As a business, regardless of whether you’re online or brick-and-mortar, earning a great reputation on Google is a great way to drive sales and revenue. When your Google Business reviews are positive, people will be much more likely to visit your store or website. On the other hand, having negative reviews is one of the quickest ways to scare traffic away.
While you are working hard every day to grow and improve your business, there are unfortunately people (or maybe even competitor companies) who are out to tear your business down. One of the most common ways of doing so is by leaving fake reviews on your Google My Business profile. These fake reviews are, of course, negative reviews.
Deciding what to do with these fake reviews can be a daunting task. Do you respond? Do you contact Google to hopefully have them removed? It all depends. Each specific review should be handled case-by-case, but there are a few general procedures to follow. Let’s take a look at how to handle fake reviews on Google.
Yes, this is step one. If you try to act shortly after receiving the review, you might be acting out of anger. Before doing anything, take a deep breath and relax.
First, you need to see if this review is actually fake or not. In some cases, it will be apparent through the content of the review. If it isn’t, check through your company data to see if the review was left by an actual client or not. If it was indeed left by a real client, gather as much information as you can about the interaction. What did they buy? Which of your employees engaged with him/her? Learning more about the interaction will help you respond accordingly. If it wasn’t left by a real client, then you know it’s fake (obviously).
Regardless of whether the review is real or not, it’s now time to respond. If the review was left by an actual customer, then your response will be working toward hopefully retaining a customer. If the review is fake, your response will serve as proof that your company takes negative feedback seriously, cares about the customer, and will do everything possible to make things better.
If it is indeed a fake review, it’s now time to flag the review for, well, review by Google for possible removal. At the top of the review listing, you’ll see a flag icon on the top right. Click on this icon, and you’ll be directed to a new page confirming your request. Select the type of violation you believe the review is, and then submit for review.
The time it takes for Google’s team to respond varies. However, they only respond if they have information to share or need more information from you.
#5: Stay On It.
If a good amount of time has passed and you’re still sitting with a negative fake review, don’t give up. You can get further support from Google by accessing your My Business dashboard and submitting a contact request, tweeting the Small Business Support Team on Twitter, or even checking with the Google Community to see if anyone may have some advice for you.
Remain persistent until you get a yes or no response from Google. A bad review can harm your reputation more than you know. There’s no need for your sales to plummet due to a fake review.
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