4 Effective Responses to Fake Negative Reviews

This article is Part 3 in a series on fake reviews.

There’s no way to completely prevent fake reviews. Despite recent attempts by the federal government to crack down on them, it’s all too easy for a disgruntled competitor to make a few fake accounts and spam your listings consequence-free.

Even with fake reviews running rampant, there are still actions you can take to mitigate the damage. These 4 responses to fake reviews can help you maintain a good online reputation despite others’ defamatory efforts.

Ask Site Moderators to Remove the Review

Major review sites like Facebook, Google, and Yelp provide ways to ask site moderators to remove a spammy or biased review. In some cases, you can get fake local business reviews removed just by flagging them for the moderators.

However, moderators generally won’t remove online reviews unless they unambiguously violate community standards. If there isn’t clear evidence for anyone to see that the review is fake, you’re probably stuck with it.

Reach Out to Your Community

Some fake review victims have had success reaching out to their communities about the problem. While telling other people generally will not help you get the fake review removed, you may get some additional support from your fans to make up for it.

When Joy Hawkins of Sterling Sky Inc. got hit with a few dishonest reviews, she took to Twitter. She exposed the fake reviews and got some great responses from other Twitter users, as well as three new positive reviews from loyal customers — without even asking.

For other businesses, posting about the problem on Facebook, LinkedIn, or another social platform may be more effective. Go wherever your community is most likely to be. Customers who appreciate your business will likely respond the way Hawkins’ fans did.

Reply to the Fake Reviewer

If you can’t get the fake review removed, it’s a good idea to reply to the reviewer publicly so you can strengthen your impression to anyone reading the reviews. Depending on whether or not the fakeness would be obvious to an outside observer, you can either treat it like a legitimate negative review or point out what makes the review obviously fake.

For example, if the reviewer has an obviously made-up name or a celebrity pic for a profile image, you can comment on it to call the fake reviewer out. Prospects looking over your listing will know not to trust that review and may even take other negative reviews with a grain of salt. You can also comment on anything that shows a lack of knowledge of your offerings, such as mentions of foods that were never on your menu or supposedly faulty features that never existed.

Keep in mind that this type of response only works if the review would clearly look fake to someone with no outside knowledge of your company. You should also take care to maintain a good-natured tone. While mild humor could be OK, depending on the voice you normally use for your business, your response shouldn’t bite too much. Angry sarcasm may reflect poorly on your business’s persona.

If there isn’t clear evidence to outsiders that the review is fake, it may be better to reply as if it were real. This is the time to show off your excellent customer support and communicate to consumers that you care.

Start with a polite apology for the reviewer’s supposed negative experience. Ask questions about what went wrong and how you can make it up to them. Offer solutions that the fake reviewer will not be able to take advantage of, such as a refund.

Be Proactive With Your Online Reputation

Regardless of whether you’ve been slammed with fake negative reviews, it’s a good idea to be proactive about online reputation management. Companies who regularly ask their customers to write reviews will see a return on their investment in the form of more reviews, higher average online ratings, and better search engine rankings.

Using a review generation tool like Kudo allows you to get more reviews in just a few minutes a day. All you need to do after the initial setup is to enter a customer’s first name and email address. Kudo also helps you decrease negative reviews by directing customers who say they had a negative experience to a private site where you can resolve their issues.

Best of all, Kudo is free! You don’t need to give away credit card information to sign up. Try Kudo today and start transforming your online reputation. GET IT FOR FREE >

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