Responding to Reviews and Reporting Violations

How To Manage and Deal with Negative Reviews on Google

Online reviews have significant influence over the reputation of businesses. With over 90% of people Googling a business first, your online reviews are often the first impression that you have with new customers or clients. Having thoughtful responses to both positive and negative reviews is a crucial aspect of managing your online presence and creating a great first impression for those who are researching your company.

When it comes to responding to reviews, Google found that 67% of negative reviews when responded to within 24 hours were updated to a higher rating or removed altogether. When responding to a review, you’re not only responding for that disgruntled customer but for the next potential customer that is reading this review to judge your business and commitment to service!

Google found that 67% of negative reviews when responded to within 24 hours were updated to a higher rating or removed altogether.

Responding to Reviews Builds Trust and Credibility

Responding to reviews, whether positive or negative, demonstrates your commitment to customer satisfaction. It builds trust and credibility among current and potential customers, showcasing your dedication to addressing feedback. Best practice is to also follow-up offline, if possible, with the customer to let them know you received their feedback.

Responding to Reviews Humanizes Your Brand

Personalized and thoughtful responses humanize your brand. Acknowledging customer feedback shows that there are real people behind the business who care about their customers’ experiences. In the digital world we live in, this can have a huge impact on perception!

Responding to Reviews Encourages Positive Engagement

Responding to positive reviews is an opportunity to express gratitude and strengthen the relationship with satisfied customers. This encourages positive engagement and loyalty. We often focus on only responding to negative reviews but it’s equally as important to thank your happy customers for their support.

With all the online platforms to post on, monitor, and manage, responding to reviews can seem like another overwhelming task that you or your team doesn’t have time for. Follow our below best practices to help you manage and build your online reputation!

Monitor Reviews Regularly

Stay proactive by monitoring reviews across various platforms regularly. With Google, all admins on the account receive emails notifying you of new reviews within minutes of posting! If any profile doesn’t have this feature, we recommend setting up alerts or notifications to ensure timely responses.

Acknowledge Positive Reviews

Respond promptly to positive reviews, expressing appreciation for the feedback. Personalize your responses to make customers feel valued; try to avoid canned or robotic responses.

Respond Professionally to Negative Reviews

When faced with negative reviews, respond professionally and empathetically. Acknowledge the concerns raised, apologize for any shortcomings, and offer solutions or assurances for improvement. BONUS – If possible, contact the customer offline with a phone call or email. We have seen this be incredibly effective and often results in reviews being updated to a higher rating.

Avoid Generic Responses

Generic responses can be perceived as insincere, we all see right through the “Thanks for the 5-stars!”. Tailor your responses to each review, addressing specific points mentioned by the reviewer and use their name if provided.

Respond Quickly

Timeliness plays a huge factor with your review responses. It shows the reviewer that you care about their feedback and value their opinion. It demonstrates your commitment to customer service to potential customers as everything is time stamped. It also is rewarded by Google as Google prioritizes companies that actively manage and update their listings.

At some point, your business is going to receive that dreaded fake review. This review might be from an employee, a competitor, a spam review, or a disgruntled customer that is simply lying about what occurred.

While every review that isn’t true cannot be removed, some can! It’s important to report and fight to have these reviews taken down by following the below steps.

Review Google’s Policies

Before reporting a review, familiarize yourself with Google’s review policies. Ensure that the review in question genuinely violates these policies. Common examples are reviews that include personal information (full name, address, etc), reviews from an employee, or reviews with foul language.

Sign in to Your Google My Business Account

To report a review, sign in to your Google My Business account, where you have control over your business information.

Locate the Review

Find the review you wish to report within your Google My Business dashboard.

Flag the Review

Click on the three dots next to the review and select the “Flag as inappropriate” option. Follow the prompts to provide specific details about why the review violates Google’s policies.

Monitor Your Review’s Progress

Google will review the reported content and take appropriate action if the review is found to violate their policies. Note that not all negative reviews may qualify for removal; they must genuinely breach the guidelines. You can stay updated on your review removal process by checking the status with the review reporting tool.

Building your reputation strategy can seem intimidating but it’s worth the time and effort. You can drastically improve your results by growing, responding, and managing your online reviews!

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