If the Boy Scouts got one thing right, it’s to always be prepared.

Receiving negative reviews for your business can be incredibly disheartening. Like a leaky tent. But as a business owner, you should be prepared to receive bad reviews. It just comes with the territory.

“When you do get a bad review, whether it’s from a customer with a legitimate grumble, or a serial nitpicker, you must be prepared to deal with it,” writes Alison Coleman at Forbes.

Sometimes this means taking a step back and looking at how you can reply in a helpful and professional way. But sometimes reviews are false or unfair, and warrant removal.

To help you tell the difference, these are four of the top reasons why reviews qualify for removal — and how you should reply when they don’t.

#1: You can remove fake reviews

The top reason to ask for a review to be removed is because the person behind it has not actually patronized your business. It’s against the rules of most review sites, plain and simple.

For example, Trustpilot’s user guidelines state that the site can remove reviews if the user fails to prove a “Service Experience” and TripAdvisor says that only customers with firsthand experience may post a review about a particular business.

#2: You can respond to false claims

What if the review is real but the user is making false claims in the text? While it may be more difficult, you can also request these reviews get removed.

The Yelp content guidelines, for example, speak to the mandatory relevance for reviews: “Please make sure your contributions are relevant and appropriate to the forum. For example, reviews aren’t the place for rants about a business’s employment practices, political ideologies, extraordinary circumstances, or other matters that don’t address the core of the consumer experience.”

Even if you can’t remove the review, you should reply publicly and politely to set the record straight.

#3: You can recognize TOS violations

Beyond being fake or falsified, there are a host of Terms of Service conditions that negative reviews often violate.

If a review turns into a personal attack on a specific employee, mentioning them by name and detailing their appearance instead of their service, it could be subject to removal.

See the platform-specific Terms of Service below:

Yelp: Content Guidelines

Google: User Contributed Content Policy Help Center

Facebook: Community Standards

Yellow Pages: User Generated Content Terms

Trip Advisor: Help Center

Trustpilot: User Guidelines

#4: You can report reviews from former employees

Some review platforms (including Google) do not allow reviews from current or former employees. If you see a former employee post a negative review, you can start looking into the proper procedure for reporting the situation.

While the process may feel awkward, effectively managing your business’ reputation is always worth it.

Last But Not Least: Reply to Negative Customer Experiences

Even if you can’t successfully get a negative review removed, you should always take the time and effort to respond to negative reviews.

It shows your audience that you care about customer experience, and it may even change that dissatisfied customer’s mind. The best case scenario is the customer changes their review to a positive one, and the worst case scenario is you show potential customers how you treat current customers.

The customer voice is important, and going through these steps ensures you honor that and prepare for your future.

Featured Image source: https://unsplash.com/@hjkp

A version of this post originally appeared here.

Read more: