How to Respond to Negative and Fake Reviews

reputation management graphic with stars
Let’s be honest, no business owner likes responding to negative reviews (or fake reviews) online. The way in which you handle these situations can leave a lasting impression with both new and returning customers. In fact, if you’ve read our blog post “How Citations, Ratings, And Reviews Help Your Local SEO Campaign,” you know that about 50% of adults under 50 years old will routinely peruse online reviews before making a purchase. Even more, 89% of consumers read businesses' responses to reviews. So how do you effectively respond to negative reviews without turning off potential customers?

Always apologize and thank the consumer for their feedback.

Make sure to apologize for the customer’s experience and be grateful for the ability to improve. EXAMPLE “Hi, [NAME]! I’m so sorry your experience at our establishment didn’t meet your needs. We thank you for the honest review and will work with our staff to ensure we provide better service to you and all of our customers. We hope you will give us another chance to make it right in the future.”

Keep responses appropriate and never place blame or argue.

Arguing will get you nowhere and may make you look bad in the situation. Regardless of the intent of the negative review, always respond politely and appropriately. EXAMPLE “[NAME], thank you for bringing this issue to our attention and for taking the time to leave us a review. We assure you this is not the level of service we strive to provide our customers. We apologize for the issue and hope to earn back your business.”

Invite the unsatisfied reviewer to continue the conversation offline.

To go the extra mile in responding to negative reviews, provide your business’ customer service phone number. Your objective is to make the customer feel appreciated and heard. EXAMPLE “Hi, [NAME]! Thank you for taking the time to review our business. We apologize for the service you received. We would like to speak to you further about your experience. Our customer service number is 1-555-123-4567. We look forward to speaking with you and thank you again for leaving us this feedback.”

Politely bring attention to fraudulent reviews with facts.

With fraudulent reviews, you’ll want to politely draw attention to the false accusations made in the review with specific facts and details. EXAMPLE “Hello, [NAME]. We’ve read through your review and believe there is some confusion, as you said you received poor customer service from Amy on Friday, but she hasn’t worked for our company for several months. Maybe this review is for someone else (or, perhaps, another business)? Would you mind calling us at 1-555-123-4567 so we can further discuss this experience?”

Ask the reviewer to delete the fraudulent review.

It never hurts to ask the reviewer to delete a fake review. They may just surprise you. EXAMPLE “Hello. We would very much appreciate it if you could please delete this review, as we believe it was written in error. Thank you.”

Try to get the fake review removed.

If all else fails, reach out directly to the review website to help you in removing fraudulent reviews. Be sure to have the appropriate evidence readily available to refute inaccurate claims. As a busy entrepreneur, we know you don’t have time to scour websites for negative or fake reviews. And, luckily, you don’t have to! MarketBurst wants to work with your business to start generating great reviews by setting up a reputation management campaign. Contact us today and let us start building a better online presence for your business.

Whether across the office or across the ocean, MarketBurst is the leader in outsourced marketing solutions worldwide. Contact us today.