted by actual travelers.” They contend that the postings were “made maliciously and that the reviews published were abuse or invective in the form of criticism.”
There’s no denying that online reviews on TripAdvisor can significantly influence business reputation and performance. According to recent research, 83 percent of travelers say that TripAdvisor reviews make them feel more confident in their travel decisions, and 53 percent won’t commit to booking anything until they have read online reviews. Furthermore, 89 percent of all travelers consider online reviews as influential when choosing where to go, and reviews even weigh more heavily than personal recommendations made by friends and family.