It’s estimated that 91 percent of consumers read online reviews before they make a purchase.That’s why it’s imperative to stay on top of feedback across all review platforms, including Google, Facebook, Yelp and Ripoff Report.
Larger companies should monitor review sites daily, while a weekly check-in will usually suffice for small businesses. Here are a few other posts that will help you find reviews:
How to Google your business
How to set up Google Alerts
If you discover a dreaded 1-star review, don’t light your torches and form a mob. Instead, take a breath, calm down, and determine the authenticity of the review.
While you may not be able to have the review removed, you do have the ability to respond. Yes, if the review is indeed fake you will not be able to actually resolve the problem for this person, however; you can make it clear to other customers and prospective customers that you are aware of the review, you take what reviewers say seriously, and that as a business you are dedicated to remedying situations “like this.”
Just as there are guidelines for leaving a review, Google has some tips for responding. Your response should not be defensive, keep it brief, and do your best to respond as you would for a negative review.
A business may get a bad Google review for many reasons. But most of the time it happens because of a bad customer experience with your company. For example, perhaps someone received a faulty product or experienced poor service.
But sometimes complaints are just plain false. Disgruntled former employees, sneaky competitors and spammers may attempt to tarnish your reputation. Read criticism carefully to figure out who may have written it, and why.
When flagging a review:
A) If you can, have several people flag the review in question. There is power in numbers and it’s possible it may help increase awareness and ideally action.
B) Once a review is flagged try to wait a couple of days for a response or ideally for it to be removed, however; if the review is loaded with hate-speech, profanity, and/or has highly sensitive content, I would say escalate it immediately. Flag and report, then immediately contact a Google support team member.
Compare suspicious complaints with your sales records. Can you find any matching transactions?
Here’s checklist to help you spot a fake review:
The buyer isn’t in your point of sale software system
Purchased items and/or the transaction date doesn’t match their complaint
No customer service calls on record
Lack of detail (e.g., they haven’t named any specific employees)
You noticed a surge of bad reviews in a short period of time
There’s a connection between the reviewer and a competitor
The reviewer recommended a competitor in their complaint
The image below is a perfect example of a fake Google review that should be reported.
Ok, so you’ve found the fraudsters and now you need to get rid of them. Google Maps is the easiest way to flag and report a fake review, and here’s how to do it.The best way to ensure that a fake review won’t be detrimental to your business is having a solid reputation management strategy in place. Building up your positive reviews by encouraging loyal and happy customers to leave you an online review is an easy way to mitigate the risks of receiving a fake review, and showcase how awesome your business is.
First, find your business listing on Google Maps, and click on reviews. Next, identify any false reviews using the tips we shared above. Finally, click the three vertical dots on the right side of the Google business review and select “flag as inappropriate.” That’s all there is to it.
Stay on top of what people are saying about your company. Any solid reputation management plan includes monitoring what people are saying and engaging with your audience.
Start by setting up Google Alerts, it takes no more than 10 minutes. Add alerts for your brand name, website, CEO, and keywords. There are also a bunch of applications in the market that can help you with monitoring social mentions, building brand awareness, and reviews. Examples would be Mention, Moz’s Fresh Web Explorer, Brandwatch, Sprout Social, and TalkWalker.
You don’t have to review your alerts every day, but schedule a small block of time once a week to review the alerts and stay on top of what people are saying about your business.
If you can prove that a competitor left a fake Google review for your business, report them to the Better Business Bureau and your local Chamber of Commerce. Of course, you should also inform the owner of the competing business privately and politely that you’re taking action. Informing them should put a stop to their unscrupulous activities.
In the next section we’ll walk you through the process for handling negative Google reviews.
The short answer is, “yes.” But before you get too excited, there are some important restrictions to know about.
It’s usually possible to have a bad star rating removed if it violates Google’s guidelines, such as fake, inaccurate or inappropriate content. For example, if a customer left a 1-star rating because of a Trump poster in your store window, that’s irrelevant, and it should be taken down.
Here are a few common types of negative Google reviews that you can dispute:
Spam and fake content:Content must be genuine. Google will remove false information intended to boost rankings.
Off-topic — Content must reflect an individual’s experience at a location. Irrelevant social, personal or political commentary will be removed.
Prohibited content:Google will remove illegal, locally restricted, sexually explicit, offensive, dangerous or derogatory content. This includes hate speech.
Conflict of interest:You may not review your own business, a current or former employer, or a competitor’s business.
If any Google business reviews and complaints fit the above criteria, you have a few options to get rid of them. Below we’ll cover disputing the review, tweeting to Google, and taking legal action.
When you’re dealing with a truthful complaint, kindness may be the most effective (and only) method to get it removed. Google won’t delete a bad review simply because you don’t like it. After you resolve the customer’s issue, they may be willing to take down the complaint if you ask nicely.
Having a solid review strategy in place is a great way to combat a fake review. Receiving consistent reviews builds up your review numbers, and provides a more complete picture of how your company truly operates.
The best way to build up your online reviews is to make asking a part of your daily operating practices, and knowing that you will have to ask a lot of customers before one will leave a review. It’s nothing personal, life is busy and just because a customer doesn’t leave a review immediately, doesn’t mean they never will.
Potential customers are not just reading reviews on your Google listing, they are on sites like Angie’s List, Facebook, Trip Advisor, etc, so it’s up to you to ensure you are listed on these sites, and actively trying to get reviews here as well.
You can manually encourage reviews on these sites by directing customers to these sites, or consider utilizing a review platform that helps you organize your feedback requests, earn testimonials, grow your online reviews , and streamline the process.
Most review platforms are easy to use, it’s a matter of entering your company information, adding a client, sending a customized email asking if they would recommend your business and triggering a request to review your company online if they rated their experience high. This approach encourages positive reviews by directing satisfied and happy customers directly to the review sites that you are trying to build up, and asking for feedback from customers who did not have a great experience.
Most people leave scathing feedback because they feel trapped and powerless. They’re angry that they’ve lost money or dealt with a hassle. If you make them feel like they’re in charge from the start, they won’t feel the need to lash out online.