Do you check Google ratings and reviews before you make a purchase? Of course you do. In the digital age, this is a common practice, and it’s exactly why bad reviews can be devastating to any business. In fact, the first one you read can feel like a punch to the gut. Instead of worrying about how negative reviews will destroy your business, you can get proactive. Today, you’re going to learn all about how to deal with a bad Google review.
How to Deal With Bad Google My Business Reviews
As a business owner or operator, you don’t have unrestricted control over reviews. The point of the system is to allow genuine feedback, so the system does not show you how to delete Google reviews posted by others. In fact, that's not an option at all. That doesn’t mean you have to leave bad reviews sitting there to ruin your reputation. If you’re hit with the black mark of negative feedback, you have several options to make it all better.
Resolve Their Issue
It sounds simple enough. If someone is unhappy with your business, try addressing their complaints directly. If you handle the situation, you might be able to turn their negative experience into a positive one. That could lead to them rewriting or removing the review. If nothing else, people reading the review will see your attempts to remedy the situation, and that can lessen the negative impact of the bad review.
While the concept is simple, the practice isn’t always easy. A few best practices can help you avoid common mistakes:
- Keep the discussion private. You don't want this to turn into a public dispute. You can respond directly to the bad review by encouraging them to contact you directly for resolution.
Here's an example response, "Hello [Reviewer first name] , thank you for taking the time to provide feedback on your experience. We do our best to provide a positive experience for all our customers, and are sorry to hear you were not satisfied with yours. If you would like to speak with a manager about your concerns, please get in touch with us via [Business phone] and we'd be happy to help you out. Have a great day,"
- Stay professional. Any flippant, discourteous or unprofessional communication will not help your cause.
- Don’t defend your position. The goal is to resolve their issue — not convince them you’re right.
- Stay focused. You want to avoid tangents and distractions. Sticking to the first point is key. It's hard to get yourself into trouble by asking the customer to contact you directly for resolution.
These practices serve two functions. They help you avoid common response mistakes that sour an already bad relationship, and they represent you to other customers. When people read the exchange, you want them to see that you spared no effort to do right by your customers. If that’s not enough to flip a bad review, it still softens the blow. And, you can always move on to the next step.
How Do You Respond to Google Reviews?
We’ve covered how to frame what you say, but you might be wondering how to do this, mechanically speaking. The steps to access and respond to a review on Google are easy:
- Make sure you’re registered with Google as the owner of the business. No one else will have access to make official responses. You can do this at google.com/business.
- Log into your Google My Business page. If you have multiple locations, select the one appropriate for the review in question.
- Select “Reviews” from the menu. When you find the right review, there is a button that reads “Respond.” Click it, write your response and hit “Submit.”
If your masterful response isn’t enough to convince the customer to take it down, you still have a few options left to try.
Before we get into this, it’s important to understand that flagging reviews serves a narrow scope. Google only intends this avenue to be used in the case of fraudulent or inappropriate views (you can see their guidelines here).
If you've ever wondered how to remove fake Google reviews, these steps are your answer:
- Sign into your Google My Business account (always the first step).
- Pick the business location (if you have more than one) that received the bad review.
- Choose “Reviews” from the menu.
- Once you find the right review, you can click the menu for the post (it looks like three dots). One of the options will be to “Flag as inappropriate.”
Once a review is flagged, Google will take a look and see if it violates their guidelines. This is not instantaneous, and it can take a few business days. As an additional pro tip, Google will take flagging more seriously when multiple users mark something as inappropriate. If you think you have a strong case, you can ask others to flag the review as well. This increases the chances that a representative will delete your Google review.
If flagging doesn’t work or doesn’t seem like the right course of action, continue to the next option.
Invoke Small Business Support
The review process for flagged comments is pretty streamlined. It won’t typically involve a deep look by Google employees. When you think a comment warrants closer scrutiny, you can contact Google Small Business Support. You can state your case and get a more detailed, in-depth response to your issue. Contacting Google support is also pretty easy:
- Visit support.google.com/business.
- Click on “contact us.” It will be at the top right.
- Choose “customer reviews and photos.” From there, you want “manage customer reviews.”
- You can pick from a phone call, email or web chat. None is prioritized over the other, so pick your preference.
Once you create a case, Google usually gets back to you within 24 hours (which can vary depending on the contact method). Once the dialogue with support begins, you get to state your case. The key to getting them to remove a review is to convince them that it violates their terms or guidelines. This is why you want to have your case prepared before you contact support. If you convince them, they’ll take down the review. If not, it will stay up, and you’ll have little recourse to contest the review again.
How to Delete a Google Review of Your Own Making
While we’re on the subject, you might find that you want to remove a review you left for another business. You’ll find that from this end of the story, the process is painless. Just follow the steps:
- Locate the menu on the left side of the screen.
- Find “Your Contributions” and choose “Reviews.”
- Locate the review to be deleted and click the three dots next to it.
- Choose “More” from the list. From there, you can delete the review (or edit it if you prefer).
Drowning Bad Reviews
Now that you know how to delete a Google review, you still need a plan for when the review is left intact. The best way to handle a bad review is by drowning it in good reviews. This can only be accomplished by generating lots of positive feedback from all of your satisfied customers. In short, you need to aggressively seek out positive reviews. The easiest way to get those reviews is by enlisting the help of Digital Gator. Our specialty is helping businesses generate more review traffic. Contact us today to see how we can help you get control of your online reputation.