Written by Alex Greco
Online reviews. We love them as consumers when they help us decide what to buy and which businesses to trust. But what happens when your business gets a negative Google or Yelp review? Or even worse—if you find that your livelihood has been “review-bombed”, and you’re watching your star-rating drop as you see a steady stream of negative reviews, some from people you think may have never been your customers?
Removing negative reviews is controversial. On the one hand, business owners feel that negative reviews are unfair or unwarranted and may want them removed to protect their reputation. On the other hand, consumers and potential employees rely on reviews to make informed decisions, and eliminating reviews may be seen as dishonest or manipulative.
If you believe that your business needs help removing or managing negative reviews, whether it be from former employees leaving Glassdoor and Indeed reviews or angry consumers on Google and Yelp, here are four steps to take immediately to protect your reputation:
- Document the situation: Keep a record of each negative review and any evidence you have that disputes their claims. Records may include screenshots of the reviews, timestamps, and other relevant information.
- Report the reviews: If the negative reviews violate the platform’s policies, report them to the platform’s customer support team for possible removal. Provide specific information about the violation and any evidence that the reviews are part of an attack.
- Seek professional advice: Public relations teams can help advise businesses on how to approach getting reviews removed, or even if they should be. For example, if the attacks contain illegal activities, such as harassment or defamation, legal intervention may be necessary to get the reviewer to remove the reviews.
- Address the underlying issue: This may involve improving your products or services, addressing customer complaints, or addressing negative publicity.
Much of our work at Tucker/Hall includes guiding businesses as they carefully respond to negative reviews professionally and respectfully to show they are responsive and prepared to improve on the issues presented. However, there are instances when reviewers attack a business by leaving inaccurate or exaggerated comments to harm the company. Responding to these reviews, especially if they contain false allegations, may be more harmful than helpful.
We can work with you to help you protect your reputation and remove negative reviews on Google, Yelp, Glassdoor, and any other platform. Tucker/Hall can also develop a strategy with you to help build more positive reviews and momentum for your business online. If you need help removing negative reviews, or gaining more positive reviews, reach out directly to our digital lead, Theresa Collington, and she’ll work with you to devise a plan—email firstname.lastname@example.org.