5 Tips for Responding (or Not) to “Fake” Reviews

Reviews come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes they are used to get back at a business for bad service but they can be used as well to settle a personal or political score in a public forum.

In this review and review response, it really isn’t totally clear who is telling the truth.

jared – Mar 8, 2011

TO ALL MY VALUED PATIENTS, FRIENDS AND FAMILY : This is Dr. Jared Anderson, and I am writing to address the appearance of several scathing reviews written about me by my ex-girlfriend, Christalyn Delzell, who apparently is not able to move on after the ending of our relationship over a year and a half ago. In the reviews, you will undoubtedly see one written by ‘Christlyn’, dated Nov. 14 in Google, and another nearly identical one written in Dexmedia, dated Oct. 17. When this was originally written, Google was not listing the identity of the authors for reviews, so I was left to assume it was her. Recently, Google has made the (wise) move of listing the first name of the authors of reviews, and I see it is indeed my ex-girlfriend, Christalyn Delzell who wrote this one. She also wrote a review of almost identical content and wording in eSouthernoregon….and any other site she could find. I assume the other scathing review written by ‘Martha’ (dated Dec. 30) is either a friend or a family member of Christalyn’s, because I have only one patient in my patient base by the first name Martha, and this person has never received the treatment described, and has certainly not been “kicked out” of my office. At any rate, ‘her’ full identity is being investigated presently. I have a sincere and thorough respect for all the patients I treat in my office, as do my staff, and we take tremendous pride in delivering the best dentistry available in a professional and caring manner. I would like to sincerely thank my patients for voting me “Ashland’s Favorite Dentist” again in 2011in the Sneak Preview magazine. This is the second time in 3 years that I have received this honor, and I feel this is a reflection of what one can expect when you come for treatment in my office. I hope that Christalyn Delzell can find peace and happiness in her world soon, and heal from whatever it is inside her that makes her feel that trying to damage my business is the right thing to do. In the meantime, I will continue to love the work that I do, and show up every day giving my patients the very best care possible in a SAFE, CARING AND COMPASSIONATE environment. Sincerley, Jared R. Anderson, DDS

Christalyn – Nov 14, 2010

Completely Unprofessional I had heard some good things about Dr. Anderson and decided to switch dentists. Biggest mistake I could have ever made. Not only did I have to wait 30 mins past my scheduled appointment, he walked past me in the lobby laughing with his front desk girls as if I wasn’t even there. His hygenist was mediocre at best. She smelled heavily of perfume and scratched my gums and just giggled about it. When Dr. Anderson finally graced me with his presents, I felt completely violated! He touched my shoulder enough times to make me feel uncomfortable. His line of questions about my personal life and what I like to do for fun was borderline indecent. All in all, if you want to be hit on and visually molested by your dentist, then this is the denist for you. Anyone else should walk way as fast as you can! Just a plain horrible experience.

Regardless by not measuring his response, the business owner has managed to make matters worse. He has provided what my kids refer to a TMI (too much information). What should he have done?

He did not really respond to criticisms in the negative review and has also managed, in one fell swoop, to bring increased attention to the negative review and to call his own feelings and past personal behaviors into question. Despite his desire to go mano a mano, he has lost the first several rounds of this battle.

The owner response has left the reader with a serious doubt as to who is less credible, the reviewer or the business owner. And we now know much more about his personal life than any of us really wants.

But let’s give the dentist the benefit of the doubt and assume that it is in fact a fake review and that he was acting out of frustration. I would suggest the following:

1- Read the review response guidelines as to how to respond to a review

2- If you can’t follow them, for whatever reason, DON’T RESPOND

3- Sometimes there is no adequate response to a review. You really can’t own a problem detailed in a “fake” review any more than you can talk reason to a crazy person.

4- Sometimes, the best defense is a good offense. Do your job, encourage loyal customers to leave good reviews and move on

5- I suppose if all else fails and your business is taking a serious financial hit, consider moving the conversation with the poster to a court of law rather than raising the issue in Google Places or in the Google forums. At least there the rules are clear. Your lawyer can do the talking on your behalf and perhaps build a cohesive and logical case for why the poster should be compelled to remove the review.

Related posts:

  1. Responding to Negative Reviews – Your Prospects are the Real Audience
  2. Responding to Negative Reviews – Your Prospects are the Real Audience
  3. Fake Reviews Starting to Get Mainstream Media Attention

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