How to remove negative reviews
Author: Evolution Design Agency
May 11, 2020
Obtaining positive Google or Facebook reviews is a great way to demonstrate to potential customers that you’re a great business and easy to work with, as well as providing prospects with the reassurance that they seek in making the right decision to do business with you.
Unfortunately, negative reviews can be detrimental to local businesses. This is particularly worse if you have very few reviews, and a negative one is received – as it brings down your overall score.
What’s worse again, is if the negative review goes un-responded to. And this can be for a multitude of reasons…. All of which are bad!
If you receive a negative review, you’ll likely want to remove it.
I hate to burst your bubble but, there isn’t a simple button that you can click to “delete review”, but there are ways you can remove a negative review.
Firstly, I must warn you there is no one-size fits all approach here. We must first appreciate the beauty of having the ability to judge a business based on their reviews is ultimately because reviews are a true reflection of how they conduct business. If they were all positive (or fake) Google would lose credibility. We could no longer use it as a tool to judge a business’s credibility.
If you are the owner of the business that has received a bad review, there is hope! I have compiled some different ways you can go about getting the review removed:
1. Flag the review as inappropriate
This is useful if:
- the review contains profanity, it can be reported and removed
- the review is fake or false, it can be reported and removed
If you believe you have received a review that is fake, inappropriate, or promotes a competitor you can flag it to be reviewed by Google for removal. Only reviews that violate Google policy will be removed.
Follow these steps to flag a review:
- Log into Google My Business.
- Select the location (if you have multiple)
- In the menu, select “Reviews”
- Find the review in question. Click the three-dot menu, then select “Flag as inappropriate.”
It can take several days for someone at Google to review your request and determine whether they will delete your Google review. If possible, ask other people to flag the review also, as this might draw more attention to an offensive review and encourage Google to remove the review.
2. Reply to the review
If their experience with your business hasn’t been great, appealing to the good nature of the author of the review can often have a positive outcome and transform the negative experience into a positive one.
Replying to the review will also demonstrate to potential future customers and those reading your reviews that you care and have not neglected to respond to the customer who has left the review. It is a great opportunity to accept your mistake publicly (if one has occurred) and reassures people that you have taken steps to ensure this problem won’t happen to the next customer.
The worst thing you can do in a reply is to be defensive. You must be timely, empathetic and strategic in your reply. Below are some steps you can follow to ensure you put your best foot forward in replying to a negative Google review, and to turn a negative into a positive outcome.
How to respond to a negative review (6 Steps)
Step 1: It’s imperative that you empathise in your response to the negative review.
Acknowledge the customer’s concerns. Even if they are unfounded, show empathy and sympathise that they had a bad experience, and how that must have felt for them. “I’m sorry to hear about your bad experience.”
Step 2: Insert a little marketing in your response to the bad review.
Explain what your customers usually experience. “We’re normally known for our exceptional attention to detail, and we regret that we missed the mark.”
Step 3: Move the conversation offline.
Provide contact info with someone at the business so they can discuss the problem in person. “My name is [name] and I am the [Owner / Manager]. If you’d like to discuss this further, please contact me at directly [phone number / email].”
BUT: Do NOT include the business name or relevant search keywords.
You don’t want this review showing up in search results!
Step 4: Keep your response simple, short and sweet.
Don’t go into too much detail or ask any questions. This will prevent saying something that might cause the upset customer to add more negative feedback by replying. Three sentences for your whole reply is a good rule of thumb.
Step 5: If/when they do contact you offline compromise with them.
Most often the customer simply wants to be heard. They didn’t have an optimal experience, and this is a great opportunity to rectify that. Consider the financial value of a bad review; maybe you could consider refunding a portion of what they paid to remedy the situation. Then once everyone is happy, provide them with a resource for them to remove their bad review, if they are agreeable. Share this link with them so they can follow Googles instructions on how to remove (or edit) their review.
Step 6: If it all worked out and they removed their review, it’s important that you thank them privately. Let them know the positive impact it has had on your business to be made aware of the situation and changes you’ve implemented to ensure the experience they initially had is unlikely to occur in the future. This can be via email or phone.
3. Report the review to Google Small Business Support
If a review is false or in violation of Googles policy and you’ve tried flagging the review and responding kindly, the next step would be to contact Google Small Business Support.
There are no grounds to do this if you simply don’t agree with the review, it must actually be false or in violation of Googles policy.
And by following the steps below someone from the support team would contact you, at which point you will be required to explain why the review should be removed. At this point you will need evidence on why the review is false or in violation of policy and defend your request to get it removed.
To contact Google’s support for businesses, follow these steps:
- Go to google.com/business
- On the top right of your browser, select “contact us”
- Select “customer reviews and photos,” and then “manage customer reviews”
- Choose to receive help via phone, web chat, or email
You can expect help within 24 hours. If you choose to contact Google via email or chat, it is helpful to have a screenshot of the review in question ready to go.
The Next Step
In some cases, the member of the support team may tell you that they will escalate the review to a specialist, who will make a decision about the outcome. You will again have to wait for an email confirmation or phone call from the member of the support team who helped you. Hopefully, they will be contacting you with good news.
4. Don’t fall for scammers AND HACKERS!
Ok so if you have actually received negative reviews you would have Googled “how to remove negative Google reviews” and seen the ads… something like:
Remove Negative Reviews
If you’ve been targeted by false reviews, we can help! Contact us now. We have removed over hundreds of thousands of bad reviews. If you need help, call our experts now. Restore Your Brands Reputation…
Again, I don’t mean to burst your bubble a second time today, but beyond the steps above, the only other way is to hack a person’s gmail account and remove the review illegally. And honestly that is some shady business there, we are in no way recommending this.
5. Obtain more positive reviews
If your customers genuinely love doing business with you, this shouldn’t be a problem however, they must be prompted. It’s not often a customer will consider writing you a review and take it upon themselves to do it on their own accord without being prompted. Therefore, it should be something you request as part of your after sales follow-up.
At Evolution, we recognise that our clients can find it challenging to request and obtain reviews. For this reason, we have produced some great resources for encouraging five star reviews, contact us to request the resource firstname.lastname@example.org
Our best advice in this situation:
To recap this article, remember; you should always reply to reviews, positive or negative. When doing so, you’re not just replying to just the one reviewer. You’re speaking to everyone who reads this review, including potential future customers.
It’s a big mistake to simply ignore a bad review and hope it goes away. It’s not going to disappear. In fact, ignoring an unpleasant review can make things worse!
Replying is your opportunity to make things right. If a customer brought a complaint to you in person, you would try to make it right. The same goes for online reviews—despite the impersonal nature of online reviews, it’s not over just yet. You can turn this thing around!
Otherwise, you can contact Google with the hope that they will remove the review, but there is no guarantee that Google will listen to what you have to say and remove the review for you. However, it’s always worth a try. Contact Google here.
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