GOOGLE NEGATIVE REVIEW REMOVAL TIPS FOR 2022

I’ve been asked a LOT for ways to get a Google Review removed. So, I wrote a simple article on how to remove Google reviews (the article was simple, unfortunately not so the removal options):

  1. You could ask your customer to remove it, which sounds simple but if they are disgruntled or have an axe to grind it could take a lot of schmoozing and convincing.
  2. If you can prove that the Review is either fake or seriously defamatory you could ask Google to remove it, but for most of us, we don’t have that much time left on earth.
  3. As a last resort, you could lawyer up and sue them. Once again, very time-consuming and frustrating, but you’d feel pretty vindicated when you win.

How To Convince Your Customer That Their Google Review Is A Mistake

Like taxes, negative reviews are a fact of life.

You know the old axiom, “You can’t please all of the people all of the time”?

If you get a negative review, don’t panic. It happens to the best of us! The important thing is not just removing it but also making sure your customers know why this happened without sounding defensive or condescending so they continue having trust in future interactions with you for fear that another mistake could happen again later on down the road.

5 steps on how to respond to a negative review

Step 1: Apologise and sympathise

“We’re sorry to hear about your bad experience. I hope we can work this out so that you are happy with us in the future! What would be most helpful for you at this time? Would it help if we talked through some of these concerns or had someone else review what happened and assist going forward?”

Step 2: Act on the customer’s concerns and be specific in what you will do for them

“We are going to make sure that we fix this problem.” If a refund is necessary, say so with confidence “We are offering everyone who ordered one of these books a full refund”. Be direct but not aggressive or defensive.

Step 3: Slip a little marketing in your response to the bad review

Explain what your customers usually experience. “We take pride in providing quality service with every order so if you were not satisfied, please let us know how else we can make it up to you!!”

Step 4: Move the conversation offline

You don’t want to play negative comment ping pong so get the conversation offline and either communicate by phone or in person.  Be approachable, “Feel free to reach out to me (I’m the owner) and chat about your experience.”

Step 5: Turn that frown upside down

If you can, turn the situation around and see if they will remove their negative review. We’ve found wording like this to be successful: “Many people rely on online reviews to make sure that they get service from a reputable business. Having a negative review hurts our ability to stand out as well as provide value for customers who may read your post after seeing how many positive ones we have received! If you feel that there is an issue with us or maybe it was just one of those days where everything seems wrong but later turns right, I would appreciate it greatly if next time when writing future reviews please consider removing/updating yours so more consumers could benefit off unbiased opinions rather than misinformation.”

Is It Possible To Remove A Google Review Someone Left About Your Business?

Since it’s not guaranteed that you’ll be able to remove a bad review, and Google has strict policies (so they won’t take down anything except in certain (unique) circumstances), I would say no. You could try disputing the negative review by writing your own positive one or communicating with them through email; however, if there is nothing wrong from their end then chances are slim for removal of the reviews.

It can be very frustrating when trying to get rid of an unfair online rating

In short: If someone writes something on Google about your business that isn’t accurate and/or violates policy, you might have some recourse but don’t hold your breath because this process will likely make you frustrated at best!

Here are the top 6 reasons Google will remove a review:

  1. Spam and fake content
  2. Off-topic – completely unrelated to your products and services
  3. Restricted content
  4. Offensive content
  5. Impersonation
  6. Dishonest or biased – competitors have been known on occasion to do this (shock!)

Read through Google’s policy to see if you meet any of these criteria.

I FEEL I’M JUSTIFIED, SO HOW DO I GET GOOGLE TO REMOVE THE REVIEW?

How committed are you to this course of action? The outcome isn’t guaranteed and will take up a chunk of your time, so make sure you are all in!

4 Steps to flag a review:

  1. Log into Google My Business.
  2. Select the location (if you have multiple profiles)
  3. In the menu, select “Reviews”
  4. Locate the review in question. Click the three-dots and select “Flag as inappropriate.”

And then, you wait (sometimes a few days) for a response from Google. If it drags on, reach out to Google support via email.

HOW TO CONTACT GOOGLE SMALL BUSINESS SUPPORT

To contact Google’s support for businesses, here are the steps:

  1. Go to support.google.com/business
  2. Scroll down and select “contact us”
  3. Select “customer reviews and photos,” then “manage customer reviews”
  4. Choose to receive help via phone, web chat, or email

You ‘should’ hear from Support within 24 hours. Before you connect via email or online chat, have evidence like screenshots at the ready.

GO LEGAL AND FILE A REMOVAL REQUEST

If you have tried everything else, it may be time to hire a lawyer.

If the review violates the law, you are in a good position to get the review removed. In a recent case, a dentist won a $170,000 payout for a one-star Google review after she claimed that she had been defamed online by one of her patients. It’s ok to write a negative review for poor products or services, but it’s not ok to make erroneous remarks about a business or a person.

WHEN ALL FAILS AND YOU HAVE EXHAUSTED ALL (LEGAL) AVENUES….

A little PR goes a long way.

1. Submit a final response to the review.

“We’ve done everything we could to turn this situation around and unfortunately, our efforts weren’t enough. We have learned a lot from this interaction and will ensure this never happens again.”

2. Get more reviews

Having only 5* reviews on Google isn’t achievable and to be honest, not realistic.  If you can’t please all the people all the time, then realistically you can’t only have 5* reviews.  So, take a deep breath and move on. In any event, customers care more about the most recent reviews. Bury the review in an avalanche of positive reviews from happy customers and the pesky 1* will soon be forgotten.

3. Develop a process for requesting reviews

Every week/month review your customers and use a tried and tested email to ask them to leave you a Google Review. And don’t forget to add a link directly to your reviews, making it easy for them is half the battle.

If you need help with Reputation Management or improving your internal process so that you avoid customers falling through the cracks and having a bad experience, contact us.

Ground Zero Digital can provide local search marketing campaigns to build your positive reviews and generate more leads and more happy customers.

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