How to respond to negative Google reviews: Examples
In today's digital age, online reviews have become a core part of any business' reputation management.
One of the most impactful review sites is Google My Business. It allows customers to leave reviews about their experience with a business, and these reviews can greatly impact how other consumers perceive that business.
Unfortunately, not all reviews are positive and businesses need to know how to respond to and handle negative reviews when they do arise. In this article, we explain how to respond to negative Google reviews, including examples from brands that have done it well.
How to reply to a Google review
If you’re new to Google My Business, you’ll need to take ownership of your Google Business profile. You can find our full guide on how to do this here. If you already own your Google Business page then responding to a review is relatively simple:
- Log in to your Google Business Dashboard.
- Click on the location (if you have multiple locations).
- Click on the menu and select “Reviews.”
- Next to the review, click “Reply.”
- Write your response in the text field.
- Click “Post reply.”
- Open the Google Business app (App Store).
- Tap “Customers.”
- Tap “Reviews.”
- Tap the review to which you’d like to respond.
- Write your response in the text field.
- Tap “Send.”
On Google Maps
- Go to Google Maps (https://www.google.com/maps).
- Search for your business.
- Click on your business’s Maps listing.
- Click on “Reviews.”
- Find the review you’d like to reply to and click “Reply” next to the review.
- Write your response and click “Post reply”
How to reply to a negative review
Getting negative Google reviews is normal but your response can make or break the business. If you’re too sassy in your response, people might think you’ve got an attitude problem. If you’re too apologetic, people may think they can walk all over you, while no response at all looks like you don’t care when someone has a bad experience.
When you receive a negative review, follow these 7 steps:
- Be objective
- Use your brand voice
- Acknowledge customers’ concerns
- Communicate a resolution
- Follow-up privately
- Prioritise Google reviews
Below, we explore how to follow each of these steps in more detail, before sharing examples from the real world to inspire you.
1. Be objective
It’s easy to become defensive or upset when reading a negative review but remember that the customer's experience is valid. Responding in a calm and professional manner will show that the business cares about the customer's experience and is willing to take responsibility for any mistakes. What’s more, this is an opportunity to tap into customer feedback straight from the source.
2. Use your brand voice
The next step is to use your brand voice. This means using the same language and tone that you typically apply to your marketing, communications, and customer service. This will help to maintain consistency and will show that the business is taking the review seriously.
3. Acknowledge the customers’ concerns
Next, and possibly one of the most critical steps is to acknowledge the customer's concerns. This means listening to what the customer has said and showing that their experience is being taken seriously. Be specific about the problems they raised, leaving no doubt that you understood them.
Even if you believe that the negativity is unjustified, you should always apologise for any inconvenience or dissatisfaction that the customer may have experienced. This shows a sense of humanity to the customer and shows other consumers that you are willing to take responsibility for your mistakes.
5. Communicate how you will address the problem
The final step is to take responsibility for the situation and say what you’re doing to remedy it. This means outlining the next steps that the business will take to ensure the problem does not happen again. This could include updating the business policies or providing additional training for staff.
6. Follow up privately
You should always follow up with unhappy customers to ensure that their concerns have been addressed. This extra step is just between you and the customer, simply to show that you care and that you are willing to take proactive steps. In most cases, the customer will be grateful for your professionalism and support and may even remove their negative review.
7. Prioritise Google Reviews
Now that you know how to respond to Google Reviews, you need to make a point of responding to every review your business receives. This means setting up alerts for every submission and assigning someone on your team to manage the responses. Ideally, your responses should be sent within 24 hours.
Real responses to negative reviews (examples)
It can help to take inspiration from real-life responses when addressing a bad review so we’ve collected a few examples to show you how it’s done.
I have two good friends who built with [redacted], who regret ever having engaged [redacted] to build their home. They have been waiting for a number of years (well over 5 years) for [redacted] to fix the faults in their home. Despite all the promises by [redacted] to rectify the faults, they are still waiting. Seeing the faults first hand & the way my friends have been treated by [redacted], I would definitely NOT recommend to anyone to build with [redacted].
We always appreciate constructive feedback on our processes and strive to improve where we can. Over the past decade (and certainly in the 5 years since your friends had their houses built) we have implemented a number of best-practice production techniques, on-site inspections, and improvements. The team work closely with homeowners to ensure their satisfaction with their new homes and will remedy any issues as quickly as possible.
If your friends are not in contact with the team about their experience then we would encourage them to reach out to us directly.
Avoid this company! They are the most unhelpful, unorganised property management company we've ever dealt with.
We are sorry that you feel this way, as we certainly strive hard to provide our clients with excellent service, which is well supported by feedback and many of our other clients. We are of course more than happy to discuss your concerns further, and invite you to contact us directly if you wish to.
I am not in the business of leaving reviews and have never felt the need to leave a negative review before in my life. However, the condescending, downright rude customer service I received here this morning has prompted me to do this. In addition, the salesperson didn’t even know what roaming plans were available through [redacted] and accused me of falling for a scam (which I found on their official website) He pushed many buttons on my phone with no success and talked a whole lot of rubbish before dismissing me. Went to [redacted] in Takanini where someone knew which plan I was talking about and had my enquiry sorted out in about five minutes. Don’t waste your time here and go somewhere else.
Hi Rachel, we're incredibly sorry to hear about your recent experience at our [redacted] retail store. Could you please send us an email at [redacted] along with your feedback so we can arrange for this to be further investigated?
Improve your Google Reviews with a customer feedback strategy
Engaging with reviews from customers is a key aspect of any business strategy. By responding to all customer reviews, you can demonstrate that you care about your customers’ input and are committed to improving your services.
At Review Tui, we recommend taking this a step further and implementing a customer feedback strategy. This allows you to understand customer expectations and proactively identify and resolve problems before they get posted online. This leads to higher customer satisfaction and ultimately, better business outcomes.
With a well-executed customer feedback strategy, you can:
- Improve your products or services.
- Build strong relationships with your customers.
- Identify customer pain points.
- Identify product development opportunities.
- Improve your marketing campaigns.
For more advice on how to develop an effective customer feedback strategy, download our helpful guide. You’ll find all the advice you need to implement tools and metrics that better connect you with your customers.