We know that customers often choose a beauty salon based on reviews. And while those reviews used to me via word of mouth among friends, these days would-be customers turn to the Internet or social media to get the feedback they’re after.

That’s all well and good, but not when a competitor or a disgruntled ex-employee uses the platform to smear your salon and its reputation by posting a fake, negative review.

Given how long it can take to get a business off the ground, it can be damaging, and not to mention heartbreaking, to see someone else setting out to tear it down.

You can recover from a fake review, though, if you move fast and react in a transparent yet firm way.

“The most important thing is not to take too long to respond. Whether the review is on your own social media platforms, or on a public review site, the longer you leave it, the more damage it can do to your brand,” says online marketing expert Melissa Boyle. “Go and check your customer records. Has anyone with that name had a booking at your salon? Does what they’re saying ring true? If after this, you believe the review is fake, you need to respond.”

Melissa recommends a direct reply to the comment, publicly. “Identify yourself as the salon owner. Address the complaint and apologise for their dissatisfaction. And then state that you can’t find the reviewer in your customer records as someone who has visited your salon, which will immediately cast other readers’ doubts over the genuineness of the review. Lastly, provide your contact details and offer to rectify the situation.”

While it will no-doubt taste awful to apologise for something you’re adamant is fake news, what’s imperative here is saving your reputation among the people that matter – those reading the reviews. “This sort of response will signal to others that you’re trustworthy and will do the right thing boy your customers. And your fake reviewer will end up looking just like that: fake,” says Melissa.

If the reviewer doesn’t let up, Melissa recommends contacting Google, to apply for a legal removal of the review.

Visit the #BEAUTYSTRONG hub at https://www.professionalbeauty.com.au/beautystrong/

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