I’m sure we all know this by now. When you are running a beloved business and worked so hard to make it what it is today, a bad review feels almost like a personal attack. This is even more true for Google reviews, which are most often the single point of reference that the customer has while he checks out your product or service. The first thing customers see about your business online. In that context, one too many negative reviews on your website can be catastrophic for your sales and will most definitely repel potential customers. This naturally brings us to that question. Can we or can we not remove google reviews? If you’re stuck on that question, here are 5 best tips of negative review removal from google.
1. Ensure an end to end follow-up and resolution to the customer’s query, then ask them to edit the review.
Keep in mind that google reviews are not permanent. The original reviewer has the privilege to edit or delete their review. You just have to change their mind to it first.
You need to determine if the person is reasonable enough to be negotiated with, someone who could actually change their mind. If the reviewer left a long list of emotionally-charged grievances, or it’s clear that the product or service simply isn’t suited for them (for example, a quiet person at a noisy bar or a meat-lover at a vegan restaurant), its highly unlikely that they will change their mind. But regardless, you must always write respectful responses, remembering that there can be a few positive effects of negative reviews.
Perhaps the customer left a bad review because something just went wrong. They probably didn’t like the product because it was not best suited for them. Or maybe the service that they received was slow because the salesman or the chef was having a bad day. There can be multiple reasons for writing a negative review.
Thank them for taking the time to write, and ensure that you make your apology sound genuine. Inform them the situation has been rectified and adequate action has been taken, and you’d like a chance to make it up to them. Give them your contact information or ask them to visit again for a special offer.
If they contact you or visit, make sure you deliver what you promised. Be friendly and thank them for visiting or using your service again.
Finally, follow up and ask them if they would change their review. Emphasize the importance of reviews, and give them instructions on how they can change it.
2. Overlap the review, push it down by piling up positive reviews on it.
Most people go by the first 6 reviews while judging a business. This means, though you may not be able to remove the review from your listing, you can essentially push down the Google review out of sight by adding other positive reviews on top of it. If you can manage to acquire six more positive reviews on top of the last negative one, chances are that people won’t see the negative one and will never know it was there in the first place. Well, if you can manage 10, you’ve effectively obliterated that one google review out of sight for 90% of customers.
How do you get more Google reviews? Fast?
- Set up a review collection kiosk in the store.
- Periodically ask customers in the store to leave a review.
- Put a review request at the bottom of receipts
- Start a review collection campaign or contest
- Ask customers for a review at the end of a meeting, or when your business together has concluded.
- Include review requests with packages.
- Start a review request email campaign.
- Contact previous customers where possible to ask for reviews.
- Include a review request at a check-out line or waiting room
- Include a review request with a follow-up email
3. Rebranding always helps, but should be a last resort
Major companies that have had formidable PR problemsoften use rebranding as an escape route. To state an example, WorldCom, the biggest accounting fraudster in U.S. history, became MCI Inc and later, Verizon Communications. The renowned cigarette brand, Marlboro maker Phillip Morris rebranded to Altria to distance themselves from reviews that condemned the production of cigarettes. There have been hundreds of instances where major and minor companies have rebranded themselves when they couldn’t recover their lost reputation.If you have tons of negative reviews piling up and you don’t see a way to rescue your reputation, rebranding is always a way.However, this will take your existing business off the radar so this should be a last resort.
4. Flag and Respond
If the review in question doesn’t sound familiar to you, or if something seems off, chances are it is fake. You may check your records to verify if you have actually done business with this person. Also, you may check out other reviews the particular reviewer has made. Fake reviews tend to be mechanical and deliberately malicious, while real reviews will include details about that person’s experience.
Once you report a fraudulent review, Google’s team will audit it and remove it if it violates their guidelines. However, it is worth mentioning that there are millions of Google Business listings all over the world. Unless the review is blatantly abusive or inappropriate, it’s unlikely that google will remove it. Try flagging the post multiple times, asking your friends and employees, or taking your case to the Google Community, in which case you will be asked to prove that the reviewer wasn’t a customer, could not have made the review, or is being paid to review. That, as you can imagine, will be tough.
5. Lawyer up.
In some cases, you may know the reviewer who is making false statements. It may be an angry ex-employee, a competitor, or someone who personally dislikes you. In this case, you may want to take legal action.First, you need to respond and flag the review. Then, if you are sure that you know the person, then by all means send them a message. Ask themto remove the false review. Politely but firmly.
If that doesn’t work and if you believe the review is significantly hurting your business, you may opt for the path of legal action. Writing false, defaming statements about a person or business can qualify as libel or injurious falsehood (AKA trade libel) and may be chargeable grounds for a civil suit. To do this, you’ll need to be able to prove the statements are false and prove who wrote them. However, a cease and desist notice from a reputable attorney should do the trick and may be enough to persuade the reviewer to delete the review, and a full legal case won’t be necessary.
Your business reputation is certainly a thing of great value. Although it may be the obvious thing to sat, the best way to protect it is to run a reputable business. It’s also a good practice to regularly ask customers who have had positive experiences to write reviews. This way, if it comes to displacing or removing that one bad review, customers will still retain their faith in you.