Not all competition needs to be classified as bad, a little friendly competition in your market ensures you’re on your toes, your marketing is on point, and your customer is getting the best possible service, product, or experience possible each time they interact with your business.
Unfortunately, when other businesses in your market feel threatened, it’s not unheard of for competitors to get eccentric, act petty, turn underhanded, and react badly. Instead of looking for ways to improve their own products, services, and marketing campaigns, or ways to bring their own business up, they strive to top the competition by bringing others down.
While review sites are trying to crack down on fake reviews, they have yet to eliminate them entirely–and that makes those sites an easy place for competitors to vent anonymously (and misleadingly) about your business.
Is this a reminder that we should all be keeping that age old saying “keep your friends close and your enemies closer” close to heart?
Perhaps that’s a little dramatic, but frankly: yes.
Fake reviews can dramatically affect your business and if it’s possible to try and cut underhanded competitors off at the pass (or mitigate any more damage than what’s already been done), then perhaps it’s a good idea to consider paying just a little more attention to your competition.
Here’s how you can handle and prevent competitors’ fake reviews so that you can make sure you have the online reputation you deserve and that your reviews are representative of your business.
Keep The Competition Friendly
Don’t just keep the competition friendly, do your best, when possible, to keep all your interactions with your competitors friendly, too. While it’s not exactly easy, or even an option, to sit down and have tea and biscuits with the businesses in the same market, it’s essential that you don’t go burning bridges, either. Don’t be afraid to reach out and compliment them, especially if you offer slightly different services or a few differing products. Getting on their good side is always a positive thing and their blogs could offer great guest blogging opportunities for your business, and more.
Respond, Even if the Review and Reviewer are Fake
Making certain that you take the time to respond to any negative reviews is key, even when they’re fake. In fact, especially when they’re fake. A response from a real representative of your company should stand out in comparison with a fake review from a competitor. At the very least, it will show you are genuine, concerned about your customers, and looking to continually improve their interactions with your business. If you know for a fact they aren’t a real customer (if you have a detailed log of all your customers for example), it’s not necessarily a good idea to call their review fake. However, it may be acceptable to address the fact that you have no recollection of that encounter, transaction or incident. Invite them to contact you regarding the issue they seem to have had, so that you can do your best to get the facts, address the problem, sort out any misunderstanding, etc.
Get More Reviews From REAL Customers
Increasing the number of positive, authentic reviews you have is the best thing you can do in response to one, or more, fabricated negative reviews. Work to get as many reviews from your actual customers as you can. Encourage your real, satisfied customers to leave feedback, so that when customers search for you on Google, look you up on Yelp, or skim through the reviews on any other review site, they’ll see a balance of opinions and enough realistic feedback that it will be easy for them to spot any fake reviews for themselves.