Websites like Google provide prime digital space for unsatisfied customers to voice their opinions with little accountability. Whether or not these posts are honest, research reveals that 72% of visitors said they believe the reviews posted online.
This can be very good for a business if the review is positive. However, a bad review can hurt a business’ image overnight – an image it took years to build. Negative reviews, truthful or not, ruin a business’ reputation and require immediate action on the part of the business owner.
So I can remove negative reviews on Google?
The unfortunate answer is “No.” You cannot control the reviews on Google – whether good or bad, a review is a review. What you can do is strategically make efforts to push that unfavorable review to the bottom of the screen – or, even better, to the next page – thus decreasing its value.
Get more positive reviews.
Encourage your satisfied customers to write positive reviews about your business. People are more likely to complain when they are dissatisfied than to vocally appreciate when they are satisfied. Persuading happy customers to write good reviews will require effort on your part (aside from actually offering a product/service that fulfils their needs).
Ask customers how they liked a popular product/service or what they like best about your business. Additionally, persuade them to post positive reviews on other reputable review sites as well. It's also advisable to spread the reviews over a period of time by allowing posts to be made every few days or weeks instead of all at once.
Don’t ignore, respond.
When you respond to an unfavorable comment in a professional manner, it might not only help you win back the dissatisfied customer, but also portray you as a business that values whatever its customers have to say and strives to improve itself.
Take the high road when replying to an unfavorable comment – don’t use foul language or abusive words. Instead, respond in an apologetic tone and assure the customer that the negative experience will never occur again.
Ask your satisfied customers for help.
Below every review on Google, there is an icon that allows users to flag a comment as inappropriate. If you see a negative comment which is not true, you can ask your happy customers to click on “flag as inappropriate” or to answer “No” when the site asks if the review was helpful. This should let Google know the negative review is not accurate and is not a true portrayal of your business.
Report legal action.
Google’s support policy allows you to report a review, depending on your country and its laws. You have to provide some information (the content, its URL and the reason you think it violates the law), a “digital signature” and tick a box that indicates that you pledge that all information you have provided is accurate and you are authorized to report this alleged violation. Once Google has verified that the information is accurate, the negative review will be removed.
Google is trying to tackle the growing problem of authenticity of reviews by revoking reviewers’ option to remain anonymous. Google now requires people to log in with their Google Plus profiles and use their real names to post a review. Time will tell if this will resolve the issue.