How To Remove Negative Online Reviews: Real Advice Based on Real Experiences
So you received a negative review. Whether it was on Google, Facebook, Yelp, or somewhere else, the first step is to not panic, take a deep breath, and stay calm. It’s always tough when you’ve put so much work and time into creating the best possible experience for customers, only to receive a negative review.
Nearly nine out of ten consumers read reviews before making a purchase. They are a critical part of the purchase process and help consumers make an informed decision about your business. Too many negative reviews can hinder your business’s effort in customer acquisition and even worse, tarnish your reputation. You can’t afford to let negative reviews impact your business, so it’s a good idea to make sure you’re removing fake, fraudulent, or accidental reviews so that potential customers only read reviews about the real customer experience at your business.
There’s no guaranteed method for getting fraudulent negative reviews removed since it’s dependent on factors like the review site’s policies, the content in the review, and more. However, as long-time experts in the world of reviews, Chatmeter has seen some different approaches that have proven to be successful.
*Chatmeter is not claiming these methods are guaranteed to work. The advice below is a collection of our own observations and research. Please contact the review site directly for more help removing fraudulent reviews.
How To Remove Negative Reviews
- Make sure the review is in violation of the review site’s policies, guidelines, or terms of service. (See below)
- Flag or report the review for removal.
- Attempt to flag it through various IP addresses and email addresses by asking multiple team members, friends, and family to flag it.
- Be sure to select the same reason for flagging the review.
- Respond to the review while you wait for it to be removed and notify the writer it’s in violation.
If all else fails and the review contains slander or is illegal, consider filing a legal request for removal.
Review policies and guidelines differ by site but most sites have the following policies in common. If you receive a review violating these policies you have a good chance of flagging it for removal:
- Reviews with False Content
- Reviews that contain Spam
- Reviews with Illegal Content
- Reviews with Inappropriate Content
- Reviews that are Impersonating Others
- Reviews with Dangerous & Derogatory Content
- Reviews with Private Information
- Reviews that are Biased
- Reviews that are Off-Topic
Review Removal Guidelines by Review Site:
Advice on Removing Negative Reviews From Chatmeter Experts
Here’s what our experts from Chatmeter’s Listing Management and Customer Success team have to say when it comes to getting negative reviews removed.
“The best way to get a review taken down quickly is to confirm it violates one of the review site’s policies and then flagging it from multiple different user accounts and citing the specific policy broken in the review report. Sites like Google will tend to side in favor of the reviewer but if we can prove them to be fake or violating any policies, it can get them taken down quicker.” – Xander Beaumont, Chatmeter Senior Local Listing Specialist
“What I’ve seen work best is when multiple people from different parts of the world report it. When you get the reports with different IP addresses, it seems to have a better shot of getting removed.” – Ally Foster, Chatmeter Local Listing Specialist
“Negative reviews are never ideal, especially on review sites that have so many loyal users. However, business owners should always make sure to respond in a thoughtful and timely manner and take the conversation offline. When businesses do this, it shows that they care about their customers and want to remedy the situation. More than often when this is done, customers will actually go in and update their original review themselves and it will have a much more positive sentiment.” – Lia King, Chatmeter Local Listing Specialist
“I always tell my clients to have as many of their colleagues to go in and flag the false review because the more eyes it gets on, the better.” – Olivia Boyer, Chatmeter Customer Success Manager
1. Turn the Situation Around with a Review Response
Before you start flagging negative reviews, take a step back to evaluate whether the negative review is worth removing. If it’s a situation in which your business truly made a mistake, it’s best to own up to it, apologize, and see how you can make it right. 30% of consumers will go back and remove a negative review once their concern has been responded to. Turning the situation around gives your brand an opportunity to regain a lost customer and attract future customers.
If someone left a fraudulent review, make sure you address it. Supplement your response with facts, whether it’s supporting evidence from receipts, statements from staff members, or other credible information. Don’t forget to always be empathetic – this shows other potential customers that you’re willing to take the high road.
Even if the review is fake, harsh, or inappropriate – always try to invite the conversation offline. Let them know that you’re willing to fix their situation by providing your contact information so they can reach out to you. Remember that other people are reading these reviews, even if they are fake or spam. When they see that your business cares about your review response, they may disregard the negative review anyway.
2. Report the Review from Separate IP Addresses
When a customer writes multiple fake reviews from one specific IP address, search engines and review sites can detect these reviews as spam. It makes sense that flagging fraudulent reviews from separate IP addresses would give more validity to your efforts in getting a review removed. Many businesses have reported success with using the same technique on Google.
3. Take Your Issue to Twitter
Another approach that may work for you is tweeting to the review site’s Twitter account. Since Twitter is a public platform, you can increase your chances of getting more eyes on your request by either tagging them or direct messaging their team. Twitter is a great social platform for resolving customer support issues, questions, and inquiries. Attach screenshots, a link to the review, and a description so they can get a better understanding of your issue and resolve it faster. However, use this option with caution, because this could put more unwanted attention on your negative review.
4. File a Legal Request
If all else fails, there is one last approach you can try to remove spam or fraudulent reviews from review sites. If a review presents itself as a case of possible slander against your business, you can file a legal removal request since slander is illegal in the United States. This final option works for reviews that are false and defamatory. Sites like Google take illegal reviews very seriously and they may send the notice to the “alleged infringer”.
5. Optimize Your Review Management Strategy
Even though negative reviews are a large headache for businesses, they’re not always a bad thing. 68% of people trust a brand more when it has a mix of good and bad reviews. Which is why it’s important brands have a review management strategy in place to monitor and respond to all reviews; negative, positive, real or fake. Not to mention consumers find that businesses that respond to reviews are 1.7x more trustworthy than those who don’t. Responding to negative reviews gives your brand an opportunity to show you care and want to make it right.
The best way to proactively prevent negative reviews is to focus on optimizing your review management strategy. An optimized review management strategy will help you gain more positive reviews and ultimately drown out the few negative reviews your business is receiving. Not to mention, monitoring reviews will help you improve the customer experience which is why brands choose Chatmeter to analyze and protect their online reputation. From text and sentiment analysis tools to a robust task management system, Chatmeter is the premier solution for multi-location brands and agencies.