How to respond to a bad Google review:

One and two star reviews on Google are not fun to deal with at all ☹ Even 3 star reviews can be painful to see, even though the 3 star rating is considered “fair to good.”

What’s the best way how to respond to a bad Google review or a bad review on any other Internet site? It depends on the source of the review. There are three major sources of bad reviews on Google:

1) real reviews from real people

2) fake reviews from competitors, people that are just mad at your business, or

3) people that are mad about their experience but leave it for the wrong business (yes, it happens).

If you feel that your review should be removed, here is a great article from SearchEngineLand that provides great insight and actionable ideas on how to do just that, IF the review violates any of Google’s terms.

For the rest of this post, I am only going to discuss negative Google reviews that are actual reviews from real people that had real experiences with your business. That experience was negative enough in their eyes to spur them to write a poor review. Keep this in mind – their perception is what matters here. It may NOT be what really happened, or at least may be stretched a few degrees or more!

Steps to Take On How To Handle A Bad Google Review:

The first step in responding is to contact that person by phone if at all possible. NOTE: you MUST be on their side when you do. If you are too emotionally involved to do that, then have someone else close to the business that can be really empathetic on the phone do it. Believe me I get it – I have been there! It can be VERY difficult to separate the situation from your emotions!

If you do not have a phone number, then you must have a one-sided conversation for now through email or some other means. Are you collecting phone numbers and email addresses from your customers? If not, this is a VERY good reason to begin doing so now.

During the conversation there are several things you need to do. First and most importantly, tell them you noticed the Google review online and thank them for it. State that you are very appreciative that he or she gave their frank review.

Next, ask what you can do – why was that person dissatisfied with their experience with your company? Listen carefully and take notes. You want to address EVERY single aspect of their issue(s).

Then ask what can you do to fix the issue(s). Again, listen very carefully and address their concerns the best you can. Try offering free product or services. Feel them out – discover what would satisfy them 100%. One of the biggest complaints that people have when they are complaining about something to a business is that they are just paid lip service. In other words, they are offered something not perceived to be of great value to them just to “shut them up.” Doing so does not give them the feeling that the company truly cares about their business!

If offering free product or services doesn’t work, you will need to offer some type of refund. It is typical for some businesses to go back a year in a case like that. But of course the decision is ultimately yours. Just keep in mind the more value you can offer, the more she may be willing to amend that review.

Google Review Response DO’S

DO try to come to the best resolution possible for the customer.

DO whatever it takes in your power to resolve the situation and salvage the customer. If they are asking for something that you feel is unreasonable, see if you can come as close as possible to their request. If they are asking for 2 years of refund for example (which is usually considered to be unreasonable) ask if they would accept one year, for example.

Google Review Response DON’TS

DO NOT bring up that the customer didn’t contact you or what else the customer may not have done that could have made the situation better – that could just make it worse.

DO NOT GO NEGATIVE ON THE CUSTOMER! This includes audibly sighing or giving off any other audibly negative clues. They definitely will NOT change the review and they MAY look for other ways of retaliation! Keep the conversation as positive as possible, even if you have to bite your tongue several times. If you are about to lose it, tell them someone is at the door and ask if you can call them back. Take the time to cool off and figure out a good resolution. Then call back.

How to Handle Asking For The Review Change

Toward the end of the conversation and if you do feel that you have earned their trust back, ask if there is any way that they would consider going back and amending the poor review. You want to do it in a way that you didn’t make the call just so the customer will change the review – you really are concerned that he or she was dissatisfied and that was the reason for the call.

If you are unable to contact the person, or you did contact them and they will not change their review and star rating even after your trying to bend over backwards, you can go and respond to that review. Explain in your response that upon realizing the customer’s dissatisfaction, you immediately contacted that person. You did everything in your power to make it right because you care that your customers are 100% satisfied. Don’t mention that the person didn’t change their review – just that you immediately contacted the person to do your best to make it right. Remember you are not talking to the customer, you are talking to everyone else that reads that review.

Keep in mind you ALWAYS want to respond to every review, good or bad. In the case of bad reviews though, try to contact the person first. You may not have to respond to that bad review online if you do – instead it could very well be a positive one.

Good luck with your negative reviews! I hope this has been helpful and that you discovered how to handle a bad Google review in the best way possible!