1. Is the bad Google review even real?
Here’s an example of a review that a client of ours recently received (forgive us, we’ve left the spelling and grammar errors intact):
You may, like we did, immediately suspect this review to be fake. Your first clue is the name of the reviewer. It could be a troll just looking to vandalise your reputation for a sense of self-importance. It could even be an unscrupulous competitor who feels they must resort to bad-mouthing your reputation instead of competing against you on their merits.
Your first task is to check your records to see if the person leaving the review is, in fact, a patient.
If they are not, you can reply to the review like this within 12 hours. Feel free to copy this and use it, but you may want to rephrase if you have to respond to more than one review so that it doesn’t appear canned):
“Thank you for contacting us. We are sorry you are dissatisfied. Upon receiving your review, we immediately checked our records to identify you so we could investigate the issue. We did not, however, find your name in any of our records. Nevertheless, we are committed to upholding superior standards of customer service. Please contact us at [your office number], and we’d be eager to address the issues contained in your review on the telephone.”
Why respond at all, especially if you know the review is fake?
In a public forum, you are not just aiming to calm the reviewer (legitimate or not), you are also showing every person who sees this negative review how you handle customer complaints.
2. How to flag a fake Google review as inappropriate
If you think a Google review is fake, respond to it as above and then “flag as inappropriate” immediately. Always respond to the review, however, fake or not. It may take some time for the review service provider to remove a fraudulent review.
You can also call Google and follow up on your flagged review status by clicking support on the Google My Business Homepage.
Of course, if you are a LiveseySolar client, we’ll take care of all of this on your behalf. All you have to do is let us know about the review.
If the above does not work, and you can prove the review is slanderous and false, then you could complete a Google form for a legal removal request. We advise you seek the advice of a legal professional to help you take this step, should it be necessary.
3. How to respond to a bad Google review
To address a genuine bad Google review, we suggest you invoke the well-known Starbucks LATTE method, which is:
- Listen to the customer
- Apologise for the problem or situation (A also stands for acknowledge)
- Take action and solve the problem
- Thank the customer
- Explain what you did
Let’s look at an example. Below is a review of a clinic that was a client of ours. We will show you how we’d address this review, assuming it was genuine.
We’d reply to this legitimate but bad Google review like this:
Thank you for visiting us and sharing this message. We are sorry you had an unpleasant experience. I take great pains to make sure all our patient experiences are amazing. Occassionaly, mistakes occur and for this I am sorry. I am looking into how this happened so that it never happens again. Further, I’d like to offer you the courtesy of hearing more details about the issues you cite. Please contact me directly at [our office number], and I will be eager to address the matters contained in your review on the telephone or in person – whichever is most convenient for you. Warm regards, Rod.
Assuming the patient responds and you have an opportunity to resolve the issue, you can respond to the review again:
I’m glad we were able to resolve your issue to your satisfaction, Shel. Thank you again for raising the issue and bringing it to our attention with your review. You’ve helped me to learn where we can improve, and improve we will. Now that we’ve resolved the problem, would you please consider changing your rating? I’d greatly appreciate it. In any case, I wish you all the best in your search towards correcting your vision, and please let us know if there’s any way we can help you in the future. Warm regards, Rod.