It’s a fact: people are more likely to buy something or make use of a company’s services after reading positive reviews. Think back to when you last purchased a product. Chances are you read customer reviews first before deciding on which product to buy.
Studies show that 95 percent of people who shop online read reviews before hitting the ‘Buy’ button. Of the 95 percent, 64 percent rely on the reviews on Google.
As a business owner, you would want most of your reviews to be positive. The challenge is that sometimes, customer reviews can be false or unreliable. Instances of fake reviews have risen over the past few years and in 2019, 82 percent of consumers have read these made-up reviews.
There are several ways to know if a review is fake. They are usually:
- Incoherent and vague
- Full of spelling and grammatical errors
- You have no record of doing business with this person
- A bogus name and profile photo
- Does not respond when you reach out
In this case, knowing how to remove fake negative reviews from Google is essential to protect your business’s online reputation.
If you feel some of the reviews for your business are fake, you can take immediate action. Flag the fake review as inappropriate and ask Google to remove it.
The critical question is: Can you remove negative reviews from Google?
The answer is not a definite yes. Here’s why:
How to get a negative review removed from Google
Unfortunately, there is no “delete” option for Google reviews. The next best step would be to flag the review as inappropriate or in violation of Google’s review policies.
To flag a review, you need to follow these steps:
- First, go to your Google My Business profile.
- Click the link on the Total Number of reviews.
- Look for the review you want to remove and click on the flag icon beside it (Flag As Inappropriate).
Google should see the flag and will let you know if and when they decide to remove the review.
Other reasons to remove negative reviews from Google
Apart from fake reviews, there are a handful of reasons why you would want to remove a negative Google review.
Some violations include:
- Irrelevant comments – If the review does not provide a clear connection to your business, you may ask Google to remove it.
- Prohibited content – Reviews should not contain links to any content that displays or sells illegal items.
- Offensive content – Reviews that contain profanity or derogatory terms are considered objectionable content and should be flagged as soon as possible.
- Conflict of Interest – Reviews should be fair and unbiased, so users can’t submit a review for the company where they’re employed.
- Impersonation – Google wants all reviews to be accurate and correctly represented. All reviews should have a correct author profile.
What to do if you can’t remove negative reviews from Google
Sometimes, negative or low reviews are valid and are not violating any policies. While these can not be flagged and removed, there are a few things you can try.
Respond to the review and offer help
A study by Social Media Today showed that 95 percent of dissatisfied customers will still patronize a brand even if they fix their problems.
You can test this premise with your customers. Write a sincere and professional response to the review author and ask him/her to contact you (or someone in your company) to resolve the cause of the negative review.
If you’re able to solve the reviewer’s problem, ask if he/she can change his review ratings to a positive one.
However, if you can’t solve the customer’s problem, reaching out and making an effort to communicate can make a world of difference from the customer’s perspective. Showing that you genuinely care about your customers is often all that’s needed to turn negative reviews into positive ones.
Manage your brand’s online reputation
Your brand management strategy should not be limited to just Google reviews.
Keep track of all online platforms where people might leave reviews for your business. In addition to Google, review sites like Yelp, Capterra, TripAdvisor and TrustPilot are also places where you might get negative reviews.
Responding to all reviews across different platforms shows your customers that you value their opinion and concerns.
Why you should not worry about negative reviews
It might be hard to believe, but consumers do not look for products and services with a perfect five-star review rating. People feel it’s too good to be true and might not be accurate.
Studies have shown that people can still buy a product despite negative reviews. Eighty-two percent of consumers seek out negative reviews on purpose but end up buying the product anyway.
This surprising detail tells us that people are smart — they understand a product might not work for everyone but might work for them. It’s also an indication that negative reviews can help increase brand authenticity and trustworthiness.
If there’s one thing we learn from consumer reviews, it’s that no company is perfect. There will always be flaws, no matter what. Reviews serve as a way for businesses to improve themselves using direct customer feedback.
Instead of asking, “How can I remove a negative review on Google,” ask yourself, “How can I avoid getting negative reviews on Google?”
Getting negative reviews on Google is an opportunity for your company to help people with your product or service. Encouraging your customers to leave reviews, whether positive or negative, should be standard practice for your business. It’s free data that you can use to identify gaps in your business practices and improve customer satisfaction.