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Remove Bad Reviews on Google and other online Review Sites: Is it possible?

How to remove bad reviews on Google – so you’re devastated and heart-broken because someone has left a bad review on Google about your business. They are saying very negative things about your product or service and you’re worried that potential new customers will see this review and not come to see you as a result.

 

Remove Bad Reviews

 

 

I’ve been asked recently how to remove bad reviews on Google. Is it possible? The short answer is if it is an inappropriate review that violates the Review Guidelines of Google, then yes with great difficulty. If it is a genuine review from an unhappy customer, then no, it cannot be removed.

Businesses may be tempted then, to shy away from getting reviews online, for fear of adding to their negative reviews. In this article, I’m going to demonstrate the benefits of online reviews, why you should be actively seeking reviews from all of your customers and some suggestions about avoiding bad reviews and managing your online reputation.

 

If you are asking: 'how do I remove bad reviews online?', then you are asking the wrong question! Click To Tweet

 

You should be more concerned about getting review from ALL of your customers and addressing any opportunities that provides you to improve your service or business. You should be actively managing and controlling your reputation, because if you are not, then someone else almost certainly will (and they may not have your best interests at heart).

 

Remove Bad Reviews – The Wrong Question: What to do instead.

First, let me say that reputation management is NOT just about how to remove bad reviews on Google. It is NOT a substitute for outstanding customer service and product quality (if you are here, I assume that you have that!).

The benefits of having a good online reputation are without question:

  • Trust – People have trust in businesses with a good reputation.
  • Leads -Most of the leads go to the top five search results with the best reviews.
  • Profit and Growth – Businesses with higher ratings and more positive reviews get more business.
  • Employer of Choice – Businesses with positive reputations attract better employees.
  • Supplier of Choice – Businesses with high ratings attract better customers.
  • Investors – Businesses with high ratings are more likely to be attractive to investors.

 

Remove Bad Reviews - five star

 

”The steak tasted like cardboard. Completely over-rated and overpriced.”

“They charged me $2000 but put in 2nd hand car parts.”

“Get this company to paint your house…… if you’re on drugs!”

“Three words: just avoid it. Not a 4.5 stars hotel.”

These are certainly examples of businesses you’d likely avoid based on the review.

I’ve been travelling quite a bit recently, and I like to use AirBnB for my accommodation when away from home. One of the first things I look for when deciding on a property is the reviews – it’s the most important criteria for my selection, even before the appearance and price.

It’s interesting to note the two of the most notable digital disrupters of recent times, AirBnB and Uber, have reviews as a key part of their business model. This is not new, though. Both Amazon and eBay recognized, right from the beginning of their businesses, that reviews are a powerful trust factor and decision criteria for both buyers and sellers.

If these businesses are using reviews and reputation management as a core component of their business, it could be important to other businesses, right?

 

Remove Bad Reviews - reputation quote Warren Buffet

 

If the cost of building your reputation is so high, why not invest in actively managing it?


Research shows 90% of people trust reviews or recommendations from their friends and, astonishingly, 89% of people trust recommendations from COMPLETE STRANGERS online! This is why managing reviews is an important aspect in reputation management for businesses of all sizes.

90% of people trust reviews or recommendations from their friends and, astonishingly, 89% of people trust recommendations from COMPLETE STRANGERS

Infografic from MyReviewsNow

 

Imagine then, instead of fretting over that one bad review, you had hundreds of excellent reviews and an average rating of 4.7 stars or higher.  You’d be seen as one of the “good guys.” People would say great things about you.  

Do you think that would get you many more customers?

 

 


What exactly is Reputation Management?

Reputation management is more than how to remove bad reviews – it involves four key components:

  • Monitor – Be aware of what people are saying about you.
  • Build – Actively take steps to build your brand and business reputation.
  • Nurture – Actively maintain the health of your brand and business reputation.
  • Repair – if you do have bad reviews, take immediate action to address them.

 

Let’s also be clear on the difference between inappropriate reviews and bad reviews.

Inappropriate reviews are those that are considered offensive, use defamatory language, report false information and are clearly aimed solely at damaging the company’s reputation.

Bad (appropriate) reviews are those posted by people who’ve had a bad experience with your business; they may be just venting, have gotten out of bed on the wrong side that day, or have a genuine complaint about the service they received.

It’s important to be on top of your reputation and be vigilant about managing it actively. Your business reputation is part of your brand, that is projecting to the world and is one of your greatest assets. It should be protected fiercely, as it can certainly impact your bottom line.

 

Dealing with Inappropriate Reviews

These reviews have the potential to damage your reputation and hurt your business. You need to take action quickly!

All the major review services such as Google, Yelp, TripAdvisor and TrueLocal have processes in place for flagging inappropriate reviews:

In this situation, it is important to report the offending review quickly and to follow up on your report aggressively and persistently. There is no guarantee, that the service will, indeed, remove the inappropriate review.

When reporting the review, make your case as to why it is inappropriate and violates the review guidelines of the service.

Also, respond to the review, so that people seeing the review, can also see your response and this also increases the likelihood of the service removing that review which you’ve flagged.

Here is an example response, for a situation where someone, who has not in fact, used your service, but has left a review:

“Hello ________,

 

I’ve checked our records, and we have nothing to indicate that you are a current or past customer, nor do we have a record of you inquiring of our services. Perhaps you have us confused with another company?

 

Google’s Review Policy states, “Off-topic reviews: Don’t post reviews based on someone else’s experience, or that are not about the specific place you’re reviewing.”  You may read these guidelines for yourself on Google’s Policy Page.

 

Because of this, I kindly ask that you review your records and remove this review.

 

I am also happy to meet with you in person, or call you to discuss. My number is xxx-xxx-xxx.

 

Thank you,

Owner name, contact information, name of business (use the exact name that you use on your business listings)”

 

Remove Bad Reviews - one star

 

Dealing with Bad Reviews

These reviews, likewise, have the potential to damage your reputation and hurt your business. You need to take action quickly!

Respond to the review in a calm and professional manner. Here is an example response:

“Hello ________,

Thank you for your review!

We endeavour to provide exceptional customer service and value to all our customers.

If, on this occasion, we missed the mark, we’re really sorry!

One of our team will be in touch shortly to see how we can make this right. I am also happy to meet with you in person, or call you to discuss. My number is xxx-xxx-xxx.

Thank you,
Owner name, contact information, name of business (use the exact name that you use on your business listings)”

 

Again, it is important to respond to the bad review and show that you care about providing good service.

An offer to rectify the issue causing the bad review goes a long way, and if you succeed in satisfying the customer, you should subsequently ask them to modify the review and report back on the positive actions you’ve taken.

Don’t Remove Bad Reviews – Take A Proactive Approach

Proactively getting reviews from all your customers and building your reputation with those reviews, is the best way to keep on top of your reputation management.

The proactive approach involves having a process which everyone in your business follows, for encouraging every customer to leave you a review of your service or product.  If you include in this process, a filter to allow bad reviews to come directly to the business and be rectified before being aired in public, so much the better.

This video shows an example of such a system in action:

 


Summary

The best long term strategy for achieving and maintaining a positive reputation is to spread the good news in public and manage the bad news, with engagement, an open mind and a willingness to improve and rectify any genuine bad experience a customer has had.

Rather than worrying about how you remove bad reviews online, setup a process for encouraging customers to leave online reviews, and make it as easy as possible for every customer to give you feedback.

Imagine, that, instead of a dozen reviews, half of which are bad, you have hundreds of reviews visible on your public space, the overwhelming majority of which display 5 stars.

Hundreds of people are saying good things about you. Do you think that would benefit your business directly? Wouldn’t that feel awesome!

 

How to Remove Bad #Reviews? - The Wrong Question: What to do instead. Click To Tweet

 

#Reputation management is NOT about how to remove bad #reviews on Google. Click To Tweet

 

Most of the leads go to the top five search results with the best #reviews. Click To Tweet

 

If you’d like to find out more about our ReviewHUB System, please

contact us here

Jürgen Strauss

Jürgen is the chief innovator and founder of Innovabiz who partner with innovative business coaches to transform your online presence into a business generation platform that delivers exceptional results. You can find Jürgen on Google+ as well as on Innovabiz’ Twitter, Facebook
and Google+ Pages.

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