Nowadays, 92% of consumers use Google search before making a purchase decision. That means that the first thing a potential customer will see is a Google review. Because of this, we all have a responsibility to make sure that these reviews are as accurate as possible.
If you’re a business owner who wants to improve online reputation and remove a Google review on your business page, let’s start off with some bad news and good news.
Bad News: There is no way you can delete a Google review.
Good News: A Google review can be deleted by two others.
No matter how mad you are about a review, there’s no button you can press to instantly get rid of it. But here’s who can do something about it:
- The person who left the review.
Though you can’t delete reviews, you can still reach out to the people who can. This guide will show you how to limit the damage that negative reviews can do to your brand.
How to Remove Google Reviews as a Customer
If you have posted a Google review yourself and are looking to remove it, here’s how:
- Open Google Maps in your browser
- Click the Menu (hamburger menu in the top left)
- Click “Your contributions”
- Click “Reviews”
- Next to the review you want to edit or delete, click the three vertical dots on the right side, then Delete
A 3 Step Guide to Dealing with Customer Complaints
Review platforms like Google, Facebook, TripAdvisor, and others aim to deliver honest and unbiased online reviews. Some sites have strict penalties for businesses that try to game the system either by writing fake reviews, offering incentives, or some other backhanded maneuver. Only reviews that explicitly violate the review site’s Terms & Conditions have a chance at being removed, but only by a site administrator.
In other words, an authentic Google business profile displays ALL opinions from ALL customers, not just the ones the business prefers. Businesses cannot delete Google reviews simply because they disagree.
Though a negative review may at first seem detrimental, it’s important to note that a few negative reviews can help you more than they hurt you. A study by the Spiegel Research Center at Northwestern University found that customers are most likely to purchase from companies with 4.0-4.7 review ratings. That’s because customers are usually somewhat suspicious about businesses that have only positive reviews.
Every business has unhappy customers. Though you can’t control customer opinion, you can control how you choose to deal with negative feedback.
Step 1- Take A Deep Breath and Relax
It’s easy to have an emotionally-charged reaction to a negative review from a customer. Take a look at this example. Here you can see Amy’s Baking Company responding to negative customer comments on its business Facebook page.
Don’t do this. It’s easy to react emotionally to reviews that might feel unfair. It might even feel good in the moment. But it only makes you look worse in the eyes of potential customers.
Don’t take it personally. Take it as a blessing. After all, this is an opportunity to show off your business’s customer service.
Step 2 – Prepare Your Response
Reviews piling up with no response tell customers your business doesn’t care about their experience. Be proactive to control customer perception.
Apologize sincerely for the problem that the customer encountered. You want to show everyone that sees your response to know that your business is serious about providing superior service to every single customer.
If it’s unclear what exactly they had a problem with, provide direct contact information so you can make sure you can combat the problem directly. For an example, check out this apology response template.
Thank you for providing your feedback and letting us know about this issue. We set a high standard for our service and are truly sorry to hear that standard was not met in your interaction with us. Please get in touch with us on (company phone number) and we’d be happy to help you out.
Once you feel certain that you understand the customer’s complaint, offer options to ease their concerns and show you care. For example:
- Refund their money. Use your best judgment to determine if the issue was exceptionally awful enough to merit a full refund.
- Offer a discount for the next time they return. This increases the likelihood of the customer giving you a second chance.
- Promise to fix the problem internally. List specifics on how you will address the issue and when you expect the issue to be resolved.
Step 3- Ask the Customer to Remove or Edit Their Review
After providing a thoughtful response, you can politely ask your customer to delete or revise the review.
Here is an example of a message that can be used to ask a customer to remove or edit their review.
Thank you for helping us to improve our customer experience. We regret that your initial experience with us turned out to be a negative one. Based on your feedback, we have taken steps to make sure that this issue will not happen again for you or any other customer. If there are any additional issues you would like to see resolved, let us know and we will work to quickly resolve them.
We do understand that your review of (Company) on Google was based on your initial experience. We hope that your opinion on (Company) has since changed in a more positive direction. If that is the case, we would appreciate if you edited your review to more closely reflect your current opinion. We take all of our customer reviews seriously and we want to make sure that every review is as accurate as possible.
Reasons why Google may Remove a Review
Think you might be dealing with a fake Google review? Remember, Google wants Google Reviews to serve as a place where customers can learn about the genuine experiences of other customers. That means if a review does not actually recount a genuine experience, it will be removed.
Google’s review policies list reasons why reviews may be removed. Here are four of the most common.
- Spam and fake content- Content should reflect genuine experiences and should not be placed in an attempt to manipulate ratings.
- Off-topic- Content should be related to the specific location being reviewed.
- Restricted content- No calls-to-action for materials restricted by law such as alcohol, tobacco, guns, etc.
- Conflict of interest- Business owners, employees, and employees of competing businesses cannot
Here are the steps you can take to dispute a specific Google review.
- Find your business listing on Google Maps.
- Find the review you’d like to dispute.
- Click the three vertical buttons on the right side, then flag as inappropriate.
Still, disputing a review does not guarantee that Google will remove it. Being proactive and responding to negative feedback is usually the best way of dealing with reviews making false claims. Check out the following example from the owner of West Coast Trial Lawyers.
How BirdEye Can Help You Deal with Negative Reviews
Customers who have bad experiences are much more likely to leave reviews than customers with good experiences. That means that a couple of very angry customers can skew your rating to be much lower than it should be.
Luckily, there’s an easy solution to this problem: Asking customers for more reviews. Research shows that 70% of customers will leave a review if asked.
If you want more reviews, you have a couple of options.
- You can manually ask your customers for new reviews every day.
- You can use review automation software.
Unfortunately, option #1 can be difficult. Though managing your business’s reputation is important, it can be difficult to keep sending requests to every new customer.
Automated software like BirdEye makes it easy to get hundreds of new reviews on third-party sites, then promote the best ones across the web. Click here to find out how BirdEye can help you be the best business.