How Bad Online Reviews are Killing Your Growth and What to Do About Them

by | Mar 5, 2020

81% of Consumers Research Local Businesses on Google[1] – What Will They Find About You?

A great online review has incredible power. Shoppers use the internet to research products and services – up to 95% of consumers use internet search engines to check up on businesses — even you [2]. And, when online reviews are managed, they can motivate shoppers to become buyers.

“The WISPs we work with experience up to a 300% increase in their sales when we implement a Google Review campaign with targeted local outreach,” explains Michael Kellim, CEO of Leverage Social, . “This two-channel approach expands top-of-mind-awareness while providing answers to prospects who are in the consideration or decision-making stage. The goal, get new, qualified subscribers to your door.”

Consumers are searching for an internet service in your community — what will they find about you? Online review management makes sense, so shoppers know why your subscribers like your WISP.    

What Motivates Online Reviews?                               

If the Law of Reciprocity[3] motivates consumers to leave good reviews, what motivates a 1- or 2-star review? Customers leave reviews of any kind for three primary reasons[3]:

  •         To inform others about their experience
  •         Help others make decisions
  •         Tell the business about their experience.

A two-star review may be a subscriber’s way to get your attention or warn others about their experience with you. Take these reviews seriously; when you have several complaints, look for why you’re seeing the reviews

When bad reviews surface it’s a problem because 53% of people will consider not using your WISP if you average less than 4-stars. [4] Anything below 4 stars should be a flag to manage the online review and reach out to the reviewer. 

“Even one bad review can have an impact. There’s a strategy to convert the unhappy subscriber and motivate them to post a higher review,” says Michael. “And if you follow the process to manage online reviews, you’ll strengthen your relationship with the subscriber and increase life-time value.”

How to Respond to a Bad Review

The first thing to do when you notice bad (0 -2 star) or mediocre online reviews is to address it online. “Leave a comment and say that you’ll look into the complaint – then do it,” Michael said. 

Empathize with the customer is the first step to Leverage Social’s 3-Step System, ESA – Empathize, Solve and Ask. ESA’s sole purpose is to resolve bad reviews.   

Reach out to your subscriber – a phone call is preferable – and ask them about the review. “Hi, John Doe, this is Michael from XYZ Internet. I noticed that you left a 2-star Google review for us. I was just calling to see if there’s an issue I can resolve for you.”

“This approach lets the subscriber know they’re important and you want to take care of the situation,” said Michael “If your suspicions are confirmed and there is a problem, correct it.” 

You might respond, “I apologize that there’s an issue — let me take care of it for you, John. “ Always use the customer’s name in the response. 

The second step in ESA is “Solve”. Make sure that the customer is satisfied with the resolution, then move to step 3 which is “Ask”. 

Your conversation might go something like this, “Now that we’ve found that the poor internet quality was the result of a bad router, is there anything else I can do for you? Can you tell me how you feel about the resolution? I’m glad to hear you’re satisfied with the result. Now, is it possible for you to do me a favor and change the review to reflect how you feel now?”

Michael emphasizes that the review should be authentic, “Let’s be clear – you’re only asking for an honest review that reflects how they feel at that moment. Use the power of reciprocity to upgrade the 2-Star review to at least a 4-Star (5 is better). “

Protect your reputation with online review management.

How to Deal with Fake Reviews

There are times when you get a fake review. If you’re sure that it’s fake, flag the comment as inappropriate.  On Google Maps, go to the review and click on the three dots in the upper right corner. Click “Flag as inappropriate.”

Before you flag a review, be sure the review wasn’t left by a subscriber with a real beef because Google will penalize you if you’re flagging complaints that are legitimate. 

Google Reviews and a stellar online reputation can be a primary business growth driver. Make sure to nurture them and your reputation to get more prospective subscribers to learn about your WISP and its outstanding service.

Leverage Social can help you set up an on-going Google Review campaign and create buzz in your neighborhood about your services with targeted outreach – contact Michael at 417.943.4094 to find out how they get new subscribers to your door And, if you’d like a billing and automation system that not only bills your customers but manages and controls bandwidth, learn more about


Michael Kellim is the founder and CEO of Leverage Social, an agency that focuses on the ISP industry and helps operators rapidly scale new subscriber enrollments and sales. When he’s not chasing his five kids around his 30-acre farm or enjoying quiet evenings with his wife, he works with WISPs to disrupt the industry. He can be reached at

Mary Barry,’s Content Manager has been attracting revenue and managing customer experiences in corporations like Wells Fargo Bank and the University of Phoenix for more than 20 years. She lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, is a patron of the local art scene and is often found on surrounding desert trails. She can be reached at 

Thank you to LinkedIn Sales Manager and John Schnobel for providing the images in this article. More of their work can be found at 

  1.       Podium Infographic, Consumers Get “Buy” With a Little Help from Their Friends:
  2. Bright Local; Local Consumer Review Survey, 2019;
  3. Tracy, B.; Using the Law of Reciprocity and Other Persuasion Techniques Correctly;
  4. 4. Bright Local; Local Consumer Review Survey, 2019;

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