Have you ever checked Google reviews for your business and found a one-star rating with a negative write-up? It can be unnerving enough to discover a homeowner didn’t love the products and services you provided for their windows, but what happens when you know the review is fake?
Negative reviews put you on the defensive when it comes to branding, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be proactive. Here are three options for combating fake reviews and boosting your home improvement brand online.
1. Ask Google to remove the reviews
When reviews violate Google guidelines or are obviously spam meant to attack your online reputation, Google might remove them upon request.
If you receive a sudden onslaught of reviews with obviously fake names (or no names at all), or content that violates Google’s terms, report them. You might also have luck making a case that you couldn’t have served the reviewer—for example, the review references a type of window coverings you don’t carry.
2. Respond to the reviews
Google doesn’t always remove fake reviews. If someone enters a name for the review, gives you one star, and doesn’t leave any review text, they’re technically not violating any Google terms. You might still be able to have it reviewed (it’s worth a shot), but there’s no guarantee.
Consider combating these reviews with professional, concise responses that explain you don’t have a record of sales or service that matches the review. Then ask for more information from the reviewer so you can address any issues.
You can also offer a refund to indicate you care about your customers, even after you’re done providing upgrades in their home. Given that a refund on products or services you didn’t actually provide is $0, this public show of goodwill toward a negative review doesn’t cost you anything but time.
3. Publicize the negative review to your loyal audience
Normally, you want to limit exposure to things that might damage your home improvement brand online, but if reviews are obviously fake, loyal customers are likely to side with you.
Share that you received fake negative reviews on your social media pages so homeowners considering your services know the review claims aren’t true. A common positive side effect of this tactic is that customers who were happy with service you provided in the past may be prompted to now leave a positive review. That actually happens quite often
The worst thing you can do when faced with negative Google reviews (fake or otherwise) is to ignore them. Home improvement providers who act on their Google reviews are seen as professionals who care about their brand and customers.
(Note: Monitoring your business’s online reputation is a requirement for success in the digital age. Try our free Review Scan now for an instant reputation report on your business. It takes less than a minute!)