How to Get Rid of Negative Google Reviews

by | Jun 2, 2021

Managing your Google reviews is more important than ever. Your Google reviews define who you are to everyone on the internet. Think about the last time you were in a new city and needed to make a stop for lunch. You searched for food near you, and you immediately looked at eateries that had the highest number of five-star reviews.

Everyone uses this method to select the best business, office, or practice to suit their needs. People want quick answers, and they want to go with their best bet. They won’t take the time to read reviews of a business listed at three stars to come to a conclusion about the validity of people’s opinions. Three-star businesses are so far down the bottom that most searchers are unlikely to see them.

If your business has a less than favorable positive to negative review ratio, you probably want to delete, bury, or change most of those negative reviews. It doesn’t necessarily matter how you came about those negative reviews. You still have a sense of recourse for minimizing their impact.

Dealing with Fake Reviews

Fake reviews can significantly impact your business. Some fake reviews are left by bots and can easily be contended with. Other fake reviews may be one person who had a bad experience and is using other credentials to leave additional negative reviews, making them a form of slander or harassment. Some people might post an accurate review, but for a different business. Misplaced reviews happen all the time.

If your business is negatively impacted by a review that shouldn’t be there, you have a few options for how to handle the situation. The easy way works when the problem is obvious. When the situation is more complicated, you may need to handle things the hard way.

The Easy Way (That Sometimes Works)

Reviews left by disgruntled employees or competitors, reviews that aren’t relevant to your business, and reviews that are clearly spam can quickly and easily be flagged. All you need to do is click on the three little dots on the right side next to the review and flag it as inappropriate. If it’s clear that the review serves no purpose, Google will review it and take it down.

Another Way to Request Review Removal

You’ll need to use Google’s tool called My Business Help. You will see either your business name or you will be prompted to put the correct business name in.

Select the review in question, click “Manage Your Reviews” and select a business to review.

From there you will see a list of reviews.

Click Report a problem. And then select a reason why.

Valid Reasons For Removal Are:

  • That it is not relevant to the business.
  • It is a conflict of interest. For example, employees, contractors or the owner reviewing their own business.
  • Offensive or sexually explicit
  • Privacy concerns
  • Or legal reasons.

Note: This will currently not work, if you manage multiple Google My Business Profiles.

What you will see if you manage multiple Google My Business Profiles

Google only complies with these requests if the legal reason for removing the review is clear. This doesn’t work for bad reviews simply because you don’t want them there. Google won’t censor unfavorable opinions on behalf of a business unless there’s something legitimately sinister about the reviewer’s intentions, or if they have evidence that a disgruntled customer, former employee, or competitor is deliberately and deceptively attempting to tank your ratings.

What to Do with Legitimate Negative Reviews

Legitimate negative reviews cannot be taken down through Google. They’re often upsetting for business owners to look at, as they feel like a direct insult to the thing they hold most dear. Many business owners treat their business like an extension of themselves, due to the amount of hard work and dedication it requires for them to establish. Whatever you do, don’t go on a rampage.

Some business owners make the mistake of going on the offense when a negative review strikes them on a personal level. If you allow your emotions to overcome you, there’s a significant chance that you’ll wind up making matters worse. Remember: the goal is to learn, grow, and prevent negative reviews from recurring. It isn’t to alienate your patient or client base, or give the impression that the person behind your business is unhinged and abrasive.

Acknowledge the Negative Review

If you have several negative reviews that you’ve not responded to, this might give the impression that you aren’t particularly bothered by a customer’s negative experience. Publicly acknowledging negative reviews shows that you’re dedicated to the satisfaction of people who turn to you for services or care.

Apologize for a customer’s negative experience and detail any steps you’re taking to prevent the issue from recurring. You might want to offer to refund a customer or offer a discount in exchange for a second chance. Since the review is public, you should respond in public. Give the individual who left the negative review a way to reach you in private to iron out the details.

If you’re able to reach a satisfactory resolution with the unhappy customer, client, or patient, you’ll have more options available to you. By providing them with a satisfactory conclusion through great customer service or a second chance, you’re improving their opinion of your business or practice. You can ask them to delete or update the negative review to reflect new information. Even if they’re only willing to bump you up from one star to three stars, it’s still an improvement.

When the Negative Review is Embellished

When people are unhappy, they’re more likely to focus on the negatives. This might lead to a review that’s overdramatized or inaccurate, as it’s clouded by the customer or client’s current state of mind. If the information they’re providing in the review doesn’t line up with the objective truth of the situation, acknowledge that in your response.

If “I waited over an hour” is actually in reference to a 45 minute wait time, you might want to highlight that. If “they refused to help me” really means that the patient forgot to bring the necessary documents they were asked to bring, that’s also worth highlighting. Don’t go point by point and dissect criticisms that are reasonably valid. Acknowledge your shortcomings along the way.

You Can’t Zap Legitimate Negative Reviews from Google

You cannot have a negative Google review removed or changed simply because it’s inconvenient for you. You may encounter situations where you feel that a review is unjust or inaccurate, but Google won’t agree. Their position is that reviewers are allowed to voice their grievances without censorship by companies. They’re only willing to intervene if spam, a legal situation, or proven foul play is at hand.

Your best course of action is to respond to negative reviews, improve experience for the people who choose your services or care, and to balance out negative reviews with an influx of positive reviews. If your business has 20 reviews on Google and half of them are less than 3 stars, it’s going to significantly skew your average towards the lower end.

Burying unfavorable reviews with positive reviews has many advantages. The most obvious advantage is its ability to skew your overall rating to a more favorable end of the spectrum. An influx of 5 star reviews will bring your average up considerably, especially if you didn’t have many reviews to begin with.

The second advantage is one that many businesses don’t often consider. Anyone who does a deep dive on your reviews will see that you had negative feedback, you responded to that feedback, and then the general opinion of your business became more favorable. Your redemption arc is clearly highlighted. People will see that you care. You take feedback seriously, and you’re committed to providing the best possible experience.

Art of Chat Can Help You Get More Reviews

People are generally quick to leave negative reviews when they feel as though they’ve had a bad experience. When people have a bad time with something, they feel inclined to vent their frustrations. Their negative review feels productive to them in the sense that they’re allowed to verbalize their unhappiness behind the security of a screen.

People expect a positive outcome. When something goes well, they adopt a more “business as usual” attitude toward that experience. They’re only eager to express their opinions if something dramatically exceeds their expectations. The people in the middle who were satisfied may be satisfied enough to declare their experience worthy of five stars. They simply don’t think to make a post.

The single greatest asset to review mangement is to ask them to leave a review, and the easier you make the process, the more likely people will be to follow through with that request. A few taps on their smartphone screen and a couple of nice words will only take a minute or two of their time.

Art of Chat allows you to send review requests after appointments, consultations, or services making review management much easier than it was in the past. Our software automates the process and sends the request directly into the hands of your client or patient.. If you incorporate a link with your request, they may feel inclined to take a few seconds to leave some positive feedback. Even if the text portion of the review is minimal, the stars will do enough to bolster your reputation.

Always Strive to Do Your Best

There will be off-days. There will be unforeseen circumstances or situations that might negatively impact someone’s experience with your office or your business. You can’t account for everything. There are also people who are seemingly impossible to please, although they’re exceedingly rare. If you’re adequately addressing pain points and applying feedback, you’re moving in the right direction to managing those reviews.

Don’t let a few slip ups in experience and customer service dictate the future of your reviews. The best way to get positive reviews is to earn them, and the best way to eliminate negative reviews is to avoid them. While you can’t please everyone, you should be able to please most people. The backbone of your business is the people who were satisfied enough with their experience to return. The goal is to make everyone that satisfied.

Focus on providing an outstanding customer or patient experience. Let Art of Chat make it easy for you to manage reviews from the people who are eager to return to you for the incredible quality of care and service you provide and to hopefully placate those that are not satisfied.

A simple interface can identify happy customers, as well as give you a final chance to placate unhappy ones.

Our versatile tool is everything your office staff never realized they needed. The want to provide people with incredible service, and Art of Chat is prepared to help them do that through text messaging. 

Best of all, your employees won’t need to use their personal devices to send these messages. Our software can be used with office computers to aggregate communication and streamline the process. No one has to take work with them on their day off. All your communications are consolidated in a single location.

You can use Art of Chat to help you improve every area of your business. Our easy to use appointment confirmation and reminder feature helps to facilitate better communication about times, dates, and instructions regarding appointments. Text messages leave a paper trail that allows the recipient to review the details of their appointment, helping them to arrive on time and properly prepared.

Our group messaging feature will allow you to send mass texts to customers, clients, or employees about important information. Are you staying closed for the day due to inclement weather or a plumbing emergency? Send out a mass text and offer to reschedule before people begin commuting. Are you offering a new vaccine or a popular service that many of your current clients or patients would be interested in? Drop a mass text to let them know, and start booking appointments immediately.

Two-way texting removes communication gaps with hard to reach clients or patients. Many people can’t answer their phone during business hours and are in a hurry during their lunch break. They may not have time to answer their phones or return a call, but they can almost always find the time to respond to a text message.