Many businesses fall victim to fake reviews, often from competitors. Should this happen to you, there are a few things that you can do.
Your first course of action should be to try to resolve any negative reviews. By replying with the customer you should be able to address concerns or be able to take the conversation offline to help make things right. If you determine it is in fact a fake review, you would attempt to report it.
When looking to have what you consider a fake review being removed, keep in mind that you should not submit a request just because you disagree or don’t like what was said. Also, most review sites will not get involved when it’s a case of when a business and customer disagree about facts, mainly because there isn’t a suitable way to identify who would be in the wrong when it comes to the customer experience. You should also realize that fake and inappropriate reviews are two different things.
For the most part, you mainly want to focus on negative reviews for Google, Facebook and Yelp, which would have the most visibility and influence overall. But if you're seeing considerable traffic coming from other review sites that are now host to negative reviews you'll want to see what you can do there as well.
By flagging the review in question, you’ll be taken to the Report a policy violation page. Enter your email, select the violation type and you’re done. If more info is required, they’ll be in touch.
If the above procedure hasn’t taken care of things, and if the review is in clear violation of their terms or guidelines, you could try a support associate through Google My Business (GMB). Simply log into your GMB dashboard, go to the section for Reviews, click on the home menu and choose Support, then select a method of contact (Phone or Emai) and provide details. You should probably hear something in 24-48 hours.
More info for reporting fake reviews to Google:
If you need to remove a fake review on Facebook, you need to report the issue. Fake reviews on a product or service are a conflict of the community standards guidelines at Facebook.
If you’re only dealing with one and you have several
An option to consider while taking care of reputation management is to temporarily turn off the reviews on your Facebook. select the “Edit Page” option in the drop down menu and choose “Update Page Info". Next, scroll down to where it says "Address" and click "edit". From here, unclick the map checkbox under the map on the left where it says “Show this map on your Page” and click "save changes". Follow the same steps but click the checkbox for “Show this map on your Page” to have your star ratings appear on your page again.
More info for reporting fake reviews to Facebook:
For removing fake Yelp reviews, you’ll need an account to get started. Flag the review in question to begin the process and provide the necessary details. Alternatively, if you find this doesn’t work, you can try contacting them at firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s it.
More info for reporting fake reviews to Yelp:
The following can help you with some of the other more popular online review sites when it comes to reporting or removing fake reviews.
Merchant Circle - http://merchantcircle.desk.com/customer/portal/articles/283634
Yellow Pages - Click “flag” next to review at https://www.yellowpages.com
Angie’s List - https://www.angieslist.com/faq/how-do-i-delete-review/
Trust Pilot - https://www.trustpilot.com/trust/combating-fake-reviews
City Search - email email@example.com with your profile link, date/text of review
Insider Pages - same action and email as City Search above - http://www.insiderpages.com/faq
SuperPages - Requires a SuperPages or Facebook account. Click “flag abuse” link associated with the review and fill out a short form.
Zomato - send details to firstname.lastname@example.org
Judy’s Book - https://www.judysbook.com/Help/Report-a-review-id23
Houzz - see details at https://support.houzz.com/hc/en-us/articles/217393907-Customer-Feedback-and-Reviews
You should be aware that many review sites are not in the habit of removing reviews unless it crosses the line on some issues. These can include defamatory remarks, advertising, spam, copyrighted content, confidential information, profanity, personal attacks, offensive material, and other issues. Each vary per review site and you would want to check info such as content guidelines or policies to help determine what is deemed acceptable.
Since each review site has their own terms and policies, it isn’t always possible to have a even fake review removed. There’s nothing worse than a 1-star rating without a comment to bring down your overall rating, and the review site to ignore removal requests when you believe that it must be fake. But since it’s their platform, and moderation on the larger review sites involves thousands of daily reviews, it would clearly be a challenge. Many use algorithms to detect what could be a fake review, along with a manual review process, and another mechanism many use is crowd source reporting from the community.
While it’s inevitable that you won’t have a 5 star rating forever, this isn’t always a bad thing. Many are skeptical when a business only has a perfect score. How you go about responding to negative reviews can also influence potential customers, as it demonstrates a genuine concern and interest in the satisfaction of your customers. Part of effective reputation management is to monitor. If you continue to track your reviews, you can stay on top of the situation before they accumulate and become much more difficult to handle.