Fake Online Reviews
It can take many months, and sometimes even years, to build up a company’s reputation yet it can be damaged in as little as a few minutes. If the wrong move is made it can lead to disastrous consequences and people may lose trust and boycott a business meaning loss of profits and reliability. Reputation can also be damaged by outside sources such as having too many bad reviews, which may be a direct response to a mistake or just somebody not having a good experience, and in recent cases fake reviews. Fake reviews tend to be malicious and are made with the intent to harm a company. In the past, fellow companies have been accused of paying people to post negative reviews about other businesses, but not all negative reviews fall this way, most of the time it is just people who want to cause trouble and receive attention. To give business owners a bit of advice, we have deduced a few methods to help deal with fake online reviews.
Identifying Fake Reviews
First of all, you must understand the difference between fake reviews and real reviews. Some people may genuinely have a problem and if they go ignored or receive a harsh reply it will look even worse for your business and people will lose trust. Fake reviews usually have a few telltale signs for you to look out for which should help you distinguish them from real reviews. The first thing you will notice about fake reviews is that they are usually written in a malicious or hurtful tone as opposed to actual complaints in which more information is generally given. Fake reviews also are quite vague when explaining the so-called problems their author has faced whereas genuine complaints usually provide more information. If you are still unsure whether a review is fake or not then you could always check out their profiles to see if they have left highly inflated positive reviews on one of your competitors.
Responding to Fake Reviews
It is natural to feel angry and upset when someone spreads false information about your business or leaves reviews just to damage your reputation. Your response needs to be professional so any emotions will have to be left out of the picture and you should maintain a level of civility and respect even if you receive none yourself. Before you do anything, however, you must ensure that the suspected fake review is reported to the platform that you are using so that they may review this user’s account and take action if needed upon that account. Once the review has been reported you should start planning how you are going to respond to the fake review. Remember, it is very important to maintain respect and civility as responding out of emotion can lead to more problems than solutions. In fact, responding properly can actually increase the trust and respect of your consumers because they will see that your company doesn’t hide away from harsh comments and tries its best to get to the root of the problem. You should also share the problem with your followers so that you seem transparent and as though you have nothing to hide. Once you have responded, you should try and minimise the potential damage that could have been caused by the fake review by burying it under a bunch of good ones.
Removing Fake Reviews
Removal of fake reviews can be tricky as there is no guarantee that the review site will take the post in question down. This can be either that they are unsure whether the said review is fake or not or it could just be due to the fact that review sites can’t take down every post that a business owner doesn’t like. Depending on the site, however, after you have reported the review it may be assessed. Even if the review is to be assessed and could possibly go on to be removed, you should still respond because all the while the review stays up it could be causing damage to your company and your reputation. Also, not responding to a review even if it gets removed could make your business seem shady and people might notice and point it out. This, of course, would lead to more problems down the road and would put you right back where you started.
Attract More Positive Reviews
It is more apparent when there are fewer reviews, but even just one bad review can seriously affect the amount of people that trust in your business and will mean you attract fewer customers. This, of course, means less profit and less trust from potential customers which is not the best situation for a company to be in. To stand out against competitors and to attract more people to your company and its products/services you should think about implementing an automated system such as ReputationStacker which contacts your customers with a one-way survey. This means that dissatisfied customers are directed back to your business before they get a chance to post a negative review which could mean that they don’t leave one at all. Also, customers that state they are happy with your services or products can be directed to the review site of their choice so that they can recommend you. Having a system such as this in place will ensure that you keep on top of your reviews and that more positive than negative reviews are present.