Reviews can be both useful and misleading. But as it is one of the primary bases of trust between a business and its customers, any unwanted situation in the review section can cause great harm. Although it’s normal to have negative reviews now and then as you can’t satisfy all of your customers to the same degree. Also, it’s not beneficial to have overall positive feedback on the reviews and ratings.
That’s why businesses have to maintain a healthy ratio of good and bad reviews on their website. But what if suddenly you get overflowed with random negative reviews frequently and because of that your website’s reputation, ranking is getting crushed?
Every once in a while, businesses, especially small and new growing businesses, have to suffer from fake online reviews. And, as it is an open platform, anyone can use it in the wrong way and harm others. But don’t get frustrated. You can handle this disaster smartly and stand out again.
Not all negative reviews are fake. Some of those can be from your actual customer who had a bad experience, which is normal. And if you mistakenly delete those, you may face more outbursts. So, it’s crucial to address reviews that are actually fake. And how to do so?
Lack of details: Most of the fake reviews won’t have any thoughtful information. There won’t be any actual reason why they are upset or of which specific product/service they’re complaining about. A genuine review always addresses the situation of where it happened all wrong. On the other hand, in fake reviews, there won’t be anything like that.
Not a verified customer: Check your records to be sure if the person giving constant negative reviews is a verified customer or has ever bought something from your website or not. Because fake reviews mostly come from non-verified accounts.
Timing: If you notice that some of the negative reviews are coming within a short time, then those are surely fake. It’s not really believable that a business has suddenly disappointed almost all of its customers at once!
Orphan reviews: Some negative reviews won’t show any comment, and there’ll be only 1 or 2 stars. Genuine unhappy customers always feel the urge to complain and make people know about his/her experience. So if there are a lot of reviews without any details, then be sure that those are fake.
Mostly similar: Almost all of the fake reviews are similar to each other. There may be a slight change of wordings, but the meanings are more or less the same. And most of them will be written in terrible English!
Check the person’s profile and history: Check if the person has a real profile and if there are any authentic information about the person. Also, how many and what types of reviews he/she has given. If that account has posted almost the same thing everywhere, again and again, then it’s fake.
Since now you’ve got a modest idea about how to recognize fake reviews, let’s jump to the tactics of how to handle them smartly!
You can get those fake reviews removed from the review websites by reporting or flagging them. It can be advantageous before those reviews get noticed by a lot of people and avoid the damage! Facebook, Google, Yelp, and other known review websites have almost the same and straightforward process for reporting reviews. So it won’t be much of a difficulty for you.
Though it may take some time, as the sites will first assess and then they’ll take action. But the waiting is worth it, to clean out those trash from your website. And during that assessment time, you can try applying other ways mentioned below to handle the situation!
After identifying the fake reviews, don’t just ignore them. Because you know that the reviews are fake, your other customers don’t. And if they see that you’re avoiding negative comments, it may appear in their mind that you’re hiding something or your customer service is terrible and biased, which creates a negative impression about your business. That’s why you’ve to always respond to the reviews, both fake and authentic, equally. It shows how responsible you are.
It’s justified that you’re upset after seeing those fake negative reviews and how they’ve affected your website. But you’ve to control your emotion. You may take it personally but don’t show that publicly. No matter what, you have to maintain your professionalism. Don’t reply in an offensive or sarcastic tone. Every statement of yours will be observed by both your customer and Google. And already those fake reviews have done enough harm to your business, don’t risk getting more.
Just like the way you ask your authentic customers, “if there’s something you can do,” ask the same to your fake customer too! Surely, those fake customers won’t reply or respond to your comments, and that’ll automatically show how fake they are. Always thank them for sharing their experience and be kind. Even though it’s hard, but still sometimes apologize too. Don’t let people use anything against you. The more you show equality for your customers, the more they’ll trust you despite those fake reviews.
You can post valid reviews of your real customers and explain that nothing was intentional, and it doesn’t happen frequently. Show the clarity and authenticity of your service process from time to time so that the trust of your customers won’t break. And after Google has removed those fake reviews, you can show that to your customers and let them know that you were framed, and you had nothing to do with that. Then your customers will eventually be aware of the fake reviews and won’t trust those ever over you. By this, you can turn this loss into an excellent opportunity to get more traffic and reviews.
It’s hard and painful to watch your hard work being taken down by some fake reviews. And it’s reasonable to lose your temper. But don’t let your feelings to provoke your actions. Don’t so something that’ll cause harm even more. You can always fight back and win the situation. There are plenty of ways to do that, legal forms too. All you have to do is take patience and clean the mess smartly.