With so many people turning to reviews sites like Google Local and Yelp, it’s more important than ever to have a plethora of great reviews online. According to the Post-Gazette.com, “A recent survey by Chicago marketing firm Ryan Partnership found 36 percent of 8,000 shoppers polled used online reviews and recommendations this year, up from 12 percent two years ago.”
However, because of its importance, an abundance of malicious, fake reviews have been found. And, despite your online marketing efforts a fake review can be detrimental to your business. Thus, discovering the reviews and handling them correctly will be of utmost importance; consider these three tactics.
Identify the Fake
The first step in handling the fake review process is seeking it out and identifying that it is in fact fake. If you’re proactive in checking for reviews on various sites it shouldn’t be difficult to find. If you happen upon a terrible review that you think is false, you’ll need to take three steps.
- Compare reviews: Are there multiple negative reviews using the same string of words or are very similar in tone and style? Don’t just check one site, check multiple sites for a frequent fake reviewer.
- Proof: Are you sure this is a fake? Any publisher or webmaster will want proof, especially Google. They, along with a handful of others, are protected by the Communications Decency Act which says that they cannot be held liable for harassment or slander through their websites or the ones they own. Be sure it’s truly fake before going any further.
- Competitors: Next, consider who could have done it. Have you recently had a tiff with a competitor or dealt with an unhappy customer? Consider going to them before reaching out to the webmaster.
Remove it Immediately
Once you’ve officially decided the review is fake you’ll want to take action right away. Especially if there is more than one review website affected, it’s imperative that you attempt to get them removed as quickly as possible. However, it’s not as simple as writing a letter and getting it taken down. You’ll want to take a series of actions.
- Flag the review: If it’s obviously fake, flag it as spam or contact the administrator of the site explaining the spam. This is always your first step – if you can get it taken care of through this route, it’s your best bet.
- Go to your lawyer: If you’re sure it’s a chronic fake reviewer or competitor, you want to get your lawyer involved. You may need to consider a lawsuit; writing fake reviews is actually illegal.
Never Do It
Finally, the best way to handle fake reviews is to avoid retaliating against the company you suspect to have put you down. It’s not smart to fire back with a fake review of your own, nor should you cause a media storm over the problem. Instead, focus on the positive.
By simply directing your efforts to maintaining your impeccable customer service, you can work on getting more and better reviews to outweigh the one or two bad ones.
Fake reviews are unfortunately a reality for many businesses. However, if you take the right steps and handle it correctly, you can remedy the problem with little to no negative effects.