Almost every local business has felt the impact of positive and negative online reviews on Google and having both good and bad in the mix actually makes you look like a legitimate business to prospective customers looking for your business.
Having said that, negative reviews still sting, and they can really hurt your business by turning potential customers away and harming the reputation you work so hard to uphold. The million dollar question is – how do you delete them permanently? Is it even possible?
Although it isn’t easy, it is possible to redeem your online reputation through getting rid of negative reviews. Here are the steps you can take to make it happen:
1. Respond as soon as possible to the negative review
– When someone says something bad about your business it can set off a knee jerk reaction that makes you want to “give it right back” to them. But resist the urge to sound defensive! Customers that have a negative experience at your business sometimes just need to be heard, and so they take to the internet. Once that happens and they feel understood, they may remove the review if you respond effectively. Here’s a few tips for your response:
- Be concise
- Be professional
- Let the customer know you appreciate all feedback and will do whatever you can to make it right
- Ask the customer to get in contact with you and leave a number or email for them to take action
- Once they follow up and in a non-public forum, ask them if they would help you out by amending or removing their negative review
How to log in and respond to reviews from your Google My Business profile:
- Claim your business on Google by visiting Google.com/business if you haven’t already
- Sign into your Google My Business account
- Click on the location that has the review you want to change
- Pull up the menu bar and click on “reviews”
- Type your response and click Submit
If your customer asks you how they can remove their review, here are steps to tell them to take to remove it:
- Visit Google Maps where they likely left the review
- Click on the Menu with 3 lines in the upper lefthand corner of the webpage
- Click on “Your Contributions”
- Click on “Reviews”
- Locate the review you want to delete
- Click on “More” 3 dots image
- Choose to either edit or delete the review
Now, if that approach fails… here’s the next best step to take to remove negative reviews from your Google business profile.
2. Flag the review through Google’s official process – Many times you may receive a review written by a competitor of yours, one that isn’t based on a real customer experience, or something just plain offensive. If that happens to you, here are the exact steps to take to get it removed (keep in mind Google has to approve this so if it doesn’t violate their standards they won’t remove the review).
- Log into your Google My Business profile
- Select the location with the negative review you want to flag
- Pull up the menu bar and click on “Reviews”
- Click on the 3 dots next to the negative review
- Click on “Flag as inappropriate”
- Ask others to also flag reviews so it will draw attention to the review sooner
Sometimes this can take longer than you might like and there is yet another step you can take to remove negative reviews.
3. Reach out and file a claim with Google Small Business Support – When things just aren’t going your way and those pesky negative reviews are still showing up on your profile, you can take things to top, and here are the steps to take to do this:
- Keep a screenshot of the negative review handy to send to Google
- Visit support.google.com/business
- Click on “contact us” at the upper righthand side of the webpage
- Click on the “customer reviews and photos” option
- Click on the “manage customer reviews” option
- Select the option to connect with Google by phone, web chat, or email – you can also tweet @GoogleMyBiz and sometimes you can get a faster response
- Wait up to 24 hours for Google to reach out at which time they might escalate your claim further to a specialist who will be in touch with you about the negative review removal
*Keep in mind that you will need a reason for a review to be taken down and it needs to be more than the fact that the review is hurting your business. As we mentioned above, it needs to violate Google’s review standards. Have your response ready when they ask to facilitate the removal. As a reminder, a review violates Google’s terms if it is fake, from a competitor trying to drive customers away from your business, or offensive.
In short, it isn’t easy and it can be a painstaking process to remove a negative Google review about your local business (wouldn’t it be great if there was a big shiny button you could push instead? :). But, it IS possible. Take the steps above to make it happen and let us know if you have any questions!