For online businesses, reviews are vital to the way existing customers perceive them. Whether you are the CEO of the company or an employee, you work so hard to build up your business, its reputation, and to gain positive customer reviews.
It is quite frustrating when someone tries to ruin that hard work by leaving fake negative reviews online.
Conversely, a vast number of active and positive reviews will give your brand more benefits compared with competitors who may not be rated supremely. That's why many advertisers utilize online review platforms to increase as many reviews as they can. Unfortunately, not all of the reviews you receive may be genuine.
By that, for you to ensure that the online reviews cannot break your business, and to continue welcoming new customers, here are five steps on how to manage fake negative Google reviews.
Manage Your Reputation on Google
Managing your reputation on Google is the first thing that you should do. You should never respond to bad reviews, but instead make a point to respond to every criticism, whether good or bad, at all times, when appropriate.
Even in cases where nothing is said, but the customer has left you a star, then respond. Encourage additional feedback in such circumstances by asking the reviewers with questions about the products or services they received. The reviews especially the ones that reference your products help your SEO rankings.
Besides that, you are also providing potential leads with more information about what you usually do. When you guess that you may have spotted a fake negative Google review, here are some of the few things that you can check to make sure.
- Does the reviewer suggests a competitor in his negative review? If yes, this kind of situation is a sign that a competitor is the one behind the fake review.
- Has there been an inundation of negative reviews in a small span of time? A spammer or competitor is after you.
- Is the reviewer listed on your records for reaching customer service? If not, advise him to do so to have a direct link communication.
- Are they in your point of sale software or CRM? If not, they are probably not a customer.
- Do the reviewers lack specific pieces of information such as which employee assisted them? They may not be able to recall the name of the employee, but commonly if someone has an unfortunate encounter, they jot down the names.
Respond to the Review
While you are not able to eradicate the review, you do have the capacity to respond. If the review is undeniably fake, you will not be ready to settle the problem for this person. But, you can then say to your other customers that you are aware of the review. And you take what the reviewers say seriously, and that as a business, you are committed to resolving the situations.
Furthermore, if you can’t respond calmly and professionally, don’t respond at all. Yes, we all know the feeling of receiving a fake review, and it is incredibly upsetting and disheartening. The way you react is a reflection of the company, and securing business from a potential customer is far more valuable.
Remove Fake Negative Reviews from Google
After responding to the negative reviews, removing them is also necessary if they are in fact fake. The biggest challenge with this is that Google doesn’t know who your real customers and clients. Google doesn’t accept excuses such as “they didn’t purchase or shop with us.”
Also, it can be significantly hard to show and prove someone’s identity because Google permits anonymous usernames. To remove all the fake and negative reviews, here are some tips to speed up the process and to expand the chance of the review being removed.
- Log in to Google My Business dashboard.
- Go to the Reviews section.
- Click “Support” from the home menu.
- Select a method of contact-email or phone.
- Fill out the contact information.
In two business days, you will be receiving a response, you need to make sure that the case is incorrect, why the review should be eliminated, and how it disobeys the policies. If possible, share any details, images, and links that back up your claim.
Google Review Policies
As is the case with any platform that allows anonymous guests to leave and post reviews, there is always a potential for fraudulent reviews to be issued by users. While it is understandably hard for Google to part what’s true or not, as with any review website, there are review policies accessible for which reviews given by guests need to adhere to.
Google expresses that they do not get tangled if there is a disagreement between the business and the user about the facts and details of the experience. Since Google can’t find a way to determine whose version is accurate. As such, it is essential to employ the review policy to dispute any reviews which you want to take action against.
Be cautious not to act against feedbacks which you merely disagree with or don’t like. This kind of attempt will probably result in no action being taken by Google. Except if they have disobeyed or violated Google’s guidelines in some way.
Drowning Out Negativity with Positivity
Regarding to your business, positive reviews have the enormous power in pushing down negative feedbacks. Regularly ask your happy clients to leave Google reviews about your services and products. The positive sentiments can go a long way in persuading others to get connected with your business, and they can also significantly contribute to your local SEO.
Fake and negative Google reviews can do permanent damage to your business reputation. Knowing what to do when you receive fake negative reviews help you protect your online business. Sure, there’s no easy way and process to remove reviews that could damage your reputation. By following the steps above, you are then prepared when the situation comes.