When a customer leaves a review that is inaccurate, it can damage the reputation of a business. For business owners, this can be a frustrating experience.
When it comes to getting inaccurate or negative reviews removed from review sites like Yelp, Facebook or Google, there is no such thing as an easy solution. Review sites are reluctant to remove reviews that might give a contrary opinion about a business, because it can be seen as compromising their integrity. However, when a review uses inappropriate language or is inaccurate, it can negatively impact your business, including your ability to obtain new customers and sales.
Most business owners are aware of how important reviews are for their businesses. Getting a one star increase on Yelp can result in a five to nine percent increase in business. Dealing with positive reviews is easy. However, there are strategies that can also be used for dealing with negative reviews and increasing your ratings.
Customer loyalty and trust can be impacted when a review is removed.
Most websites do not allow or recommend that a review be removed by a business since it can negatively affect the review site’s credibility and harm the reputation of the business.
For example, how many times have you decided to go see a movie after co workers, friends and family have raved about it, only to discover it doesn’t live up to all of the hype. You will be much less likely to trust their opinion the next time everyone is praising a movie.
Your prospective customers, just like you trusting opinions about another movie, may not believe what they read about your business if all the reviews are completely positive. A majority of people are aware that customers will have both negative and positive experiences, and that customers can’t be completely satisfied 100 percent of the time.
To increase the credibility of your business, grow your reviews organically. Don’t ever purchase positive reviews and learn from the feedback that reviewers leave. Reviews can point out problems that exist in your business. Your hours might not be convenient for some customers or maybe one of your employees has a bad attitude. These kinds of problems can be revealed by reviews and give you the chance to address and solve them.
As the business owner, you should use both negative and positive reviews to improve your customer service. Reviews can be a means for making necessary adjustments and building on your successes. Use the feedback to fix problems before they have a substantial impact on your bottom line.
However, when a review goes beyond being helpful to inappropriate, don’t ignore the review. You should take action by either having the review removed or responding to it.
When should you have a review removed and what is the best way to go about it?
A majority of review sites don’t allow for the removal of reviews unless certain rules have been violated by the review.
How To Remove A Review From Google
If you think that there is inappropriate material in a review, Google lets you flag the review. The review will then be evaluated by Google and if certain criteria have been violated, the review will be removed. Before submitting a request to remove negative Google review, make sure that you’ve claimed your Google My Business profile. This way you’ll be able to respond to reviews, as well as flag them as inappropriate.
A review will be removed by Google if any of the following have been violated:
• If the review is considered to be an advertisement
• If the review is deemed to be spam
• If there are URLs or phone numbers contained in the review
• If the review is deemed to be off-topic
• If there is offensive language contained in the review
• If there is a conflict of interest in the review
• If there is illegal content in the review
• If there is copyright content in the review
• If the review has sexually explicit material in it
• If there is any impersonation involved in the review
• If there is any confidential content contained in the review
• If there is any hate speech in the review
If any review you receive meets any of the above criteria, you can flag the review. Google will then evaluate it. Just getting a review that has a low rating or doesn’t explain the rating is insufficient. The review must violate one of the criteria that Google has laid out.
How To Remove A Review From Facebook
The process for getting a review removed from Facebook is similar to the process used by Google. In the Facebook Community Standards, Facebook details what they consider to be inappropriate content.
In order for a post to be removed on Facebook, it must meet one of the following violations:
• The post contains violent content or makes threats
• The post includes information about self-harming
• The post bullies or harasses
• There is hate speech contained in the post
• There is graphic content contained in the post
• There is sexually explicit content in the post
• The post contains private information
• The post has spam in it
• The post’s content compromises security
You need to take the following steps to request a Facebook post be removed:
• On the review, click on the top right hand corner
• Click where is says “I don’t like this review.”
• Next, click on “report.” Follow the instructions that are provided.
Facebook will review the post and make a determination whether any Facebook Community Standards have been violated. If it has, then Facebook will remove the post.
How to Remove A Review On Yelp
It is more complicated to get a review removed from Yelp compared to Facebook or Google. Yelp doesn’t have any exact definitions for what will cause a review to be removed. Yelp instead provides guidance on what shouldn’t be contained in a review:
• A review cannot contain lewdness, hate speech, threats, harassment, or any other kinds of violence or bigotry
• A conflict of interest cannot be contained in the content of a review
• Promotional content cannot appear in a review
• A review cannot be irrelevant to what is being reviewed
• A review cannot have any information contained in it that raises privacy concerns
• Intellectual property cannot be contained in a review
If a review contains content that violates Yelp’s guideline, reporting the violation can be complicated. The way a review gets reported to Yelp will depend on which guideline has been violated. A majority of the time you can flag the review and attach a brief explanation why you have flagged the review.
All of the review sites we have discussed allow both potential customers and businesses to flag reviews due to inappropriate content. So if a customer suspects that a review is fake, they can flag it.
If a business can’t get a review removed, what should you do?
Business owners should always respond to reviews – whether they are positive or negative. When you respond to each review, the two sides of the story are presented. If a review is incorrect, off-topic or fake, it gives prospective customers a chance to learn what the truth really is.
No matter what a review says, it is important to provide a quick response and refer to what was said in the review by the reviewer.
One of the main disadvantages to online reviews is that after reading a review, a potential customer might not trust your business. The review might create this distrust through negative or inaccurate information. However, it really doesn’t matter if it is true or not. It can still cost you customers and negatively impact your bottom line.
On the other hand, reviews allow business owners to respond to people who make comments about your business. You get the opportunity to participate in open forums and give your customers good reasons to trust in your business and in you.