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 combatting 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 (or no) names or content that violates Google terms, report them. You might also have luck making a case that you couldn’t have served the reviewer — for example, they reference funeral 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 not violating any Google terms. Consider combatting these reviews with professional, concise responses that explain you don’t have a record of service that matches the review and ask for information 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. Since a refund on service you didn’t actually provide is $0.00, 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 services you provided in the past might be prompted to leave a positive review.
The worst thing you can do when faced with negative Google reviews — fake or otherwise? Ignore them. Funeral homes, cemeteries and cremation providers who take action on their Google review pages are seen as professionals who care about their brand and their clientele.