Remove Bad Reviews from Google My Business
In today’s digital age, online reviews play a crucial role in shaping the reputation and success of businesses. When potential customers search for local businesses on Google, they often rely on reviews to make informed decisions. However, not all reviews can be trusted, and negative reviews can have a significant impact on a business’s image. That’s why business owners are eager to learn how to delete Google reviews that are harmful to their reputation.
Deleting a Google review is not about misleading customers but rather about maintaining a fair and accurate representation of a business. Studies have shown that 82% of customers won’t patronize a business until they’ve read the reviews, and with Google being the preferred review site for 64% of consumers, a single negative review can make or break a business.
So, how can business owners remove bad reviews from Google My Business? In this comprehensive guide, we will explore what a Google review looks like, the process of deleting reviews, and what to do if deletion is not possible.
What is a Google Review?
A Google review is a customer’s opinion of a business that is publicly posted on the business’s Google page. It consists of a star rating, written text, and sometimes images or videos. The review is associated with the reviewer’s Google account, displaying their name and profile picture, which allows searchers and businesses to verify the authenticity of the review.
- To identify a Google review, look for the following elements:
- The words “Google reviews” at the top of the list of reviews.
- No other company names mentioned in the review.
- A rating scale numbered from one to five, indicating the reviewer’s satisfaction level.
For example, let’s take a look at the Google review page for HubSpot. It clearly exhibits all the elements mentioned above, and since it appears in Google Maps, it’s integrated into the Google interface, making it evident that it is a Google review.
Can You Delete a Google Review?
Unfortunately, Google doesn’t provide a simple “delete” option for reviews. There are only two ways a review can be removed: the reviewer can delete it themselves, or the business can flag the review as inappropriate. Flagging a review alerts Google that the review violates their review policies.
To flag a review, follow these steps:
1.Open Google Maps and locate your business.
2.Find the review on the Google reviews page.
3.Click the three vertical dots to the right of the review and select “Flag as inappropriate.”
4.Choose an option for the question “What’s wrong with this review?”
5.Report the review to Google.
When should you flag a Google review? According to Google’s guidelines, certain types of reviews are against their user terms and conditions. If you come across a review that falls under any of these categories, you can request its removal:
Off Topic: If a review doesn’t pertain to your business or a customer’s experience, flag it as inappropriate.
Spam: Reviews containing links to spam websites or email addresses, as well as images promoting products or special offers, violate Google’s policies and should be flagged.
Conflicts of Interest: Posting a review of a company you own or work for, or posting a review of a competitor to manipulate their rating, is not allowed.
Profanity: Reviews that contain obscene, profane, offensive, threatening, or derogatory language should be flagged for removal.
Bullying or Harassment: Reviews that include attacks on specific individuals, such as business owners, employees, customers, or affiliates, can be considered bullying or harassment and should be flagged.
Discrimination or Hate Speech: Reviews that contain harmful language targeting individuals or groups based on their identity are considered discrimination or hate speech and should be flagged.
Personal Information: Reviews that include personal information, such as addresses or phone numbers, should be flagged and reported.
Additionally, reviews that are not helpful, informative, or relevant to potential customers’ decision-making process can also be flagged for removal.
It’s essential to note that Google has automated spam checkers in place to analyze reviews for inappropriate, irrelevant, or misleading content. While this feature is generally reliable, occasionally inaccurate reviews slip through, which can negatively impact a business’s reputation. In such cases, it’s advisable for businesses to take matters into their own hands and report the reviews themselves.
How to Delete a Google Review
To delete a Google review, follow these steps:
- Open Google Maps and locate your business.
- Find the review on the Google reviews page.
- Click the three vertical dots to the right of the review and select “Flag as inappropriate.”
- Choose an option for the question “What’s wrong with this review?”
- Report the review to Google.
Flagging a review doesn’t guarantee its removal. Google reviews are designed to provide users with unbiased feedback from other customers’ experiences, even if those experiences are negative. Google wants its users to be aware of both positive and negative feedback. Therefore, the odds are not in favor of a review being removed simply because it’s negative.
Instead of relying solely on Google to handle the issue, businesses should take proactive steps to address negative reviews. Here are some effective strategies to handle Google reviews:
1. Respond to the Customer’s Review
The most effective way to handle a negative review is to respond to it. If your team made a mistake that resulted in a negative review, apologize sincerely and address the customer’s concerns. A genuine apology and a willingness to make things right can go a long way in changing a potential customer’s perception of your brand. On the other hand, if the review is positive, express your gratitude and appreciation.
For example, let’s look at how a restaurant responded to a positive yet critical Google review:
“Thank you for your feedback. We appreciate your honest review and are glad that you had a great experience overall. We apologize for the inconvenience caused by the wait time, and we will work on improving our service to ensure a smoother experience for our valued customers like you. We look forward to serving you again in the future.”
2. Ask the Customer to Delete the Review
If your team has successfully resolved a customer’s issue and made amends, you can politely ask the customer to consider deleting the review. While the decision ultimately rests with the customer, demonstrating your dedication to resolving their concerns may prompt them to remove the review voluntarily.
When reaching out to the customer, use a private platform like email to avoid pressuring them. Express your gratitude for their consideration and emphasize how their positive experience reflects your commitment to excellent customer service.
3. Solve the Customer’s Problem
Negative reviews often stem from unmet expectations or unresolved issues. To address this, businesses should strive to solve the customer’s problem. Identify the issues mentioned in negative reviews and take appropriate measures to rectify them. Once you’ve made improvements, follow up with the customers who left negative reviews and invite them to try your product or service again. Assure them that you value their feedback and have taken steps to address their concerns.
For instance, a restaurant that received a negative review about the quality of its food could respond in the following way:
“We apologize for the disappointment you experienced during your recent visit. We appreciate your feedback and have taken your comments seriously. Our culinary team has revisited the recipe and made necessary adjustments to ensure a consistently delicious dining experience. We would be delighted to offer you a complimentary meal so that you can witness the improvements firsthand. Please reach out to us at [email protected] to book your reservation. We value your patronage and hope to have the opportunity to serve you again.”
4. Follow Up with Customers
Reviews older than three months are often considered irrelevant by potential customers. However, these older reviews still contribute to a business’s overall rating on Google, which significantly impacts its reputation. Businesses should actively follow up with customers who have left older reviews and request them to update or edit their reviews based on any improvements or changes that have taken place since the original review.
Additionally, reaching out to customers who have not reviewed your business recently can help maintain an up-to-date and accurate representation of your brand. Invite them to share their feedback and experiences, as their reviews contribute to your overall rating and reputation.
5. Confirm the Review is for Your Business
Occasionally, customers may mistakenly leave a review intended for a different business. It’s essential for business owners to verify that the review is relevant to their company. If you come across a review that seems misplaced, politely inform the customer of the mistake and suggest they leave the review on the appropriate business page. Take this opportunity to promote your business and invite the customer to engage with your products or services.
For example, if a customer leaves a review for a restaurant on a hair salon’s Google My Business page, the salon owner could respond as follows:
“Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback. We appreciate your kind words, but it seems like your review was meant for a restaurant rather than our hair salon. We would love to offer you a complimentary haircut and style to help you look and feel your best. Please contact us at [email protected] to schedule your appointment. We look forward to serving you!”
6. Authenticate the Review
Unfortunately, some individuals may post fake reviews with the intention of damaging a competitor’s business. While it can be challenging to spot these fake reviews, if you suspect a review is inauthentic, you can take action and flag it for Google’s review. Look for signs that indicate the review is fake, such as generic language that could apply to any business or a lack of details. Respond to the review, and if you don’t receive a response, flag it as inappropriate and wait for Google to review your report.
It’s crucial to handle fake reviews with caution and professionalism. Avoid engaging in public disputes or making accusations without concrete evidence. Instead, focus on building a strong and positive online presence for your own business.
The Power of Managing Google Reviews
While deleting a Google review may not always be possible, businesses have the power to manage and mitigate the impact of negative reviews. By responding promptly, addressing concerns, and demonstrating a commitment to customer satisfaction, businesses can turn negative reviews into opportunities for growth and improvement. Additionally, actively seeking feedback, following up with customers, and verifying the accuracy of reviews contribute to maintaining a fair and reliable reputation on Google My Business.
Remember, online reviews are a powerful tool that customers use to make decisions. By effectively managing Google reviews, businesses can build trust, attract new customers, and maintain a positive brand image in the digital landscape.
What is a Google Review?
A Google Review refers to a user-generated assessment or commentary about a business, service, or place that is posted on Google. These reviews are part of Google’s local search platform, allowing users to share their experiences and opinions with others.Google Reviews are commonly associated with businesses listed on Google Maps, which includes various types of establishments such as restaurants, hotels, shops, and more.