How to Deal with Fake Reviews
Providing products and services to the world at-large is never easy, but most who do it have found their calling. The internet makes it possible to provide these solutions on a scale never seen prior in human history, which presents many positive opportunities for businesses. However, it also opens the door to many new challenges as well.
In many niches, online reviews are the lifeblood of earning new customers. When people search for your brand, what do they find? If a bunch of negative comments are the first thing they see, then they are far less likely to make a purchase. Even worse, some businesses find themselves struggling with fake reviews that are blatant attempts by competitors or trolls to derail business.
Today, we’ll talk about some options you have in dealing with these fake reviews.
Evaluate the Platform
The first part of determining how to handle any fake reviews is to assess where the reviews are currently visible. For example, some platforms such as Facebook allow businesses and brands to turn off reviews entirely, hiding them from the public. If you have an option to turn off reviews, depending on your brand, it may be something to consider.
However, most platforms where fake reviews are a problem are review sites specifically – and what good are review sites if there are no reviews visible? If this is the situation, then you’ll want to move on to the next step.
Pursue Review Removal
In many cases, a fake review is obvious. It could have been left by somebody with an IP address halfway around the world who has never been to your local business, or a simple copy and paste job that can be discovered as fake quite easily. In situations like this, pursuing the removal of the review is paramount.
There are clear processes in place for removing fake reviews from platforms such as Yelp, Google and Facebook. By following the steps and submitting any relevant info, you can begin a process that may very well result in those fake reviews no longer pinging your website and brand.
Consider a Response
If a blatantly fake review has pinged your online reputation, then you want to address it carefully. At this point, you must decide if it’s appropriate to reply to the review. There are arguments both for and against this. For example, addressing one negative review but not others will send a message that the other critiques are legitimate. However, it can be difficult to allow a fake review to just sit there, scaring off customers in the process.
By responding politely, addressing the concerns expressed and offering resolution, you can diffuse the situation without appearing like an unhinged or irresponsible brand owner. Hopefully, however, the fake review will be ultimately removed via the above mentioned process.
Earn More Positive Reviews
Last but not least, if all other options have failed, your only solution is to attract positive reviews from legitimate customers. While this will never fully eliminate the effects of a fake, negative review, it can balance out perceptions and ensure you’re not being overtly damaged by a rogue entity. This will let prospective customers who are pinging your website and review pages that you can in fact be trusted to deliver.
Fake reviews are invariably frustrating, but how you respond makes all the difference. By disabling reviews where possible, applying for removal, weighing whether or not to respond and providing excellent customer service otherwise, you can minimize or outright eliminate the effects of any fake reviews.