Learn how to dispute a Google review and improve your digital presence with our guide.
You can think of Google reviews as an online extension of word-of-mouth advertising. These reviews are accessed by millions of people each day.
If you’ve ever received a negative review, chances are you were devastated.
Like most businesses, your livelihood depends on maintaining a strong customer base loyal to your brand and recommending it to friends. When someone leaves a negative review for whatever reason, it can be difficult to remain professional and calm.
Fortunately, you can dispute Google reviews. If a review is defamatory, you have the right to demand Google remove it from its search results. In fact, not only will Google comply with your request, but they’ll likely alert the reviewer that their comments are being taken down.
If the review doesn’t meet certain criteria—and more often than not, they don’t—you can ask Google to take it down. If your request is denied, you can appeal the decision by following Google’s official procedure.
Today, we’re going over how to dispute Google reviews that are hurting your business.
First, Why Should You Care About Learning How to Delete a Google Review?
Google reviews are incredibly important for online businesses; 90% of consumers read them when doing online research. When you ask customers for feedback (@yourbusiness), you should make sure they feel heard and that their concerns are addressed promptly. If you’re instead met with silence (and, even worse, an unsatisfactory review), it can leave customers feeling neglected.
Negative reviews damage your business brand. They can also erode the trust you’ve established with your customers. While one negative review may not damage your company’s prospects, it still represents an immediate threat. Three or more negative reviews, however, can have long-ranging effects that can put your business at risk.
Fortunately, there is something you can do about the situation; in fact, Google allows businesses to request that negative reviews be removed from their site.
How to Dispute a Google Review That’s Hurting Your Business
1. Make sure you’re logged into your Google account
You can access the review causing your business harm by visiting Google Maps and clicking on the three horizontal bars next to your company name. Click on “write a review.” If you’re unhappy with your rating, you can request that it be removed by clicking on the “more options” button.
2. Identify the negative Google review that needs to be disputed
If you’ve received more than one low rating, make sure you address the most harmful one. Google will allow for one dispute per week; if there are multiple negative Google reviews, you can either leave a rebuttal or create a separate dispute for each.
3. Disagree with the fake Google review and provide evidence
As a business owner, if you feel that there is no reason why your company deserves such a low rating, now is your chance to set the record straight. Google will accept five lines of text as an argument against the review; make sure to keep it short and concise. If you’re able to provide evidence (e.g. screenshots of complaints), even better!
4. Agree that the review is accurate
If you feel that the bad review is accurate, Google allows for this to be stated as well; however, make sure you communicate your willingness to improve in the future. You can also choose to leave a rebuttal as an agreement with the review but be sure not to sound confrontational.
5. Wait for your request to be approved and removed from Google Maps
It may take up to 7 days and multiple reviews before you open Google Maps and see changes; however, this is well worth it if it means maintaining your company’s good name with a positive review in place.
Requesting to Delete Google Reviews Doesn’t Have to be Overwhelming
As you can see, disputing a Google review doesn’t have to be difficult. Before making the decision to leave multiple reviews, customers should be aware of their power; after all, if they’re unsatisfied with your company’s customer service or products, it could end up hurting your business.
If you’ve recently received an unfavorable rating (or several), make sure to use this article as a reference when disputing your bad reviews. This guide and our blog posts about negative review removal can help you overcome the challenges associated with bad customer reviews. By gaining an understanding of the review removal process, you’re empowered to take control of your digital presence.
Why This is Crucial for Reputation Management
Online reviews can make or break a business; if you’re met with one that’s less than positive, it’s important to handle the situation with maturity and resolve. As helpful as they can be, negative ratings and comments serve as an opportunity for customers to vent their frustrations.
If your company is not willing to accept negative feedback and improve its customer service or products, your online reviews may end up hurting more than they help. Like any negative information found in search results, negative reviews influence purchasing decisions on the part of your potential customers. Taking control over the digital narrative can protect your reputation — and your prospects for business growth.
Making the Decision to Hire a Reputation Management Expert
When you receive a low rating that is causing harm to your company’s reputation, it can be difficult to remain professional and calm. Fortunately, Google allows companies to dispute negative ratings on their site.
If you feel that your business is suffering due to your online reviews, hiring a reputable reputation management expert can help you resolve the problem quickly.
By resolving any negative feedback you’ve received, you’re guaranteeing that customers will be satisfied with their experiences and continue to provide valuable insight into their satisfaction levels.
What to Do if You Know the Review is Fraudulent?
Not all negative feedback is legitimate. This means that there are some instances when a customer’s review must be removed from Google Maps or disregarded altogether.
If your business receives an unsavory rating from a customer you know, the best thing to do is request further clarification. If they provide details of their experience and their complaints seem unwarranted, you may want to consider disputing or removing the rating.
Can Google Ban Someone for Making a Fake Review?
Fraudulent reviews are not tolerated by Google Maps, so you can rest assured knowing that your business’s online reputation will be safeguarded.
Reputable companies adhere to the guidelines outlined in Google’s Content Guidelines, which state that businesses should take down any negative ratings if they are “malicious” or “untrue.” They define false reviews as ” attempts to cast a negative light on a competitor by saying their business is unsafe, unclean or otherwise unacceptable.”
Whether or not your customers are trying to get back at you for an event that dates back several years, it’s important to consider removing their reviews if they fit this description. After all, it’s possible that some customers may take a business’s reputation into account before visiting, and a fraudulent review could prevent them from becoming a customer later on.
How to Stay Up to Date with What People Are Saying About Your Company
In addition to disputing negative reviews, you should be aware of what people are saying about your company online – both good and bad. This will allow you to improve your products and services for future customers.
By using social media monitoring, you can gain insight into exactly how customers feel about your company. Some businesses even go so far as to respond to every comment they receive on their social media sites, whether it’s positive or negative, in an effort to maintain transparency with their followers. Disputing a review should be a last resort action that does not happen often. However, when it comes to the health of your company’s online reputation, it is always better to be safe than sorry.
Make sure you have good reviews from real people if your company wants to make sure it stays afloat in this business world where almost every website one can think of has a review or rating system attached to it. From hotels, restaurants, and spas, to beauty products and dog care services, you can find hundreds upon thousands of ratings about anything and everything out there on the Internet.
Companies that receive not-so-good reviews need to be aware that customers have the right to say whatever they feel about the company they have used, to either encourage others to use it or stay away from it. However, suppose your business receives a fake review that is not only defaming your name but also hurting your business’ online reputation; you can always dispute it with Google, so things are set right again.
Google has made it easy for companies associated with online businesses to file a case against fake reviews. They have put together clear guidelines, so there are no loopholes for malicious customers to exploit when they want to get back at you for something that happened years ago or lie about their experience with your business to influence possible future customers by being negative about it.
How to Settle a Matter With a Customer and Get Them to Alter Their Review
Whether you have come to a point where disputing the review with Google is no longer an option, or if you decided to take things up with a customer directly, it’s a tough situation for any company. However, there are both effective and ineffective ways of settling matters with customers.
You want to take into account all aspects of the situation and remain level-headed throughout the entire process of settling a matter. First and foremost, it’s important to remember that the customer did, in fact, pay for your services or goods – whether they were happy with them or not.
While some customers may demand refunds over seemingly trivial issues, such as broken or missing pieces of furniture, others may be more difficult to handle. For example, issues that date back years or an issue that involves the reputation of your business in some way may make customers less likely to accept a refund from you.
In cases where there has been a long lapse of time since the purchase was made and it’s clear that you have no intention of giving a refund, the customer would simply be better off forgetting about it and moving on with their life.
How to Deal With Negative Online Reviews as a Company
When you receive negative feedback from customers, your first instinct may be to respond in anger or defend yourself. However, you must resist this impulse and remain calm throughout the process of dealing with negative reviews.
If you find that a customer has been particularly unhappy with your product or service, it’s best to respond by thanking them for their feedback and letting them know about the steps you have taken to make sure things will improve in the future. Customers appreciate companies who are open to criticism and work hard to fix any issues they may have. It also gives the impression that you are willing to do whatever it takes to make things right for your customers.
You can also always invite an unhappy customer to come back and give your business another try, so they can experience the changes you have made. There’s nothing wrong with enticing a dissatisfied customer with this type of offer, especially if they claim that they will never return to your business.
It may not always be possible for you to give a refund to a customer; however, it could help to offer a discount on their next purchase from you. This is an excellent way to try and win back a customer and show that you care about their patronage.
Wrapping It Up
If you are adamant about getting a bad Google review removed, it’s important to go through the proper channels. You can always file a written letter to Google via their support section, outlining your reasons for wanting them to remove the inappropriate review in question. This will be more effective than sending an email since it provides more detailed information.
Google reviews are the biggest factor in influencing whether or not a customer will actually purchase your product or service. For this reason, you should always work to maintain and encourage positive reviews and try and keep negative ones at bay. If things get out of hand, it’s important to know what you can do to remedy the situation.
It’s also vital that you are honest about how your business works, what the process is for making complaints, and other information that could help customers make informed decisions. If you take this extra step, it will ensure that future customers have a better understanding of your product or service before purchasing it.
When dealing with negative online reviews as a company, it’s important to remain as calm and courteous as possible. By taking an assertive but diplomatic stance on the matter, your chances of getting Google to remove negative Google reviews will increase significantly.
As we’ve seen, it’s up to you how you choose to deal with negative business reviews, but always make sure that your final response is polite and reasonable. You don’t want to come across as defensive or dismissive, especially on the Internet, where people are quick to voice their opinions. If your final response is of an apologetic nature, many customers will be willing to delete the bad Google reviews.
Looking for more ways to review a Google review? Check out our blog post here.
Contact NetReputation Today
As the leading provider of business-oriented online review management services, NetReputation has the experience and skill needed to help your business thrive in the digital environment.
Ready to control the online conversation and build, protect, or restore your critical online reputation? Call NetReputation today at 844-461-3632 or complete the form below for a free consultation.