No business owner likes to see negative reviews about their business online. If you have seen some posted online about your business, which I am sure you must have, you probably don’t feel very good about them. Afterall, it heavily affects your bottom line and may even make prospects knock your competitor’s doors. Which can absolutely crush your business. Since, 97% of users base their purchase decisions on the quality of online reviews of a business, responding to those negative reviews in a calm manner should be your top priority. But what if the negative review reeks of fakeness and, in some cases, pure hatred for your company? Replying to them won’t help you much as the sole purpose of those reviews is to damage your online business reputation and not to seek any sort of compensation. Ex-employees, disgruntled current employees and unethical competitors are usually the prime suspects when you are faced with a fake negative review and getting them removed is not always as easy as it sounds. You’ll have to report and prove the review sites (Google, Yelp, Facebook etc.) that the review is indeed fake according to their set policies (see Google’s as an example) and needs to be removed. See the exact procedure we follow for taking care of fake online reviews for our clients which is included as a part of our digital marketing services suite. While taking care of fake negative reviews on the web involves a lot more, getting fake reviews removed from giants like Google reviews, Facebook, Yelp etc. can only be done with the ways that are to follow in this post.
RecognizeStagerringly, 84% of people can’t really differentiate a fake review from a real one. So, taking care of a fake negative review as quickly as possible becomes the need of the hour. Being 100% sure that the review is fake before taking further action is the best thing to do in this situation because you really don’t want to report a genuine negative review and face further backlash. Here are a few ways to quickly differentiate fake reviews from the real ones -
- Vicious and unprofessional tone. The tone is always neutral in a genuine good/bad review.
- Vague critisicms without much depth to it. Reviews that lack details are often fake, good or bad.
- Sudden influx of bad reviews in a short span of time.
- There’s a connection between the reviewer and your competitors.
- Highly bloated positive reviews on competitor profiles, while you continue to get bad reviews.
- Looking at a reviewer’s profile and his history of reviews can sometimes give you all the answers.
- The reviewer isn’t in the point of sale system of your company
- The details (purchased items, transaction date etc) of the review doesn’t match your records
RespondOkay, so you’ve spotted the fake review. What next? Yes, you absolutely need to report that fake review but before you do that, reply to it in a calm and composed manner and don’t let it affect your head too much. You don’t want to set a bad example for your prospects to see. Handle the situation in a manner like you would do normally in the case of a genuine negative review and offer a generous compensation. The fake reviewer probably would never follow up on the conversation for obvious reasons. Doing this would establish your brand as a brand that really cares about their customers and would elevate how prospects see your brand as a whole. All of that without spending a single penny, every negative review is an opportunity to add a human element to your brand, but sadly not many brands make good use of it.
ReportNow comes the important stuff. There’s a procedure you’ll have to follow to get fake negative reviews about your business removed from bigger review platforms like Google reviews, Yelp and Facebook. You’ll have to prove to them that the review is fake according to their own unique fake review policiy. I would suggest you to carefully go through the ‘fake review removal policy’ of every review platform you have maintained a business presence on. While that depends on the type of review you get, reporting fake reviews on all the major review platforms is relatively easy. Here’s an infographic from Headway Capital that explains it all in a simple way.
Image Credit: Headway CapitalSave this infographic for the next time you come across a fake negative review about your business across the web. If it’s on one of the above-mentioned review websites, you’d know what you have to do to get them removed before they tarnish your business reputation in half.
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