In this article we’re going to talk about How to remove bad reviews from Google local and what tactics you can use. The first thing is DON’T PANIC... now’s the time for a cool head and lashing out won’t help you. Consider your options, make a plan and stick to it!
Right now, as a business owner you’re probably fuming that one disgruntled customer has damaged your reputation by leaving one lousy review not to mention the impact on your rankings.
As you know, reviews are now an important part of Google’s algorithms and they pull not only their own reviews but also those from Facebook, Yelp and other platforms.
Ok..so let’s consider your options and get working on that plan!
The good news is there are ways to minimise the damage to your credibility and limit the adverse effect on your rankings. Here are the five steps we recommend:
1 – Don’t panic
2 – Evaluate your situation
3 – Ensure a quick response
4 – Rectify the situation
5 – Keep on top of it
OK – Let’s get started and go into more detail...
One bad review can ruin your day and the first thing you’ll want to do is give that customer a piece of your mind or confront them in other ways. It is extremely important you don’t do either of these but instead, stay calm. A bad review hurts but it isn’t the end of the world... every business gets one and you can’t vet all the people you deal with.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that the odd bad review amongst many good ones indicates they are authentic – there’s also the old adage no publicity is bad publicity.
Evaluate your situation
The first thing to do is establish if the review is genuine. It’s not uncommon for competitors to leave fake bad reviews to undermine another business so investigate the review to make sure it’s real. Check the facts, go through your records and assess the information – the more you know now the better you’re equipped to handle the situation.
Now...let’s get started on your strategy
Ensure a quick response
Even if you have established the review was a fake one, a quick response is imperative – Here’s why:
It’s worth remembering you’re not only responding to the reviewer but also a wider audience. This is your chance to show you’re serious about customer dissatisfaction and acting swiftly and in a responsible manner goes a long way to undoing the damage done.
Don’t forget, the majority of people visiting your page are interested in what you do or sell so reassuring them you can take criticism and are committed to ensuring any problems are being rectified will help build customer trust.
How to respond to a fake review:
- Address the complaint and apologise sincerely
- Explain you can’t find a record of them being a customer
- Offer to rectify the situation and suggest they contact you
- Flag or report the review as fraudulent
Also, read our do’s and don’ts section below
If the review was genuine and someone was unhappy with the product or service you provided:
- Address their complaint and own up to it...even if it’s not entirely accurate
- Now’s not the time for excuses – People will only see this as you trying to worm your way out of it!
- Offer reassurance – If there was a problem be honest and explain it won’t happen again...even thank them for pointing it out so you can improve your service!
- Offer to rectify the situation
Responding to bad on-line reviews – Do’s and don’ts
Do – Respond quickly Don’t ignore it and hope it goes away
Do – Keep your response brief Don’t write a lengthy list of excuses
Do – Be honest and own up Don’t deny any wrongdoing
Do - Apologize Don’t go on the defensive and blame the reviewer
Do – Offer to remedy the problem Don’t threaten or become abusive
Do – Follow up on any promises Don’t leave a string of good fake reviews
Rectify the situation
The good news is Google allows you to flag fake reviews so they can remove them. Here’s how you do it...
Open Google maps and find your page
Click to see your reviews and find the fake one you want to flag
As you hover over the review a flag icon will appear – click it to ‘Flag as inappropriate’ to notify Google.
Remember, be patient as it may take a few days for Google to act. It’s also worth mentioning that you can no longer contact Google directly (previously a support service was available) – instead there are forums where you can get further information: https://support.google.com/business/
Keep on top of things
It’s easy to move on and assume everything’s taken care of but it’s always worth double checking... did the review get flagged, did you rectify the customer’s complaint and live up to your promises? Always worth checking!
One other important strategy is to not only ensure it doesn’t happen again but also to actively encourage customers to leave you positive reviews. After all, one bad review that was resolved among 15 glowing testimonials shows your human! Top tips to get more reviews:
- When a customer compliments you ask them to leave you a review
- Explain to your staff the importance of reviews
- Ensure you maintain high standards...people love to praise as well as moan!!
- Personalised review cards are a great way to get reviews...read more here
We hope this article has helpful – for more information about local SEO for small businesses why not follow our blog
In this article we’ve only brushed the surface of how reviews can affect your business and we hope it’s been helpful. Future blogs will be going into more detail and offering useful insights, handy tips and lots of information about getting more reviews – look out for them!