Having a top ranking on Google is usually a dream come true for most businesses. But that dream soon became a nightmare for one business owner.
When you’re an airport taxi service and someone claims your driver is a drug addict who stole your laptop … well, that tends to drive customers away. Now every search for taxi service in the city branded his as “the one to avoid.”
What this business owner went through is a case study of how you are no longer in control of your marketing. He would soon discover how difficult is it is to get such a review removed.
After flagging the review as inappropriate, it took two weeks before Google informed him that the review did not violate their policies.
Meanwhile, the negative review continued to hurt his business. In desperation, he sought help from the Google Product Forum.
After going back and forth, getting advice from various members, a Community Manager for Google+ Local was able to get the review removed—but only after the review had been online for nearly two months, causing this business owner to lose “a considerable amount of clients.”
Many business owner who find themselves in a similar situation many not be as savvy as this one. If that’s you, here are some steps you can take.
Determine if the Review Violates the Community Guidelines
All review sites have community guidelines. If you feel a review is inappropriate, click the flag icon to report it as inappropriate and Google will check if the review violates their guidelines.
Keep in mind that just because you don’t like what the review says doesn’t make it inappropriate in Google’s eyes. Had the reviewer not called the owner and the driver defamatory names, the review would not have been taken down. Google’s policy is, “We do not arbitrate disputes and more often than not, we leave the review up.”
Respond to the Review
It’s always a good idea to respond to reviews, but responding to a negative one is essential. To do so, your Google+ page must first be claimed, and you’ll need to sign in under the Google account you used to claim it.
Once you’ve done that, scroll to the review section and write a response. Your response will appear below the review like so:
Keep in mind that, just like the negative review, your response will be there for all the world to see. So choose your words wisely.
Solicit Positive Reviews to Offset Negative Ones
Every business gets bad reviews. But negative reviews don’t necessarily hurt your business unless you have no positive reviews to offset them.
Consumers know that businesses cannot please everybody. So when they read mixed reviews and see that you responded professionally, it creates trust and credibility and reassures them that, when problems arise, you will take care of it.
As I said before, flagging a comment as inappropriate or offensive doesn’t automatically get it taken down. The most effective way to combat negative reviews is by having more positive ones.
How to Get Good Online Reviews
You can solicit customer reviews by phone, email, or letter. Here’s an example of a letter/email you can use to ask customers for reviews.
Which channel you utilize will depend on whether your customer database contains more phone numbers, physical addresses, or email addresses.
If you have customer emails, look for ones ending with @gmail.com. This indicates that the person has a Google account, which means they can more easily leave a review on your Google+ Local page.
Why is this important? Because native Google reviews boost your search rankings.
Word of Mouth is now “World of Mouth”
The fact of the matter is 72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. And the Internet makes it easy for an unhappy customer or jealous competitor to leave a negative review or comment about your business—even if it’s a complete fabrication.
Been Trashed Online? We Can Fix That
Our Reputation Management service lets you monitor your reputation and respond to negative reviews. We’ll also collect genuine reviews on your behalf, distribute your review content to major search engines and social media sites, and guarantee you at least two reviews a month.