Written by Demi Oye
Reviews from customers are critical to a business’s survival and growth.
Unfortunately, getting a fake review on a review platform or your Google My Company profile is not uncommon. It’s something many businesses have experienced one way or the other.
Both Amazon and Yelp have sued fake review posters. Also, in New York, action was taken by the State Attorney General against 19 New York-based firms involved in fake reviews in 2013. Legal action hasn’t prevented or altered fraudulent reviews from continuing to be released, nor has paying huge fines, but that does not mean as an entrepreneur there is no method to stifle this.
Working to have a fake or spammy Google review removed can be frustrating as getting the review (some even wonder if the guidelines or junk algorithms even work), however; it is of utmost importance to make efforts to get the review removed, even though there isn’t any assurance that Google will take it down.
What to Do When You Receive a Fake Review or Fake Reviews:
1. Respond to the Review(s)
While removing the review might not be an option, you can respond. You pass the message directly to the reviewer that you are aware of the review and you do not take whatever reviewers say lightly and as a business, you are committed to availing the situation.
Your response should be apt, simple and positive.
“Hi, *insert reviewer’s name
We take these issues quite seriously, sadly, we do not have any record or memory of any customer experience fitting these accounts, nor can we verify anything about your identity from your name in our records. In the event you were a client of ours, we’d like to investigate this problem further, please contact *man’s name* instantly at *firm email address* so that we can resolve this dilemma promptly.”
From a reflective and general best practices perspective, if you can’t react calmly and professionally, don’t react at all. In a few cases, there will be no point in responding, use your discretion to find out the best course of action.
2. Flag the Review
It is possible to notify the team at Google regarding a breach of their review policy by:
1. Roam over the review in question and a flag icon will emerge.
2. Click on the Flag icon, and you will be led to the Report a policy violation page.
3. Enter your company E-mail address and choose the Violation type
You are going to learn from a team member when they have a piece of advice to relay to you or whenever they require additional details from you. There is power in numbers and its potential. It can help increase comprehension and action. Once a review has been flagged by Google, Hold on for some days for a response or for it to be removed. If the review contains a large dose of hate-speech, curse words, and sensitive materials, you should escalate it quickly. Flag, report, then immediately contact a Google support team member.
3. Report the Review to Google Small Business Support
Contact a support associate if the fake reviews have not been removed using the “Flag approach.” You can certainly do it by:
- The Google My Business Dashboard
• Log into your GMB page.
• Find your way to the Reviews section.
• Click on the home menu and select Support.
• Select a method of Contact – Phone or Email.
• Fill in the necessary contact details, attach a screenshot of the supposed review, and wait for 24-48 hours
4. Tweet the Small Business Support Team via Twitter
The small business team is quite smart and spends up to 24 – 48 hours to get back in touch with you. A little luck might be needed here though
- Sign into Twitter
- Send a Tweet to the Google Small Biz team from your organization account.
- Clarify the situation
- After you hear back from someone, go from there.
5. Ask the Google Community for Help
If you have a question regarding the spam policy or are seeking guidance from other community members, you may use the Support Forum to get answers.
- Go in GMB to the Spam & Policy Forum.
- You can Search previous questions of problems that are similar to yours and use it as a guide, or you can ask a question about your spammy/fake review difficulty.
- Some fantastic community participants and managers may help escalate and report your case.
Offense Is a Good Form of Defense
The easiest way to make sure that a fraudulent review does nor cause permanent damage to your business is to have a solid reputation management strategy in place. Building up your favorable reviews by supporting happy and loyal customers to leave back positive reviews is a simple way to showcase how awesome your company is.
Simple and Productive Ways You Can Grow Your Online Reviews are:
Before you start asking all of your customers for a review, although sometimes we’re blinded by the allure of these gleaming review stars, have you checked in with them to see how they feel about your service or merchandise? Reviews are the by-products of an outstanding customer service. There are a lot of opportunities for you to obtain customer comments.
Monitor Your Brand Mentions
Stay on the top of what people are saying about your organization. Any strong reputation management strategy contains tracking what people are saying and participating together with your audience.
Start by setting up Google Alerts, it takes no more than 10 minutes. Add alerts for CEO, website, your brand name, and keywords. Additionally, there are a group of applications in the marketplace that will help you with tracking reviews, building brand recognition, and social references.
You can schedule a portion of your time once a week to examine the alerts and stay at the top of what individuals are saying about your business, although no need to review your alarms each day.
Start Asking For Reviews
Having a sound review strategy in place is a good method to combat a review that is bogus. Getting consistent reviews builds up your review numbers and offers a more complete picture of your business truly operates.
The finest strategy to develop your online reviews is to accept and learn that you will need to ask a lot of customers before they will leave a review. Asking for reviews is going to be part of your day-to-day practices. It’s not much of an issue to brood over, life is busy and simply because a person doesn’t leave a review instantly, doesn’t mean they never will.
Potential customers aren’t just reading reviews on your own Google listing, they may be on sites like Angie’s List, Facebook, Trip Advisor, and so on. So it is your duty to get reviews and ensure you’re listed on these sites.
It is possible to manually support reviews on these websites by directing customers to these websites, or consider using a review system that helps you organize your feedback requests, earn testimonials, grow your online reviews, and streamline the method.
Most review platforms are simple to use, it’s a matter of activating a request to review your company online if they rated their experience high, adding a customer, sending a customized email asking if they’d advocate your business and enter your company information. Favorable reviews are encouraged by this approach by asking for comments from customers who didn’t experience a terrific encounter, and directing happy as well as contented customers right to the review sites that you are trying to build up.
This is precisely how our Reputation Contractor works. The bonus of employing a review tool like this, is that you also have many additional attributes available, you can incorporate customer survey’s to get unique customer comments, you can expand client testimonials and then showcase them on your website, and you can track your reviews so as you can reply in a timely manner.
Having a strong review strategy in a position that assists you to grow your reviews on your own Google listing and multiple third-party websites is not only a hindrance for fake review spammers, but it’s good for the organization, your local rankings and developing your standing.
A Negative Review Is Not Always a Fake Review
Negative Reviews occur. Not every single customer will be met, and no company is ideal, errors tend to happen. But also, negative reviews are not always bad news. See it as a chance to improve in lacking areas.
How to Handle Real Negative Reviews:
- Provide feedback that is honest that one can turn around and utilize to improve your organization or make changes.
- You won’t manage to please everyone, but when you can make things right for someone, why don’t you try? In case it is possible to take that negative review and turn it into an optimistic one. The manner in which you react and how you respond will be what other customers will judge
- Seeing just positive reviews of a business can lead to folks questioning the credibility of the reviews. Seeing a few clusters of negative reviews earns you a certain degree of trust in some quarters.