Dealing With Negative Google Reviews

Have you ever had someone leave a negative review about you or your company? Has that review hurt your rating score on Google or other platforms? If you run a business and have an online presence you will likely have to deal with this at some point if you have not already.

We recently received our very first 1-star review and I have to be honest, it was difficult to see this email come in, and even more difficult to craft a response that would not further hurt our reputation.

I wanted nothing more than to unleash the fury of a hundred armies and channel all of the anger I have felt over the years in seeing online trolls attempt to ruin a business’ hard-earned reputation into a response telling them exactly how I felt. Instead, I had simply let this person know they were wrong in a very respectful way while hopefully letting other people that will inevitably see the review know that we are not what this person, who has never done business with us by the way, portrays us to be.

If you own a company, you know that your livelihood and that of your employees is hinged upon the reputation your company has online and off. If you and your team have worked hard to build a strong reputation it can be difficult to stomach a negative review, especially knowing that negative reviews can hurt negatively impact your bottom line.

Here is the approach I took and hopefully it helps you save face if you ever come across a negative review online.

  1. Pause and breathe – When you first receive the notification of the review, I suggest taking a deep breath, laughing it off, and get back to what you were doing.
  2. Draft the response you really want to leave – Once I reached my boiling point, I drafted the review I actually wanted to leave, which as you could imagine was not pleasant.
  3. Consult with someone not emotionally attached – In my case I consulted with my girlfriend. I read the review the person left, then read her the review I wanted to leave. She effortlessly guided me on what I should leave in, what to take out, and what to add to my response.
  4. Update anything they may have pointed out – In my case their gripe was that we did not answer the phone or get back to them. They, in fact, did not leave a voicemail, but as my girlfriend pointed out, we did not specify on the website that if anyone calls they should leave a voicemail. So I updated the website to make that clear.
  5. Respond to the review – Respond to the review with the “high-road” response that your emotionally removed friend or family member helped you craft.
  6. Go about your day – Once you have posted the response use the experience as fuel to drive you and your team to be the very best you can be to anyone and everyone you work with.
  7. Blog about it – This is a bonus and one I decided to take action on as it is something our clients ask about all the time and quite honestly, I should have written it years ago.

By taking the above approach, I was able to craft what I consider my “Goodwill Hunting response” that (fingers crossed) sets things right with the reviewer and anyone else that sees it.

Hopefully, you never have to deal with a negative review but if you do it is always best to take the high road. Even if you were in the wrong, it is best to own it, no matter what they call you out on, and let them know that you will do everything in your power to earn or earn back their business.

If the review is spam, completely unrelated to your business or downright inappropriate there are actions you can take with Google and you can learn more about that here.

In closing, starting, running, and growing a business is hard work, and it is even more difficult not to let someone ruin your day by bashing your baby. But like anything else in life if you can take the high road, not take it personally, and learn from it you only emerge stronger than you were before they left the review.

“The whole world can gossip about you, and if you don’t take it personally you are immune.”

– Don Miguel Ruiz

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