How to Delete a Google Review and Protect Your Business’s Reputation

How to Delete a Bad Google Review

Most service businesses fall victim to a bad Google Review at one point or another. And whether they’re fake or a legitimate complaint, they can really sting. After all, you put a lot of time and effort into providing top-notch services to your clients, from beginning to end of a job.

A fake or negative Google Review can even affect whether a potential customer decides to work with you or not.

How you respond to them has a direct impact on your reputation and professionalism as a business owner. That’s why it’s important to get ahead of the review with a tactful response.

Find out how to flag and respond to negative reviews in this simple Google review guide.

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How to delete a bad Google Review

Google Reviews are meant to be unbiased, honest reviews to help your potential customers make smart buying decisions. But, not everyone uses them appropriately or honestly. Unfortunately, getting a review removed isn’t as simple as clicking a button and making it disappear.

You have two options when it comes to managing inaccurate or fraudulent Google Reviews:

  • You can report them to Google
  • You can ask the reviewer to update or remove their review

Which option you choose depends on the type of review you received.

If the review goes against Google’s review policy, it should be flagged. This includes reviews that are considered:

  • Spam or are made up of fake content
  • Off-topic or unrelated to your business
  • Inappropriate or that contain offensive language or explicit content
  • Dangerous, such as threats of violence or harassment
  • A conflict of interest, like reviews from former employees or competitors

Since Google will review any post flagged for violating its policy, it can take anywhere from 24 hours to three weeks to get one removed.

If the review doesn’t go against Google’s review policy, you need to figure out if it was left by a real person who used your services. To do this, follow these steps:

1. Check out their review profile to see if it looks legitimate
Do they have a profile photo? Is their full name listed?

2. Confirm whether they’re in your client database
Does your name look familiar or can you find it in your CRM?

3. Make sure the review is for your company and not mistakenly for another
Do they mention your services or location? Is the review completely off-topic and/or nonsense?

4. Talk to your employees to ensure someone remembers the client or incident
Do you have the call or email history for this individual? Can any of your employees remember the incident?

If the negative review was left by a real client and it doesn’t violate Google’s review policy, your only option is to respond to it.

READ MORE: How to delete negative reviews from your Facebook business page

How to flag (or dispute) an inappropriate or fake review of your business

You should flag and report any Google Review that violates Google’s review policy. You can do this on desktop, through Google Maps, or on mobile.

Flagging negative Google Reviews on desktop

To flag a Google Review on desktop follow these steps:

    1. Log in to your Google My Business account
    2. Navigate to the Reviews tab and find the review you would like to report
    3. Click the three vertical dots next to the review to display a menu

How to flag a review on Google My Business

    1. Select “Flag as inappropriate”

How to flag a Google review as inappropriate from Google My Business

  1. Choose which type of violation the review falls under

Flagging bad Google Reviews in Google Maps

To flag a Google Review in Google Maps, follow these steps:

  1. Open Google Maps
  2. Go to your Google My Business profile
  3. Find the review you want to flag
  4. Click the three vertical dots next to the review to display a menu
  5. Select “Flag as inappropriate”

Example of how to flag negative Google review in Maps

Flagging a Google Review on Mobile

To flag a Google Review on your mobile device, follow these steps:

  1. On your Android or Apple device, open the Google Maps app
  2. Open your Google My Business profile by tapping your profile picture in the top right
  3. Tap Reviews
  4. Scroll until you find the review you want to flag
  5. Tap the three dots next to the review and select “Report review”

If you don’t have Google Maps on your phone or tablet, you can follow these steps instead:

  1. Open Google
  2. Log in to your Google My Business profile
  3. Tap Reviews
  4. Find the review you want to flag
  5. Tap the menu icon (three dots) next to the review and select “Report review”

READ MORE: Google’s Local Services Ads – Your top 12 questions answered

How to delete a Google review by asking the reviewer to update it

If a bad review doesn’t go against Google’s review policy, your next best option is to respond to it. Your goal is to have the client either edit their review or remove it altogether, which means you need to be polite, professional, and positive.

Here are the steps to get started with:

1. Review the complaint and talk to any of your employees who were involved. Get a clear picture of what the concern or complaint is about and determine who (if anyone) is in the wrong.

If you aren’t sure what the customer is unhappy about, you can always ask for more information.

2. Figure out how the issue can be resolved. For example, are you willing to offer a discount on their next service or work with them on rescheduling a canceled appointment?

3. Before you send a response, create a draft. Remember that how you handle the situation is an important part of your customer service and that it will be visible to everyone. Be polite and keep your cool, even if the customer is at fault.

In instances where the client refuses to edit or remove a review, how you handle it can go a long way in boosting your online reputation. Those who find your reviews in search results will respect you more for providing high-quality customer service in spite of negative reviews. Craft your responses carefully and with prospective clients in mind.

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How to delete a Google review you wrote

If you want to delete a review that you wrote or provide instructions to a customer, follow these steps:

  1. Log into Google Maps.
  2. Select the menu icon (three dots)
  3. Go to Your Contributions and click Reviews
  4. Find the review in question and click the three vertical dots next to it
  5. Edit or delete the review and click Submit

Image of the Your Contributions tab in a Google review account

Examples of how to respond to a bad Google review:

1. When a bad online review doesn’t provide a lot of details

Bad reviews can be vague. Use that to your advantage and respond in a way that shows the reviewer and prospective customers you’re open to listening and repairing the situation.

Hi [customer name], we’re so sorry to hear that you were unhappy with our service. We take customer satisfaction very seriously and want to know what we can do to improve your experience. Please feel free to reach out to our office at [phone number] or [email address] so we can provide some options to you!

2. When you’ve resolved the issue already

Use this response once you are able to successfully connect with a customer to discuss their issue and negative review of your business.

Hi [customer name], we recently reached out to resolve this issue and [what you did to resolve the issue]. If you’re happy with the results, would you be willing to update your review? As a local business, your support means a lot to us. Thanks in advance!

READ MORE: What is Google Adwords?

3. When the review isn’t accurate

When the review is inaccurate, you may need to politely and professionally explain your side of the story instead.

For example, if a client left a bad review saying that they hired you to clean their house but didn’t deep clean the oven, your response might be more like:

Hi [customer name], we’re so sorry to hear you were unhappy with our service. We take customer satisfaction very seriously and strive to provide a positive customer experience.

Our records indicate that you booked us for a general house cleaning on [date], which includes sweeping, dusting, mopping, and vacuuming. Unfortunately, kitchen appliance cleaning, such as oven cleaning comes at an additional cost due to the extra time and supplies it takes.

Since you didn’t book an oven cleaning as part of our visit on [date], you weren’t charged for it.

We’d be more than happy to offer you a discount on your next house cleaning to make up for the confusion. Please feel free to reach out to us at [phone number] or [email address] to discuss this in more detail!

4. When the review is an error

Sometimes, a review was left in error. When you believe a bad review was a mistake, you can respond with something like:

Hi [customer name]. We can’t seem to find any details about [you, this issue, this job] in our files. If this review was in error, would you be willing to remove it? If you meant to leave it, would you be willing to provide more details so that we can work to improve your experience? Thanks in advance!

READ MORE: How to tactfully respond to negative online reviews

Alternatives to deleting a Google Review

If a Google Review can’t be deleted and a customer refuses to update it, you aren’t completely out of luck. There are still a few ways you can combat negative feedback by:

  • Asking happy customers to leave positive reviews
  • Responding quickly, with a polite and professional response
  • Making sure your services, policies, and pricing information are clear and upfront
  • Handling potential customer issues before they turn into a bad review
  • Getting feedback from customers and staff members on a regular basis

And don’t forget to respond to any positive feedback you receive as well. Showing your appreciation and gratitude for happy clients is part of great customer service.

Positive Google Review with response from business

Example of a positive review response from MIL-SPEC Landscaping, Clarksville, Tennessee

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This post was originally published in October 2019. It was last updated on October 2021.

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