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How to Remove Google Reviews: A 1-Star Situation

So you’re conducting a business. You’re going about your day-to-day tasks, you’re dealing with your customers, you’re doing your job. It’s all well and good. Until… your business is given a bad Google review. Now you're wondering how to remove Google reviews.

You’ve had 3 stars reviews before and you’ve been critiqued. But this is not a critique. This is a straight-up, full-on, bad Google review.

What do you do?

In this post, we will look at how to deal with being given bad Google reviews, whether they’re justified or not. We say “justified” because sometimes, even though you might not like it, you might have earned that bad review. It’s fine. It’s part of conducting a business. And sometimes, you will get completely unjustified bad reviews. Either way, this post will help you handle the situation with rationality.

How to Remove Google Reviews — Or Is There Another Way?

Every business owner’s nightmare – amongst many others, I’m sure – is to get a bad review. Sure, the business could go out or a meteor could crash into the premise the next day, but the fact remains that if your business is running smoothly, one of the worst things that can happen is getting a bad review. You put your time, money, blood and sweat into a company. You build it up from scratch. Then BOOM! Everything can be ruined by a bad review.

It’s worse than that, if you look at the big picture. SEO must always be considered and Google’s SEO algorithm takes into account reviews. Not just Google Reviews, either. Facebook, Yelp and every other major review platform is taken into account because Google is thorough like that. This means that if you’ve just started your business and only have a handful of reviews, one bad Google review could tank your rankings.

However, it doesn’t mean all is lost. You can still minimize the damage to your brand’s credibility and your website’s SEO and at the same time, keep your customer satisfaction high – you just need to follow these four steps:

  1. Don’t Panic
  2. Evaluate
  3. Deal With It
  4. Stay Vigilant

Let’s get into break down mode.

1. Don’t Panic

We’ve evolved, sure. But humans are still primal creatures. We tend to react on instinct. So, when confronted with a bad review, you might be tempted to react on instinct and lash out.

Like this:

Sure, for a short while, you’ll have the adrenaline rush and the feeling of having given a piece of your mind to whoever it was that dared to leave a negative review about your business or brand. However, no matter how angry you are, this is not the right action to take. It is extremely important that you do not lash out.

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Every company has most assuredly gotten a bad review. It’s not the end of the world.

By lashing out, you might make yourself look like a fool, unstable, or if the review is justified, you might end up looking like a stubborn person who is unwilling to consider their own faults. You do not want that.

Further, there is some evidence that bad reviews might actually boost your sales. Then of course there is the old adage: no publicity is bad publicity. So, don’t lose your head when you see a bad Google review pop-up. Keep calm, don’t lash out, and then evaluate the situation.

2. Evaluate

Here’s the thing, reviews can be a mixed bag. There will be honest reviews, sure, but there will always be fake reviews as well. False reviews can be left by competitors, trolls and other people who just want to watch the world burn. So sure, you are wondering how to remove Google reviews — but removing reviews isn't the only course of action.

So, in this step, take a moment to evaluate the situation. Depending on the size of your business, there is a chance you might actually know 90% of your clients. If that’s the case, you could quite easily figure out who is actually leaving a good review and who isn’t. If you’re not a small business that is intimate with its customers, you can still check your records. Else, the internet is vast and detailed enough that you could spot fake reviews with some simple looking around:

If they are an actual customer, then look at the circumstances that might have led to them leaving a bad review. Look at what they purchased, the time frame of the service, the employee who interacted with the customer or provided the service. Listen to the customer service calls, if need be. The aim here is to know as much as you can about the situation so that you can handle the situation better and prevent recurrences.

Then...

3. Deal With It

If it’s a fake review – not just a no good, terrible, very bad Google review – and you’ve confirmed it, you have to remove it. Else, it’ll harm your business. Here is where you get the answer to "How to remove Google Reviews?" Google allows you to do this by flagging the review, after which Google will remove them.

Here’s how:

  1. On Google Maps, search for your business
  2. Click on the link to see all your reviews and find the one you want to flag
  3. Click on the three vertical dots on the upper right corner
  4. Click on “Flag as inappropriate”
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Four steps, simple as that.

You can do more, of course. You can call or email Google and follow up on your flagged review’s status. Using your Google My Business home page, you can find an option to contact Google’s support center. If the review can be counted as false and slander, you can even get legal. Google has a form for legal removal requests. You can go that route if you need, however, we recommend checking in with a legal professional first.

Now that you’ve flagged it, it won’t be removed immediately. However, fraudulent review or not, you still need to respond to the review. And quickly.

The aim of the game is not to just soothe the reviewer. You’re trying to show your brand’s dedication to customer service. You’re presenting yourself to potential clients. By showing that you deal with customer dissatisfaction with a level head, you stand to gain more for your brand.

Take prompt action and show that you’re committed to customer service. After all, the people who read reviews are the people who are interested in engaging your services. You need to take steps to make the disgruntled customer happy, true, but you also need to assure future customers that they won’t face similar troubles and even if they somehow do, you’ll be there to help them out.

Two Kinds of Fake

For the kind fake reviews where the reviewer has never engaged with your brand, used your product or hired you for a service and etc:

  • Address the fact that they’re not your customer/you don’t have records of them
  • Let them know that you know the review is false…
  • ...but still address their complaints if possible
  • Offer to talk further about the situation

For the kind of fake reviews where it is an actual customer leaving a wildly different account on the review page – complaining you discriminated them when they were actually trashing your business, complaining your prices are too much when they declined to pay at all and etc:

  • Address their complaints head on
  • Tell your side of the story, addressing the falsities on theirs
  • If you have evidence – CCTV, witnesses and so on – let them know you have it
  • Share the justifications for the actions you took
  • Let them know they can contact you if they want to discuss further

Of course, it goes without saying, be rational in your responses.

When the review is bad and actually honest about it, you still have to respond:

  • Own up to your faults, even if it is a rare occurrence
  • Address the complaint without making excuses
  • Assure them that it won’t happen again in the future
  • Offer to fix the problem in a manner that is suitable to them
  • If you dealt with the problem already and the review doesn’t mention it, mention it
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Real Action

Once you’ve dealt with all the online parts of the bad Google review, you still might be left with something to rectify in the real world. When the bad reviews are honest, legitimate reviews, you will need to take actual action. Change is hard, true, and it is stressful. In this situation, however, not only is it absolutely necessary, it is also worth it.

If the bad reviews keep piling up, you need consider that it might be you that’s the problem. In these cases, where there is an issue with a product or a service, you need to put in some effort and fix the problem. The fix might come in the form of improving or fixing your product, improving customer service, providing training for your employees or even firing one. Either way, your focus needs to be creating loyal customers and the only way to do that is by satisfying them.

4. Stay Vigilant

After you’ve taken the initial steps, you still need to keep your eyes open and stay on top of the situation.

Staying on top of the situation can more often than not turn your bad Google review into a good one. In cases where the customer was unsatisfied until you took their words to heart and fixed the issue, the customer might change their review to reflect the new situation. In fact, the fact that you fixed it could lead to you getting a better review than normal. A 4-star rating instead of a 1-star.

People just want their stuff fixed. That’s all.

If the review was faked, you need to stay atop it and ensure that the flagged review is removed, either by Google or the trolls themselves.

Good Reviews Are Better Than Bad

Now you know how to remove Google reviews and you know more on the subject.

You know that bad Google reviews can be manipulated for your good. However, I’m sure we can agree that getting good reviews is better than changing a bad one into a good one. The best bad review is the one that you never get. So, tighten the bolts on your ship. Make your customer service more customer friendly, make sure your products are in top-notch standards and spend some money to fix the rusty parts of your business.

You can tackle all these on your own, sure. But if you need a little help, don’t be shy to get in touch with RankToday.

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