These days almost everything is done online, and there are many benefits to this. However, when things don’t go as planned, there can be a down side. With the advent of social media and other online platforms which businesses use to advertise and expose their brands, consumers hold in their hands a lot of power to either make or break a business. “Keyboard warriors” can literally ruin a company’s reputation with one bad review or comment.
If you are the subject of such a review, what can you do about it? Luckily, there are steps you can take to ensure that the review is made known to be a fake, and more often than not, be removed. So what are the steps you can take?
- Do your research
Before taking any action, it always pays to do your research. Find out as much as you can about the review. Try to link it to a potential customer you had issues with or a job that went wrong and have all that information ready for later steps, as it will help your case. Also, find out what you can about the account that made the review. Is your review their only contribution? Is there a photo and any other activity on the account? Fake accounts are usually easy to spot, though there could be more sophisticated ones so be vigilant.
- Respond To The Review
In a business-like manner, respond to the review stating that you are aware this a fake review. State reasons how you know this is fake (without going into too many specifics) so that anyone who happens to read it can be the judge. This will not only allow others to see what is going on but also alerts the person that is making the reviews that you are on to them and they can expect you to be getting the reviews removed.
- Flag The Review
Next to the reviewer’s name there will be a flag icon. Click this to get to a page where you can report the review to Google as a violation of their terms and conditions. This will send Google an application to have a look at the situation and reach a conclusion as to whether the review should be removed. Fill out the form using your business email address for the contact information and explain the situation. This will alert Google to the review and should strike a response.
- Call Google
If after 24 hours you haven’t received a response, it is a good idea to call Google to follow up and discuss the matter. Go to business.google.com and find the icon with the three lines in the upper left corner of the page, click on it to find “support”. Here you will be able to either chat or phone Google. Have your evidence handy to prove that the review is fake. Sometimes you may need to call two or three times, but this step usually yields results.
- Go The Legal Route
If by now you still haven’t managed to get the review removed, your final step is to fill out the form for a legal removal request to Google. You can find that form at support.Google.com/legal. Google will then carefully review the content and consider blocking, removing or restricting access to it. Make sure you keep following up with the case, eventually your reviews will be removed.
We at YHP specialise in reputation management online. We can help you to sort out issues you are having online such as fake reviews which are damaging your brand’s reputation. We specialise in all areas of reputation management including Google reviews, Facebook reviews, Social Media and more.