According to the BBC, the number of fake reviews is rising each year, both positive and negative in nature. However, while companies do not worry about having 5-star feedback, surely they do not want to suffer from fake negative ones. Competition among businesses rises, and more companies today engage in dirty campaigns focused on destroying a competitor’s reputation with fake negative review attacks.
You do your best to promote your business, focus on client’s satisfaction, but here you are reading a bunch of some nasty, suspicious fake reviews. You are furious and ready to fight for justice. Take a deep breath, calm down your nerves and read 5 tips on how to handle this situation smart and even benefit from it.
1. Don’t Respond Right Away
We understand that it is infuriating when you do everything the right way, and then envious business rivals decide to damage your reputation. It sounds unfair and you are bursting with emotions. Still, you should not answer right away. This is exactly what they are waiting for. You will only make things worse. Do not fall for the trick of a fake negative review and take some time. Use it to reread the review and decide whether it is truly fake. Cool off and respond only after collecting your thoughts together and getting a confirmation that the review is fake.
2. Try Having a Review Removed
Different review sites have different policies, so first check removing review policy at the site where you have a fake one. Websites like Google, Facebook, Yelp, TrustPilot and SiteJabber are open to business owners to deal with such situations, still you should understand that it is quite a challenge to prove that a review is fake. For instance, even a one-star fake reviews with no comments are often left unremoved, because they do not break any review rule. Anyway, if there is some offensive language included, or feedback is written by current or former employees, or there is the same content from different accounts, you need to give it a try.
“Make sure you thoroughly read the website’s review guidelines and see the ways that nasty fake review may fail to comply with them. Oftentimes, people who spread fake negative reviews fail to follow the guidelines of a review platform they post on, so removing such comments gets easier,” says Matthew Welts, a brand reputation manager and owner of his own review website.
For instance, Trustpilot requires a reviewer to provide proof of purchase and proof that their experience with the company was genuine. It makes the whole process of fighting fake reviews easier, as in most cases groundless reviews get quickly removed after you report them.
3. Remember That You Present a Company
If you do not get a fake review removed, you need to provide an answer to it. But how to do it smart? Firstly, always remember that you respond as a company not as an individual. For this reason, you should sound as polite and objective as you can. Your main goal is to restore your company’s reputation in the eyes of those people who may read this review. This is the only thing that matters.
You can respond with something like this: “Hello [Name]. We are really sorry about the negative experience you have had with our company. We set high standards for customer service within our business and take it very seriously when they are not met. Unfortunately, we were unable to locate you among our customers to further investigate the issue. Please contact us on [phone number] or via email at [email address] so we can help you.”
4. Be Polite and Show that You Care
Usually customers pay more attention to the response rather than to the negative review itself. This is how you can turn this situation around and benefit from it. Show that you care about any client. Even if there are fake claims, use polite language and always suggest contacting a client in person. For instance, “We are very sorry to hear about your bad experience at some restaurant on Saturday. The reason we say ‘some’ is because we are closed on Saturday. Is it possible you are mistaking our company with another, or maybe it was another day? We are ready to figure out the situation if you wouldn’t mind contacting us via phone”.
5. Encourage More Positive Reviews
Finally, there is nothing better to fight negative reviews (even the fake ones) than getting positive feedback. For this reason, learn how to encourage your clients to leave positive reviews about their experience with your company.
For instance, you can request a review and offer a small bonus or a discount on the next purchase in return. Alternatively, you can schedule automatic follow-up emails asking your customers to review your business right after the purchase was made. Sometimes customers leave reviews, yet the reviews do not appear on Google. In such a scenario, you can attempt this method to fix the issue with Google reviews not showing. There are quite a few ways to do that! If done right, the fake negative comment will just get lost among the others saying how great your business is.
As you can see with these helpful tips, you can handle a fake review and even benefit from such a situation by showing that you care about your clients, even if there is some bad experience. Be professional, transmit positivity and your brand reputation will not be damaged.