Negative Online Reviews: What’s Really Going On?

By Melonie Curry, MBA

Don’t we all cringe when we see that negative review on Facebook or Google? Because a driver made the choice to ignore the sign, we are now scammers and money grabbers.

As an organization that issues parking citations, too many limit their reviews of our services to only issuing parking citations. Our reality is that more than 80 percent of the people who write reviews of our organization write them after they receive a parking citation.

Unfortunately, it seems the loudest voices on social media today are the most negative. Many organizations have not begun to use social media or limit its use due to negative comments. When you take a big picture view, the negative reviews are not as impactful as you think.

From 2020, ParkHouston received 30 reviews on Google and we have rating of 1.8. When you look at the big picture, over 10,000 customers per month search for our name. From 2014, we have a 1.6 rating with 49 Facebook reviews. However, our page reaches over 2,000 customers per month. We have clearly educated far more customers on parking safety, our services, and programs than the 60 or 65 customers who left negative reviews.

Never ignore the reviews–respond to their concerns. They can have a legitimate issue. Take the opportunity to demonstrate your customer service and responsiveness. You can take the conversation offline to assist them. You may even change their opinion. Facebook now hides profane comments. If you are not a government agency, you can delete or mute followers who are are just there to harass.

Don’t avoid social media. The one negative review is a very small voice compared to the number of people you can educate and create consumer awareness about your products and services. Get to posting!

Melonie Curry, MBA, is a staff analyst with ParkHouston.