Customer feedback is highly essential in ascertaining the overall reputation and goodwill of a business. Hence reviews play a pivotal role in helping the business prosper. Whether you are a hotel or any other business, your reputation over the OTA or public platforms is extremely important for your customers.
One of the biggest players is Google.com which, again, traffic-wise is the most popular platform in the world. It accounts for 57.5% of all reviews worldwide. In fact, 63.6% of consumers visit Google to check for reviews of a business.
Understandably, reviews on Google have a crucial role to play. Again, a review from one user is likely to influence other customers’ decisions to a great extent. For instance, if someone claims that the property is immaculate and the staff service is excellent, you are likely to be drawn positively towards that comment. On the other hand, if someone complains about the property being grungy and staff incompetent, this will generally be a massive turn off for others. After all, 94% of customers avoided a business based on a negative review as per the 2018 Survey.
It is equally important to stay away from negative reviews. Everything that a customer writes about a hotel or any other service, to that matter of fact, may not be accurate. It must be kept in mind that a review is more of a subjective opinion after (or not) a first-hand experience which may or may not be the same for everyone. In a nutshell, all reviews are not reliable. Again, a deliberately crafted negative review bringing ill reputation to a business counts as fraudulent behavior. Hence every owner would be concerned about keeping away from such reviews which might have a stronghold over influencing the customers’ decisions in a negative manner.
Since one has no control over the negative reviews posted by the users, one has to opt for a viable solution. Sometimes an owner might just disagree with the content of a review as it might be a little misleading or detrimental to a property’s reputation. After all, there are two sides to every story! Again, it is not so easy to delete a negative or bad review from Googe just like that.
It must be remembered that Google reviews are public reviews which can appear on both Google maps and a business’ Google listing. Hence one cannot write a review on Google anonymously. But as a user, you have the authority to edit or delete that review if you change your mind later on.
But for a business, this is a bit tricky, especially in the cases, where it has received outright negative reviews since it does not have the authority to avail the simple “delete” button and get the bad review out of the way. The process is a bit topsy-turvy and takes a lot of effort.
Based on the scenario, there are a few effective steps that you can take for Google review removal:
1. Resolve the Issue By Winning Over the Customer
You can attempt to get in touch with the customer by whom the negative review has been written and if something is not accurate, you can politely request them for a review removal since only a user has the authority to edit or delete a review from Google. Not just this, but while engaging in a conversation with the customer politely explain to them about the faults if there are in the reviews. In fact, there are certain best practices that you can resort to while responding to online reviews to win over the customer’s trust by letting them know that you value their feedback and are willing to do whatever it takes to improve their experience in the future.Again, in the eyes of potential customers, a reassuring response from your side to a negative review will also create a positive impression that you care to listen to your guests.
A sincere follow-up with the customers to resolve your issues will surely culminate into something positive. You can also send them a sorry email, invite them once again to your location or bring to their notice the issues that you have fixed as per their request. Once you have successfully won over your customers, you can ask them to edit or delete the review for you.
Here are the steps that might come across as helpful for your customers while editing or deleting their review:
• Customers can open Google Maps on their computer or device.
• In the top left, they can click “Menu” (3 horizontal lines).
• They can look for “Your contributions,”: click, and then choose “Reviews.”
• Next to their review of your business, they can click “More” (3 dots).
• They can choose an option (edit or delete) and follow the instructions.
2. Fake Reviews
Another legitimate scenario that the business owners face nowadays is that of fake reviews. Sometimes, the fake reviews are drafted specifically to defame a business or to simply bring an ill reputation to it with the aim of stunting its growth. Again, it could be from a rival business or spammer. While it is not that easy to identify the authenticity of these reviews, you can still try your best with Google’s spam detection measures and do your own part simultaneously when you have ascertained for sure that the review is authentically fake.
• Sign in to Google My Business.
• Choose your business location and click “Reviews” from the menu.
• Find the review you’d like to flag, click the 3-dot menu, then click “Flag as inappropriate.”
Perhaps, there’s one “unbelievable” thing that we have suggested as an option in the above passage which is to respond to a fake review before attempting to take any action against it. The reason behind doing this is that it creates trust and lets the potential customers know that you can handle even the negative criticism well. Again, prompt action shows that you are committed to customer service.
This is how you can reply to a fake or spam review:
Hi (the reviewer’s name),
We thank you for posting your review and at the same time, we apologize for any dissatisfaction that you might have experienced. Unfortunately, we do not have any recollection or record of a customer experience befitting this account. Again, we apologize that we are unable to verify anything about your identity from your name in our records. We take these issues very seriously and we humbly request you to contact our executive (name) immediately at (email address) to allow us to look into this matter and resolve it immediately if you were a guest of ours.
(Name), General Manager
In a nutshell,
• Verify your records.
• Thank the customer and respond to the review (Yes, even if it’s fake)
• Address the complaint and apologize for the dissatisfaction they might have experienced.
• State that you can’t seem to trace them in your records or are unable to verify their identity.
• Offer them to reach out to you by providing your contact details.
• Once you’re convinced that the review is fraudulent, report or flag it!
You can also expedite the process of review removal by requesting a call-back, email or chat support from Google.
Here is how:
• On Google My Business, click “Menu,” scroll down and look for “Support.”
• A popup will appear, look for “Contact Us,” and click “Need More Help.”
• Choose Customer Reviews and Photos > Manage Customer Reviews.
• Choose from any of the three contact options: request callback, request chat, or email support.
[Note: You can also send a tweet to the Google My Business team (@GoogleMyBiz) from your company’s Twitter account. Someone may reply to you and you can take things from there. You could also search for more advice about the removal of reviews in the Google community support forum.]
3. Seek Legal Advice
If flagging the review and reaching out to the platform does not work, you can always rely on legal support to do the needful. You do have the option to fill out a Google Form for a legal removal request. However, just be aware that the requirements for this are a bit on the higher side. But with the right legal advice, you can definitely expect to head in the right direction.
While based on different scenarios, you can opt for the methods mentioned above, you can still be on top of your negative reviews with some extra effort and additional tips:
• You can always reach out to customers for reviews because Google reviews are non-verified. This means that any person out there can leave you a review even without having tried your product or service. Hence use this technique to ask for more positive reviews.
• An effective and technology-driven end-to-end solution like Instant Review invite or Guest Messaging will be the most effective in helping you with your reputation management which, in turn, will help you increase your Google Reviews. Again, a review generation tool will help streamline the entire review process and drive more business.
• Surely, there is a review handout generator page where you can fill-up the form to generate the printable handout in PDF form. After you have entered your business information, the handout will be emailed to you, and it will come with easy instructions for your customers on how to leave reviews of your business on Google. In this way, you can aid your customers in making the review-writing process easier for them.
How to Manage the Reviews Effectively to Avoid the Hassle of Removal
• Manage your Reviews on an everyday basis. Review Management Solution can come in handy to help you respond to the reviews accurately on go by managing them all on a single dashboard.
• Give timely responses to your reviews.
• Make your offline actions better by seeking to improve. Overhaul or renovation can influence your reputation and ranking to a great extent.
• Formulate a schedule to check your reviews
• Take your time to analyze or distinguish a fishy review from the real one.
• If fake, flag the review for removal by filling out all the necessary details appropriately.
• For further assistance, you can also seek Google’s support by following the steps mentioned above.
• Get a Reputation Management Solution to save yourself from the peril of fake or negative reviews as it allows you to check and respond to your reviews timely by bringing them all in one place.
No business owner can afford to see his hard-earned reputation getting tarnished in a day by one disgruntled customer. Hence it is important to stay ahead in the game and take the necessary precautions before the situation blows out of proportion.
Removing a review from Google might not be an easy task and might take some time as the platform receives a large number of reviews per day. But with the right technique and patience, your business will surely see the light of the day in the form of more positive reviews. In fact, one of the best ways to combat negative reviews is to strive for getting more positive ones. Hence it is important to invest in a good reputation management solution that will help ease your worries to a great extent.
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