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For a lot of online businesses, reviews are a main way to showcase to users that they are reliable, trustworthy, authentic and in fact real. If a business receives a lot of bad reviews, then more than likely future customers will perceive that business as untrustworthy source to go to. This being said positive and negative reviews will speak loudly about your business to the general public.
There is a very big contrast between positive and negative reviews. Conversely, a large number of positive reviews will give your brand an excellent advantage compared to competitors. This could be extremely vital if you are in a business that deals with selling products. People will look to you as you are perceived as having reliable products, long lasting, excellent quality and so on.
This is why a lot of websites and business like to push users for reviews and utilize the online review system to its advantage. Unfortunately, you cannot liaise with every review as some may not be genuine and of course you cannot exactly respond to a review of such as it isn't based off any facts resolving the issue.
Like previously mentioned above, its very hard to respond to fake reviews. Fake reviews can include fake statements or allegations against you. For example a customer leaving a fake review of a product saying there was multiple problems with it when there actually wasn't. As we all know the business world can be very unforgiving and possibly competitors will look to sabotage your brand and bring it down as best they can.
There are plenty of review platforms such as Feefo, Reviews.co.uk, TrustPilot and Google Reviews. In this blog we aim to tackle the issues with Google Reviews however, it is something that can be witnessed in other review platforms.
Please note: There is no guarantee that Google will remove any reviews that you deem fake. Of course this has to be set in place, otherwise this process could be easily abused for those looking to suppress legitimate negative feedback.
The initial step to handling counterfeit Google reviews is to ensure you are sure the review is to be sure phony. Negative surveys, especially those from irate clients, can give off an impression of being offensive in nature, yet whenever dependent on a genuine cooperation, they can't be viewed as phony.
Counterfeit reviews can differ uncontrollably yet are commonly very simple to spot in the event that they recognize what they are searching for. Run of the mill qualities of phony reviews incorporate the accompanying:
The reviewers name does not show up anyplace in your client database. In the event that they haven't purchased from you or utilized your services, there is a decent possibility their review may not be authentic.
The reviewer has left a string of comparative surveys for different organizations. A reviewer who gives different organizations 1-star reviews with next to no development might be attempting to abuse the platform and sabotage as may businesses as they possibly can.
In the event that the review makes reference to services or items that you don't trade/sell, there's a decent shot that the reviewer has confused you with another brand or service.
The reviewer offers no remark or elaboration about their experience.
The review contains false data.
Sadly, spotting counterfeit reviews is the simple piece. Having them remove is the place it can get precarious.
Responding to reviews is very useful as it can either allow you to thank a customer or help them with an issue they might have. In most cases issues can be resolved and preferable before a review is left. When another customer sees this issue resolved they might feel at some ease.
Lets say for example a customer leaves a negative review and you don't recognize the customer and the complaint doesn't relate to any of your services. You can respond to them in such a way;
"Thank you for leaving a review. We take feedback extremely seriously, and wish to help customers to the best of our abilities. Unfortunately we cannot find your customer details in our system. We would greatly appreciate if you could call us on... or email the following address...."
This way it makes it clear that if they don't contact it's more than likely a fake review however, if they do contact then the issue can get resolved and hopefully everyone will be satisfied. It can be used for many situations to suss out the fake reviews from the genuine ones.
It is quite easy to communicate with Google that a review is suspected to be fake. On Google reviews you can 'Flag as inappropriate' from the options menu next to the review. This will then redirect you to a screen where you can report a violation, to which you will fill out your email and specify the violation type.
Once submitted, Google will review your complaint and contact you in due course. Then may ask for further information or have feedback to share back to you. In most cases Google will not take down a review unless adequate information is provided and having the review flagged more than once will increase its chances of being taken down.
If you have found that you have tried flagging a review multiple times and had no response then Google's small business support will be your next port of call. The response shouldn't take more than a week so after that you should decide to take the next course of action. To contact Google's small business support do the following steps:
Log into your Google My Business page here: https://www.google.com/business/.
Navigate to the Reviews section.
Click the home menu, and then select Support.
You can then select a preferred method of contact, either Phone or Email.
You will be asked to fill in a few pieces of information. Attach a screenshot example of the suspect review and offer any further information you feel may be helpful.
Submit your complaint. You should hear back within 2 working days.
When you get contacted by Google My Business, they may ask for further information on why the review should be take down. Hopefully when you originally contacted Google via flagged the review you collated information in regards to why it should be remove. If not below are some of the recommendations to keep a note of:
Which policy the suspect review is in violation of
Why the review is not a legitimate review of a customer’s experience
Any supporting information. This could include a screen shot of the review itself or information about the user’s previous review patterns.
The personal who came into contact you will then take the provided information and review your case and advise on what they believe will happen next. If you are successful the review will be removed.
There will sadly be events where the review you think to be phony can't be brought down. Google will only remove reviews that it sees to be in direct infringement of their policies. It might be that there is deficient proof to decide if the review is real or not. In the event that this occurs there is still more you can do.
If you've followed through all the previously steps and have found yourself in a position where you still cannot get the suspected fake review removed then the next best thing is to respond to it clearly and professionally so that other users are given an accurate and fair assessment of your business.
Following this you should consider asking customers to review your business at any opportunity you can, whether that would be after they have used a service or product then linking them to your review page. This can be a great way to bolster your positive reviews and push negative ones down the list.