Negative Google Reviews- How to handle them and remove them
Bad reviews are a nightmare for any entrepreneur. Though one negative review will not sink your business, it could potentially avert new customers. Google reviews are very significant in this digital era, where most customers depend on Google for reliable recommendations. The Google reviews left by a fake or real unsatisfied customer can create a negative business image, and, hence it becomes necessary to handle them diligently. Read on to know how you can delete bad Google reviews that can have adverse impacts on your business.
What is a Google Review?
Before learning how to delete a Google review, let’s look at what a Google review is and why it is substantial. Google reviews or Google customer reviews is a service via which businesses can collect feedback on their brand. This review will then be displayed next to the search results of your brand.
Google reviews are a beneficial SEO tool as the opinions left by customers who have experienced your service first-hand will help Google and potential customers understand the reliability of your brand. The higher your rating is, the greater will be the customer’s trust in your brand, and the higher your SERP ranking would be. A bad review- even one left by a fake customer- can affect your digital marketing negatively. So, managing and deleting bad Google reviews is an integral part of your online profile management.
How can you delete bad Google Reviews?
The short answer for this question would be, you, the business, cannot delete Google reviews as there is no “Delete” option available. However, you can request Google to remove the reviews if they’re against Google’s policies. If the bad review is a real one, you could get in touch with the customer, address and rectify their concerns and request them to delete the reviews.
Let’s take a deep dive into the main ways to remove a Google review.
1. Ensure The Review Is Authentic
The first thing to do when you receive a bad review is to ensure that the review is genuine. The internet can be a deceitful space.
- Check if the reviewer has left reviews for other businesses or if the bad review targeted towards your brand has been the only account activity.
- Examine the name, avatar, and tone of the reviewer. If the review and the reviewer show all the signs of being fake, flag the review immediately.
2. Flag the review and let Google take care of it
While there is no “Delete” option for a Google review, you have the option to flag comments that are harmful or fake. The Google team will evaluate your report, and if the comment is found to be unacceptable, they will remove it.
Given below are the steps to flag a review:
- Sign in to your Google My Business account
- Open the business listing and select “Reviews” (on PC) / Click Customers and select the “Reviews” option (on the app)
- Select “More” and click “Flag as inappropriate.”
- Complete the survey that pops up and submit
A review can be “flagged” if it falls under one of these categories:
- Irrelevant Comments
- Illegal Content
- Sexually Explicit Content
- Offensive Content
- Off-topic or Restricted Content
- Conflicts of Interest
3. Take to Social Media
Once you flag a review, it might take days and maybe even weeks to receive a reply from the Google team. At times, you might not hear back, and the comment might not get deleted. In such cases, you could resort to the one platform everyone expresses their discontent on- Twitter.
Follow @GoogleSmallBiz and tweet to them about your situation. Provide the necessary screenshots too. Since it’s a public space, your concern stands a greater chance of being addressed.
4. Make a formal Removal Request
If none of the above options worked for you, you could formally request Google to remove the harmful content. However, this option only applies to a handful of cases in which you or your brand gets slandered- an illegal activity. Therefore, it should only be considered as the last option as Google takes these reports very seriously.
You can report an illegal review through the following steps:
- Navigate to the Content Removal Page
- Choose Google Shopping and Google Customer Reviews next
- Fill and submit the survey
5. Respond, Rectify, Request
If the bad review is posted by a genuine customer and with a real concern, respond immediately. It is the most effective, and perhaps, the most positive way of handling an unpleasant review. A customer’s trust is what makes a business successful. Trust is not earned by just providing good quality service. Taking responsibility when you’ve provided a subpar experience and attempting to rectify it would amplify a customer’s trust in your brand. Also, other customers can see that you have made an earnest effort to address and correct the issue.
- Reach out to the customer asap- Respond to the review, thank the customer for trying your service, and apologize for the setback they had faced.
- Rectify the mistake- If the customer’s bad experience was a genuine mistake on your part, follow up with them and rectify it.
- Request the customer to remove the review- Once the issue has been resolved to the customer’s satisfaction, request them to remove the original negative review. In most cases, they will be quite ready to remove it. What’s more they wouldn’t hesitate to try your products again.
If you fail to receive any response, you can flag it and request Google to remove it as mentioned in points 2 and 3 above.
Google My Business – GMB is a free tool that helps business owners to manage their online presence across the Google suite.
Customer Review Management – Here, it means generating online reviews and monitoring and responding to them to improve business brand image.