Managing your online reputation doesn’t entail responding only to the bad reviews. As a brand, you should make sure to respond to every review, good or bad. Even when a customer doesn’t leave any comment, but gives your business a rating — compose a short reply.
Get additional positive coverage by encouraging additional feedback in situations where nothing was said. All reviews contribute to your SEO rankings and are central to providing potential leads.
That said, the other side of online reviews is that anyone can post them. It can be really frustrating when someone damages your business’s reputation, especially if they didn’t do business with you. Whenever you are suspicious of a negative review being fake you can also take actions to remove it.
It’s not as easy as clicking “remove”, but you have the ability to remove reviews that violate Google’s policies for reviews. That includes the removal of fake reviews from people who never did business with you.
Determining if a Review is Fake
First and foremost, negative reviews are not always fake. You may get some reviews that were genuinely shared by customers that had a poor experience. Don’t ignore bad reviews, and always address the issues laid out in negative feedbacks. Leave a response to the review on Google, and follow-up with the unhappy customer if you have the means to ensure they feel heard.
At the same time, you should be wary of fake reviews with bad intent towards your business. If you have any suspicions of a fake Google review, here are a few things you can check to make sure:
- Is the person that left the feedback in your customer or sales management software? If not, they may not be a customer.
- Check if the person reached out to your customer service. If not, suggest they do so in your response with a direct link to contact customer service and see if they follow through.
- Does the feedback lack specific details? While customers may not remember the name of the employee that served them, but typically if someone has a bad experience they take note of names.
- Have you noticed an unexpected increase of negative reviews in a short period of time? It could be that someone is targeting your business.
- Did the reviewer mention a competitor in their feedback comment? This is generally an indicator that a competitor may be behind the negative review.
These are not sure-fire ways that will give you a clear-cut answer, but it can help you scope out whether your business is being targeted with fake reviews.