Last week, we talked about how to respond to negative online reviews and detailed the behavior a local business owner should display when addressing online reviews. This week, we’re going to talk about dealing with fake negative reviews. Now, you might think the same protocol applies in all negative reviews in general, but you’d be wrong.
Below are some ways you can handle fake negative online reviews without harming your small business’ reputation.
How do you spot fake negative online reviews?
Usually, fake reviews will have ratings, but no comments attached to them. They will also come in very close together. Sometimes, within minutes of each other. They may also have similar usernames or usernames that don’t make any sense.
How do I respond to fake negative online reviews?
Now that you know what to look for, how do you respond? Should you even address them? After all, you know they are fake, why even engage? Well, ultimately, even fake reviews can leave an impression on potential customers and your rating on Google. First, you need to calm down and never respond to any online reviews in the heat of the moment. Think about what your future prospects will see when they come across an online review and the way you respond to it. In the case of fake negative online reviews, the user likely won’t leave an actual comment, so there’s really no addressing a particular concern. Ask probing questions that would encourage the user to tell you what made the service or experience negative.
Some solutions include:
Share your situation
Social media is a great tool to reach people. As a business owner, it can be the way you inform customers and potential customers of situations going on with your business. It can be a good idea to address the situation on your social media accounts. You may be surprised by the level of responses you get, and some may even make light of the situation and inform others of their positive interactions with your business. Therein, assuring others that what you have experienced is, in fact, fake negative online reviews.
Get the fake online reviews removed
Because fake negative reviews don’t necessarily break any of Google’s policies, they can be difficult to remove. If Google does refuse to remove the fake reviews, plan B should be to calmly and positively address the user. You could even offer a refund for the negative experience. This let’s other users know, even though you received a bad (albeit fake) online review, you still care about your customers’ satisfaction.
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