Reviews are the most powerful marketing tool any business can use. Word of mouth is the best kind of marketing you can receive. To drive word of mouth online, you’ll need to build up reviews.

For business’ currently not using reviews, keep in mind customers are less likely to visit a business that has a minimal online presence. People want to know what to expect so photos, websites and reviews are important. Note, the numbers:

67%The percentage of customers influenced by reviews

22% The percentage of existing customers you can lose with one bad review

59.2% The percentage of existing customers you can lose with three bad reviews

70% The percentage of existing customers you can lose with four or more bad reviews

Reviews are normally a great way to see what your customers are really thinking and maybe even improve on your services. But what happens when you receive reviews you know are inappropriate, or even fake?

Inappropriate Reviews

Negative reviews are never fun, but they can be helpful. However, sometimes they are not.

Google has review guidelines that try to prevent reviews like this, but they can slip through the cracks.

To report an inappropriate review to Google, follow the instructions on this page:


As stated in the article, the review can take a few days to be assessed. So, while you wait for the results, leave a calm and collected response for anyone that happens upon it.

Provide a simple, straightforward explanation of the interaction between yourself and the customer, or if there was none, state this fact. Then kindly request the removal of the review.

Fake Reviews

Like with other inappropriate reviews, when you receive a fake review the first step is to respond.

If the review is generally fake (someone with a personal vendetta, or who just enjoys stirring the pot) no matter how reasonable you are, they will not relent. Don’t let this concern you.

By being mature in your response, you inform your existing and prospective customers that you take all reviews seriously and are dedicated to ensuring negative experiences do not reoccur.

Finally, flag the review as a policy violation.

Tip: Ask friends to flag the review as well. If it’s written like a legitimate complaint, it’s more difficult for Google to determine whether or not it is fake. There is power in numbers in situations like this!

Stay Calm

Some reviews can be pesky to get rid of. As a business owner, seeing that negative comment showing up whenever you search for your business can be deeply frustrating.

Remember not to panic. This has happened before, and Google is able to deal with it. Remain calm and present your case to Google Small Business Support, and send some tweets to @GoogleSmallBiz if all you get is radio silence.

The way you respond to reviews is representative of your company as a whole. Always stay calm, keep it simple, and treat positive and negative reviewers with the same respect you’d want to receive yourself.