The system by which Google allows reviews to be published for small businesses is inherently unfair and open to abuse. Let me explain.
In my business I am charged with the task of providing legal advice to persons who contact me. Often this advice is concerned with an employee’s position in the workplace or the options open to them when faced with a workplace difficulty.
Sometimes the employee is in a weak position and this could be for any number of reasons, including a poor decision previously made by the employee. For example, an employee may pass up the entitlement to take redundancy from the workplace and forego an attractive redundancy package.
Soon after the employee may regret his decision and find himself with some issue in the job-for example, having to take on a new role or responsibility. This change, combined with his regret regarding his previous decision, makes for a disappointed, disaffected, frustrated employee.
When he comes to me and seeks legal advice, I must advise him that his options, from a legal perspective, are limited in the extreme.
When his frustration is then vented on the giver of the bad news-me-by leaving a bad review on my Google Business page it is a lousy act which can have far reaching consequences for my business.
People rely on these reviews when they are searching for and choosing a service provider or business. Coming across a 1 star review, one that is completely unjustified and unfair, will have a damaging influence on the searcher.
And there is very little, bordering on nothing, we, as small business owners, can do about it save for reply on the review. But the problem with this ‘rebuttal’ is the old adage of ‘when you are explaining you are losing’ and the narrative has already been set up with the disaffected reviewer having inflicted his blow first.
It is difficult, bordering on impossible, to recover in this situation.