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 family didn’t love the service you provided during their time of need, 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 in protecting your company’s reputation. Here are three options for combating fake reviews and boosting your funeral home branding 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 terms, report them. You might also have luck making a case that you couldn’t have served the reviewerfor example, the review references death care services in a city where you don’t have a funeral home.
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 service that matches the review. Also ask for information from the reviewer so you can address any issues.
You can also offer a refund to indicate you care about the families you serve even after their time of need. Given that a refund on service you didn’t actually provide is $0, this public show of goodwill toward a negative review doesn’t actually cost you anything.
3. Publicize the negative review to your loyal audience
Normally, you want to limit exposure to things that might damage your funeral home branding online, but if reviews are obviously fake, loyal clientele is likely to side with you.
Share that you received fake negative reviews on your social media pages so families considering your services know the review claims aren’t true. A common positive side effect of this tactic is that families who were happy with service you provided in the past might be prompted to now leave a positive review. That happens quite often.
The worst thing you can do when faced with negative Google reviews (fake or not) is to ignore them. Burial and cremation providers who act on their Google reviews are seen as professionals who care about their brand and clientele.
(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!)