What do you do if you have bad reviews on Google? This concern can plague small business owners if they don’t know what steps to take. If your business doesn’t have great reviews, you can respond to customer comments to improve the review, consumer perception and brand image. Not only does responding show that you care about your customers and their experiences with your business, but it can also help improve your business’s rating on Google.
If you’re unsure how to respond to online reviews, don’t worry — we’re here to help you learn how to swiftly and respectfully handle negative Google reviews to keep your brand reputation intact.
How to Respond to Negative Reviews in 5 Easy Steps
As a business, it can be hard to see negative reviews on Google. However, it’s essential to respond to them promptly and professionally.
Not only does it show potential customers that you care about their opinions and are willing to make improvements, but it also gives you a chance to provide context and give your side of the story.
If you’re new to this type of online reputation management, there are five easy steps to respond to negative reviews on Google.
Step 1: Address the Negative Review Quickly
While there’s no golden rule for review response time in the marketing industry, consumers have noted in previous studies that they expect a response within a week. However, in today’s fast-paced world, it’s best to respond to negative reviews within at least 24 to 48 hours if possible.
A prompt response shows customers that you care about satisfaction and are willing to go above and beyond to address any issues. It also allows you to address any misunderstandings or misinformation in the review, showcasing your professionalism and setting the record straight for other customers who may come across the review.
Step 2: Thank the Person for Their Review
While it may be tempting to become defensive or try to explain ourselves, responding with gratitude is always the best approach.
Thank the customer for taking the time to leave their review and acknowledge their frustration. Let them know what steps you will take to remedy the issue and learn from this experience. It’s important to show that their voice has been heard.
A great example of a sincere “thank you” might be:
“Thank you for taking the time to review the newest update of our application. We are disappointed that the load time was too long and frustrating. Development is actively working on a fix to improve your experience. For more help, contact us at email@example.com”
Step 3: Acknowledge the Problem
Acknowledging the issue at hand shows that you are taking accountability for the customer’s dissatisfaction and are willing to make things right. It may also show potential customers that you take responsibility for mistakes and are committed to providing good service.
A great add-on to the above response might be:
“It sounds like we dropped the ball on our end, and we apologize for any inconvenience or frustration this may have caused. If there’s anything we can do to make things right, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.“
Step 4: Offer Solutions
After acknowledging the problem, it’s critical to show the reviewer that you’re taking their experience seriously by actively trying to solve their issue. This can include offering a refund or providing them with a discount for their next visit.
By offering concrete solutions, you demonstrate to the reviewer and potential customers that you strive to live up to your promises. If you say that you genuinely take customer feedback to heart and incorporate it into your growth as a company, then demonstrate that by actually making changes.
Step 5: Take the Conversation Offline
Finally, if you can, offer to take the conversation offline. Doing so allows for a more personal exchange where emotions and misunderstandings can be addressed rather than continuing the argument in a public forum.
A great closing to your response could be:
“I’d love to take the conversation offline and see if we can find a resolution together. Feel free to contact me directly at [email or phone number]. This way, we can resolve the issue as quickly as possible.”
4 Tips for Responding to Negative Reviews
This goes hand-in-hand with acknowledging the customer’s feelings, as mentioned above. It always helps to put yourself in the customer’s shoes to understand their frustration or disappointment to ensure you adequately address the concern.
Make sure to reply with a genuinely human response. If you run a vet’s office, for example, and someone says they had a less-than-spectacular experience with your business, you might respond with something like:
“As dog owners, we understand that our animals are part of the family. We strive to provide high-quality pet care for all of our patients. Please reach out at (111) 222-3333, so we can discuss your concern in depth.”
Ask for a Second Chance
Asking for a second chance takes humility and vulnerability, but it can ultimately lead to better relationships with both current and potential customers.
Let your customers know that, regardless of their concerns, you’d like to open your doors to them to return so that you can provide them with an experience that lives up to your brand mission and values.
Delegate the Task to Someone
Often, businesses don’t respond to negative online reviews simply because there is no set system in place of how to do so or nobody on the team has been assigned that task.
It’s easy for negative reviews and comments to slip through the cracks, but having someone constantly monitoring these can prevent significant damage to your reputation. Having a review response policy in place helps ensure that any negative feedback is addressed adequately within an appropriate time frame.
If you’re struggling to keep up with online review management in-house, drafting a few basic templates for review responses can be helpful.
Having pre-written responses ready allows you to avoid accidentally saying the wrong thing in the heat of the moment.
While it’s essential to customize these templates and respond to each customer with direct, personalized feedback, having review templates can help streamline your responses, making sure key points are always addressed.
Example of Responding to Negative Reviews on Google
A great example of a large company responding swiftly and empathetically to a negative review comes from BrightLocal. This review starts with a customer stating:
“This 1 star rating is more than they deserve. First, the user experience of their website is horrible. Mobile is an absolute no-go. Second, they make you purchase credits for all of their services; however, you also have to pay a base membership fee to utilize those purchased credits. If this is stated anywhere, it’s not plaintext and certainly not in any of their sales copy…”
BrightLocal was swift to respond to the review. You’ll note that the Customer Success Manager introduces herself by name, thanks the reviewer, apologizes for the frustration, and then thoroughly acknowledges his frustration and the issue:
Heather here from the Customer Success team here at BrightLocal.
Thank you for sharing your feedback with us and I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve had a bad experience this time.
Just to reassure you, we don’t require purchases of extra credits for the tools as the subscription plans all include some bundled credits (extra credits are available as adding but these are optional extras). Our Citation Builder service is priced separately and does not require a subscription plan. I’m very sorry for any confusion caused here and we’re going to look into our messaging to ensure that this is clear.
Regarding the Citation Builder campaign, I’m very sorry for any frustration. I have asked our team to submit updates with the correct email address for no extra charge, and I will follow up on our existing email thread with you to explain more about this, so please do look out for my email.
Thank you again for your feedback – we’ll certainly take it on board. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us again if there’s anything further that we can do to help.
Customer Success Manager”
Another excellent example of a high-quality response to a negative Google review comes from DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Los Angeles Downtown. The review states:
“Sofa was dirty looked like it was used by a homeless person with black stains and what looks like urine stains. Asked to switch rooms and that was an ordeal. Was given 2 rooms that did not have the same configuration we reserved. Was eventually upgraded to the presidential suite. Well AC system did not work. Wouldn’t stay here again. At least the manager on site tried to help but the whole ordeal was off-putting.”
The hotel’s staff replied following the layout above. They thanked the woman for her review and then ended the review with a request for a second chance to provide the guest with a more positive experience:
“We appreciate the feedback, Karol.
We’re disappointed that your time with us was less than ideal. Your experience is not on par with the level of service we’re accustomed to providing. We regret that our accommodations didn’t exceed your expectations. We hold ourselves to a higher standard so we’ll address your concerns with the appropriate team members moving forward.
We hope you give us another opportunity to share a more positive experience with you soon.”
Always Respond to Negative Google Reviews
It can be tempting to ignore negative reviews on Google, especially if they seem unfair or untrue. However, responding to these reviews can improve your business’s reputation and credibility.
Your response shows customers that you care about their concerns and are willing to take responsibility for any mistakes. It also allows you to provide context or offer a solution, potentially turning a negative experience into a positive one.
Additionally, potential customers may see your responses and recognize your effort to resolve issues and improve customer satisfaction.
Ultimately, your brand reputation online matters greatly, and taking the time to respond to negative reviews can result in happy customers and attract new ones.
If you’re looking to get the most out of your digital media performance, Symphonic Digital can help. We offer a range of services that can help improve your online presence and help you reach your target audience.
To get started, simply get in touch here. We’ll be happy to discuss your needs and provide a tailored solution.