How to Fix an Inappropriate Google Review

There is nothing better than receiving a positive online review from a satisfied customer. This proves that you are doing something right and that your customers are taking notice. On the other hand, there may be times when your business receives a negative review. Even if you have a strategy in place to reduce your risk, it is good to know how to manage the situation if and when it does take place.

While positive and negative Google reviews are all part of doing business, here’s something to remember: you should never tolerate inappropriate reviews about your business.

Understand Google’s Policies
Review Google’s review and photo policies to gain an understanding of what the company considers inappropriate. While Google has the final say on whether a review on its pages is inappropriate, some common examples occur when a review is:

  • Written by a competitor who seeks to push traffic to their website.
  • Off-topic, such as those based on another person’s experience.
  • Using offensive language and/or personal attacks.
  • Clearly communicating a conflict of interest. Do you own or work at a company? If so, you’re not permitted to provide a review.

Flag as Inappropriate
If you come across a review that violates Google’s policies, we recommend that you take action. Here is how the process works:

  • Click “Flag as inappropriate,” using the flag icon on the bottom right of the review.
  • Google will assess your request.
  • If necessary, Google will remove the review from your listing.

Know What to Flag
It’s one thing to flag a review that violates Google’s policy. It’s another thing entirely to flag a review that you don’t like or don’t agree with.

Google will not mitigate situations when a business owner and customer have a disagreement about an experience, as there’s no way for the search engine giant to determine who’s right and who’s wrong.

If you are unsure if a review is inappropriate, consider flagging the review so that Google can review it in the context of their policy. The worst that will happen is that your request is denied.

Positive or negative, we recommend that you reply to all reviews. This holds true for Google, Yelp, and all other review sites.

How to Generate a Steady Flow of Positive Online Reviews Year-Round
Positive reviews go a long way to assure that your business is consistent in meeting your customer needs. There are many reasons for this, including the fact that some businesses are more likely to be busy in certain months of the year. You may be well aware of the problem at hand: that there are fewer opportunities to generate positive feedback.

A steady flow of online reviews proves to patrons that your business is consistent in providing exceptional service. Google predicts this, and in turn rewards a consistent stream of online reviews with high rankings in online search.

With that in mind, here are some tips to keep your review pages fresh:

  1. Reach Out to Past Customers
    Rather than fishing for a review try this: send a newsletter to past clients. Newsletters can provide past customers with practical advice and other useful information. At some point, you may add a brief excerpt about providing feedback about your business on Google or Yelp. If your past customers are happy with your service, this friendly reminder may be all that they need.

  2. Relive an Enjoyable Experience or Job Well Done
    Even though the majority of your customers are happy with your business, most have yet to share any online reviews. For this reason, you might consider evoking an enjoyable experience or job well done. A postcard or simple email to check in with customers may be the inspiration they need.

  3. Get Creative and Branch Out
    Some businesses shift gears with the seasons. They offer complimentary services to serve customers year-round. This way, they can maintain a space for consistent positive reviews and feedback from their customers year-round.

Think about ways that your business can serve the same set of customers during slow periods. Are there needs that aren’t met? By branching out, you’re in a position to not only generate more positive reviews, but also to grow your business.

These days a small business needs online reviews as well as a strategy to get them. There are a number of ways to collect reviews; however faking reviews online is never recommended.

So how do you collect online reviews for your small business? First, by asking, it’s that simple! And second, by making it easy for customers to leave reviews by telling them where to go and how to do it.

Here are 5 easy ways to ask customers to leave you a review:

  1. Ask for customer feedback in person after closing the sale
    By asking the customer some simple questions and listening to their feedback, this allows you to act on it right away.
  2. Leave out suggestion cards in your place of business
    It’s a great way to solicit customer feedback and collect email addresses for future communications.
  3. Send a follow-up email
    Include a strong call-to action link or button within the email containing instructions for how the customer can leave you feedback.
  4. Pick up the phone
    Phone calls are a great way to solicit direct feedback from your customers.
  5. Write personalized thank you letters expressing gratitude
    In addition to thanking them for their business, you can kindly ask the customer to share their experience with your business in the form of an online review.
Sending a follow up email is the most efficient means to gather customer feedback because it is comfortable for your clients to reply. Your customers can simply click links within the email to leave reviews where you need them most, Yelp!, Facebook, Google, or even your website. Potential customers want to read your reviews, so make sure you have a strategy to get them.

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