In this day and age, reviews have become a valuable tool for businesses and consumers. For the latter, it helps them find relevant and high-quality products and services while giving them the power to praise or complain about their personal experience.
Businesses, on the other hand, need to be mindful of these reviews so they can improve their products, processes, and services. One of the best tools for reviews is with the world’s biggest search engine platform. Your Google Business Profile, formerly known as Google My Business (GMB), allows customers to find your company and share their experiences with others who might be thinking about buying from you.
Not all reviews are genuine
The reviews system, though, operates under the assumption that people will only provide honest feedback. However, there are some who abuse this privilege and misuse it to bring down their competitors. If you feel like you’re a victim of fake and spam reviews, you can actually have those posts removed.
Here are some steps you can take to reach out to Google about reviews:
1. Got to Google’s support center
Google became the world’s top search engine because they allow users to be self-sufficient. This means that users have the power to acquire any information they want with just a few taps on their keyboard.
The same is true for their support center. Business owners can visit their Google Business Profile help center to read and reply to reviews. You can also find a section about removing abusive posts on your public account.
Google recommends assessing the reviews first. You have to determine whether they’re eligible to report for removal. For instance, a post violates Google policies by not being related to the location or business that it tags. Another scenario is posting copyrighted content or graphic violence. In these situations, you can flag the review with Google.
You can flag a review easily on your mobile app or computer. For Android and iOS users, just go to your Google Maps app and open your Business Profile. Go to the Reviews section and look for the post or user that you’d like to report. Then open the three-dot menu or More and click “Report review.” To flag a user, you can click on their name and choose “Report profile.”
If you’re more comfortable on the computer, go to the Google Maps website and look for your Business Profile and the review you want to report. Click on the three-dot menu and “Flag as inappropriate.” You can also report a review right on Google Search by finding your profile, clicking Reviews, and looking for the specific post. Click on the three-dot menu and, again, flag it as inappropriate.
2. Contact Google Directly
If you feel that the matter is urgent, you can contact Google directly through various channels. Here’s an in-depth look at each one:
- Phone – You can call Google through their customer support at 650-253-0000. The number will pull up their automated menu, which you can use to go deeper into possible solutions for your issue. You’ll either hear a recorded voice that’ll tell you the Google support webpage to visit. Sometimes, you can even talk to a human representative.
- Community forum – You can also get Google’s attention by posting on the forum section in their support center. Plus, starting a thread can make your problem visible to others who might’ve experienced it before, so they can provide potential resolutions as well.
- Social media – Tweeting is another way to let Google know that you need help with a negative review attack. You can send a message to Google’s central Twitter account or their specific profile for Google Maps.
3. Wait for their decision
Once you’ve reported the review successfully, you have to wait for Google to approve or disapprove your request. They still have to check whether the review should be rightfully removed.
Knowing this, it’s best to gather proof of the issue, such as screenshots, to help your case. This can save Google the trouble of backtracking on your behalf and may hasten the process.
Responding to negative reviews
In case Google decides that the review is genuine and doesn’t merit removal, you can consider this an opportunity to engage with the customer. Getting negative reviews may seem like a significant setback, especially for small businesses. However, it does offer a chance for you to turn the tables and redeem your reputation.
First, acknowledge the customer’s complaint. Being defensive and retaliating will only do more harm than good. Instead, consider the reviewer’s perspective and determine why they would deem their experience as poor-quality. Empathy can go a long way into boosting consumers’ trust in your business.
The next step is to apologize. Even if you feel that you or your staff did nothing wrong, you should apologize that the customer misinterpreted your service. You can say you’re sorry that they weren’t satisfied with the experience. You can also ask for feedback on how you and your team can improve.
Lastly, take responsibility and assure the customer that it won’t happen again. You can gain two potential benefits here. The reviewer might give your business another chance and repurchase your products or services. Another outcome would be other consumers might read your response to the negative review and be impressed with your work ethics; thus, gaining their trust.
If the resolution is doable and realistic on your part, like making amends for late deliveries through vouchers or gift cards, you can take the discussion offline. Find a way to reach out to the customer privately and present your offer to them in hopes of regaining their confidence in your business.
Reviews are a valuable tool for companies because they help identify areas for improvement for a business. However, the system can be misused through spam and fake reviews. Fortunately, Google has a robust support center to give you the help you need. The platform also allows you to flag inappropriate content right on their mobile app or website.