How to Respond to a Negative Google Review

Date: April 20, 2022

Oh no, you’ve just received an email notification that there was a Google review left on your Business Profile and it is only 1 star! You think to yourself, what now? At 9Sail, we know responding to a negative review can often be awkward, time consuming and intimidating but we’re here to help breakdown the process of responding to a negative Google review so you can craft a reply with confidence. 

Why Responding to a Negative Google Review is Important 

According to Bright Local, 89% of consumers are highly or fairly likely to use a business that responds to all of its online reviews. With that said, it has become critical for businesses to respond to any type of Google review they receive, whether positive or negative. But why? Well, responding to a negative review can build trust with potential clients or customers, help save relationships, and even improve your overall business by pointing out weaknesses to improve upon. 

How to Craft a Response to a Poor Google Review 

Crafting the perfect response to a negative Google review can often be intimidating for business owners but it does not need to be. Below you’ll find an outline of steps covering how to go about responding to a negative Google review. 

Assess the Review Internally 

Once you receive the dreaded notification that you’ve gotten a negative review on Google, you’ll want to assess and review the complaint internally, which can be done in a two-step process.

First, you’ll want to check that the person leaving the review was, in fact, a client or customer of yours. For example, if you’re a part of an elder law firm, you’ll want to check your CRM system to see if the reviewer was actually retained by one of your attorneys. If so, you can speak directly with the retained attorney or employee involved to get the details on why the review may have been left. If not, you’ll want to report the review right away.

Second, you’ll want to work internally with a group of people within your law firm or business who can help brainstorm responses to the review. During this stage of the process, it is important to include a small group of 3 to 5 people that can work together to craft a professional response to the review together. 

Thank the Person for Their Review 

When responding to any review, even a negative one, you’ll want to thank the person for their review. Also, when crafting your reply, you should always try to place the thank you towards the beginning of your response. 

For example, you could start off the response by saying: “Thank you [Insert Name], for bringing this issue to our attention,” or “Thank you [Insert Name] for taking the time to write this review.” This is an important step when crafting your reply to the negative review because it shows the reviewer you appreciate their feedback and value the time they took to write the review. 

Apologize and Empathize With the Reviewer 

When it comes to negative reviews, most of the time, the reviewer just wants an apology and their concerns to be heard. This is why it is important to make sure you include some type of apology after thanking the person for the review. 

For example, using the elder law firm example again, you can include something like this: “We apologize for this inconvenience or we are sorry you had this experience working with our elder law firm.” 

Side Note: Keep in mind that your reply should be personalized for each review. While you may come up with a template of how to respond, you’ll want to tailor each response depending on what the reviewer wrote. This type of personalization can be done in a variety of ways. For instance, be sure to include the person’s name as well as details of the problem that they have brought up. 

Offer Solutions  

After you apologize and empathize with the distraught reviewer, you’ll want to try and offer them solutions to their problem. This is where you can get creative with your response and come up with viable solutions that will make the client or customer much happier than they were before. By offering viable solutions, potential clients or customers can see that you and your firm or business work with unhappy clients to make things right, therefore, increasing overall trust with both current and future clients or customers. 

Take the Conversation Offline  

Finally, when crafting your reply to the negative review, it’s important that you try to move the conversation offline and deal with the matter in private. When crafting your reply to the review you’ll want to encourage the reviewer to reach out to your firm or business either by phone or email. This shows the reviewer and potential clients or customers that you care about issues that are brought to your attention and deal with them. 

For example, you can say something like this: “Once again, we’re sorry to hear about your experience, please contact us at: [insert phone number or email address], we’d love to try to work something out with you.”  

Top 3 Tips For Responding to a Negative Google Review

Now that you know how to craft the perfect response to a negative review, below you’ll find some additional tips to consider when writing out your reply. 

1. Reply ASAP

According to a study by Reviewtrackers, 53% of customers expect businesses to respond to negative reviews within a week and 1 in 3 people have a shorter time frame of 3 days or less. With that said, it’s extremely important to work on crafting a reply to the negative review as soon as possible. The quicker the response, the better because this will help build trust with clients and customers. 

2. Don’t Let Your Emotions Get the Best of You 

When receiving a negative review emotions can run high, especially if the reviewer was not even a client or customer of your business. When you start to craft your response, you’ll want to leave negative emotions out of the equation and really focus on providing a valuable response that is professional. 

3. Include Relevant Keywords 

Replying to reviews, both positive and negative, is a great way to help tell Google what keywords you want to be ranked for. In the long run, including relevant keywords in your replies to reviews will help with your overall rankings in both the local map pack and search results.

For example, keywords such as New Jersey estate planning attorney or NJ elder law firm would be viable keywords to include in an elder law firm’s reply to a review. 

Need Guidance on Responding to a Negative Review? 

If you’ve made it this far, you now know the value and importance of responding to a negative Google review. The 9Sail team is here to support you along the way, whether that is through helping craft a response to your poor Google review, helping create and execute an SEO strategy, or managing your pay-per-click ads. Feel free to contact us to see how we can help you today!