The most common question we get asked is this one: how can I deal with negative Google reviews? Trying to answer this question literally keeps businesses up at night.
In this post we’ll try to address it head-on, how can you deal with negative Google reviews? What should you do when you get one? And how can you avoid them in the future?
Before we dive into the meat of the post, we wanted to address this question directly: will Google take them down? The answer is simple: generally not.
Google will usually only remove reviews if they are clearly spam, clearly from a competitor, or cross the line in some way…things like obscenities, racist language etc. etc. For instance, Google WILL NOT take down a review that calls you and your business dishonest and awful. But they will take down reviews that threaten to burn your business down.
That’s the distinction.
And yet many businesses report a review to Google, and even expect Google to take down a bad review when the review calls them dumb, dishonest or incompetent. Simply put: Google will not take those reviews down. They just won’t.
1) Get To the Bottom of the Review – The first thing you MUST do when you get a negative Google review is to figure out why you got it. Go talk to the person or department who left you the negative review and figure out what went wrong. Was your service bad? Did you communicate poorly? Was the price higher or more confusing than they expected?
Look inward at yourself, your team, and your business to determine if there was anything you could have done better.
You have to figure out what went wrong and figure out why the person was SO mad that they left a review, if you’re going to solve the problem.
2) Don’t Overreact – One review isn’t going to sink your business. Don’t overreact. Don’t fire the employee who made the mistake or go on social media and stalk the person who left you the review. Don’t. Overreact.
3) DON’T Get in a Public Argument – The natural reaction for anyone when they get a negative Google review is to go on Google and reply to the review. Reply to it and give the reviewer a piece of your mind. Put them in their place. Tell them why they are wrong, why THEY are the problem, and why your business is amazing.
Resist the urge to do this.
Because it won’t do any good.
No one’s mind will be changed. The reviewer isn’t going to read your reply and suddenly say ‘Oh wow, you know what… that business is right. I’m wrong. I’m going to remove my bad review.’
That’s not going to happen.
All you do when you leave a cranky reply is make the situation worse. The LAST thing you want to do when you get a negative Google review is post a reply. That’s the very last thing you should do.
4) Leave a Reply That is Respectful – You don’t need to apologize per se (unless you should), but you do need to be empathetic. Your entire goal with your reply should be to impress the THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE who are going to read that review and your reply in the next 2 months. They’re your audience.
Here’s an example of what your reply could look like:
“My name’s McKay. I’m the owner/partner/GM (whatever your title is). I understand that your frustrated and I understand why you’re frustrated. I’d love a chance to make this right. Text us at our main business number and I’ll reply personally. I want to make this right.”
Remember this: the best way to deal with negative reviews is to go get more positive ones. Even if you follow everything on this PERFECTLY, it doesn’t really matter unless you’re getting positive reviews at-scale. We wrote recently on how to DOUBLE your Google reviews. I’d recommend reading that post as well.