Reviews are an incredibly important great way to build a positive reputation for businesses. Almost all customers read online reviews before going ahead with a purchase. This makes it crucial to stay on top of your feedback on review platforms. However, when it comes to a negative false review, it can become a nightmare to deal with.
In the Know: Nearly a third of online reviews turn out to be fraudulent.
There are many cases where a business will get a bad review. Whether it be a faulty product, an employee having a bad day, or just plain bad customer service. We are human and mistakes do happen. However, sometimes, criticisms and complaints are just plain false.
In today’s tech-savvy world, it is easy to spread false information around the internet and social media. Anyone has the capability to critique your company without ever visiting your store or meeting with your employees. If you ever find that dreaded one-star, unfair review, hold your tongue (or typing fingers for that matter) and calm down. Take a deep breath, for there is solution to every problem.
The first thing you should do is to determine the authenticity of the reviewer. Being able to differentiate between a real and fake user is very important. Authentic reviews usually make a real effort to go into detail of their experience. Fake reviews will generally be very vague and surface-level complaints, rather than specific criticisms. They often have very aggressive and vicious tones, making them easy to spot. Also, if you check the reviewers profile and see that their other reviews are very positive towards your competitor, then you have found yourself a bogus reviewer.
The next step you should take is to flag the reviewer (by clicking on the flag symbol next to the reviewers name) to whichever website they posted on. For this article, I will use Google reviews as an example:
Google Maps only will remove a review if it meets one of these violations:
- Spam and fake content: Content should reflect customer’s genuine experienced should not be posted to manipulate a place’s ratings.
- Off-topic: Content should only be about the experience at the location and not for political, social commentary or personal rants.
- Restricted content: Content should not feature promotional offers for restricted goods and services, links or contact information for the purchase of restricted goods.
- Offensive Content: Obscenity, offensive language, and/or profanity will be removed.
- Impersonation: This includes any deceptive content or false representations.
- Conflict of interest: Content should be honest and unbiased. Users should not post about their own business, current or former employment experiences, or about a competitor to manipulate their ratings.
After clicking the flag symbol, google will take you to a page to fill out your business listing- affiliated email address to go through the process of reporting and removing the review.
It usually takes a few days for a flagged or reported review to be assessed, so it the meantime, respond to the reviewer in a kind and professional matter. Your response can restore your reputation with customers as they are very likely to read your reply rather than the review itself.
When addressing the fake review:
- Maintain a professional image and show restraint in the nature of your voice. Make it clear that the reviewer is not a user of the product or gave false information.
- Encourage the reviewer to contact the company directly to find a resolution.
- Kill them with kindness. Do not be tempted to respond with an aggressive response back , as that is exactly what they are looking for. As Oscar Wilde famously and wittingly quoted,
“Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.”
Finally, it is extremely important to monitor all review activity by setting up alerts and email notifications to your business so that you can jump to action as soon as a review is posted.
When you’ve worked hard to build a successful business, it can be irritating and infuriating when someone comes and tarnishes the one thing that took you years to create and perfect. However, as stated before, there is a solution for every problem. There is a solution for every fake review.