Negative Review Response Plan: How to Respond to Google Reviews

How to Respond to Google Reviews - A Negative Review Response Plan

Have you ever seen a negative Google review of your business? If so, you’re not alone. A study by BrightLocal found that 89 percent of small businesses have been reviewed online, and that 71 percent of those are negative reviews. While it can be tempting to ignore these negative reviews and go without a negative review response plan, doing so could be a big mistake for your online reputation. In this post, we’ll explain why you should respond to negative reviews – and how to go about it.



Why should you respond to negative reviews?

When a customer takes the time to write negative reviews about your business online, whether it’s positive or negative feedback, it’s important to respond to these negative Google reviews. Not only does it show that you’re listening and care about your customers’ feedback, but it also gives you the opportunity to send a message to potential customers. By responding to negative reviews, you can not only exercise good reputation management practices, but you can also learn from your mistakes and improve your business practices.


Beyond trying to resolve this particular customers’ issue, it’s important to remember that you’re also speaking to every other individual online that might be about to do business with you! According to a study by BrightLocal, 88 percent of consumers read online reviews before making a purchase, and this is highly visible in local search results or on Google maps.


How to respond to Google reviews – even if they’re negative reviews

1. Respond to negative reviews in a timely manner – When responding to a negative review, it is important to remain professional and courteous. This will show the reviewer that you care about their feedback and are willing to work on resolving any issues they may have had.


2. Acknowledge the reviewer’s concerns in the negative review, and offer a way to connect offline – Note: This doesn’t mean to agree with their concerns. Simply acknowledge that you’ve heard what they’re saying, and offer to connect offline to resolve so that the entire dialogue is not in public.


3. Thank the reviewer for their feedback – even if it is a negative review – there’s no need to be defensive, or to attack the reviewer. Remember, this response is just as much for your prospective customers as it is for the reviewer.


4. Learn from the experience and improve your business practices – the best way to prevent ongoing damage to your online reputation is to prevent future negative reviews from appearing on your Google Business Profile.


How to Respond to Google Reviews - A Negative Review Response Plan

What if the online reviews are not from a real customer?

When you suspect that a negative review is not from a real customer, your first step should be to try and identify the reviewer. Look for clues such as incorrect information or suspicious-sounding language. If you’re able to identify the reviewer, reach out to them and ask for more information. If they’re unwilling or unable to provide more information, you may want to consider reporting the review to Google.


You may not be able to have the negative review removed, in which case the solution is a rather simple one. Just follow steps 1-3 above, and perhaps add one simple sentence to step 2 – “I apologize, but I cannot locate any customer records that match your name.”


Just remember, a solid mix of both positive and negative reviews within your Google customer reviews is more realistic than a page filled with only positive reviews.



When it comes to negative reviews, small businesses can often feel at a disadvantage. After all, when you’re running a small business, every review – good or bad – can make a big impact. However, just because you’re a small business doesn’t mean you shouldn’t respond to negative reviews online. In fact, responding to negative reviews is one of the best things you can do for your business.


When you respond to negative reviews, you show potential customers that you care about your customers and their feedback. You also have the opportunity to address any issues that were brought up in the review. By doing so, not only will you salvage your reputation, but you’ll also learn from your mistakes and improve your business practices.


Remember, 88 percent of consumers read online reviews before making a purchase. So even if the reviewer isn’t a real customer, replying to them could still help prevent future negative reviews.


About OneLocal

OneLocal helps local businesses simplify their digital marketing needs. Our powerful platform consists of:

  • LocalReviews, our powerful online review platform that helps to generate more positive reviews, and provides guidance on how to respond to google reviews, published to Google maps, Facebook or many other prominent sites. Specially designed to share your positive feedback;
  • LocalMessages helping you maximize the engagement of every visitor to your website;
  • LocalContacts to keep track of your best leads and communicate offers by text;
  • LocalReferrals to help you build a complete referral program to reach other customers by rewarding a happy customer for their referral;
  • LocalResponse – never miss another phone call to your business with conditional call routing for after hours, or busy overflow to provide the best experience for your best leads;
  • Google Business Profile optimization – make sure your business account shows up on Google maps with the optimal information to showcase your positive feedback and customer’s experience;
  • LocalSite – showcase your business online with a search engine optimized responsive website local businesses need to stand out online;
  • LocalContent – you know fresh, relevant, consistent content is key to make sure you dominate in your market. Published to your social media, your site, and your Google Business Profile account, even if it’s just to highlight a positive review, our content is optimized for maximum discoverability online;
  • And more!


Contact us today, we’d love to show you how we can help your business!

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