Whether you are a consumer or business owner, at some point in your life you’ve encountered bad google reviews. It might have been while researching a place to eat, or on your own business.

If you’ve been in business long enough, there is no avoiding it: you are going to get a negative review. Our business has gotten several negative reviews, some of them for things we’ve done wrong, and other times from people we’ve never heard of for something completely made up!

Bad Google Reviews generally fall into 3 categories:

  • an actual negative review, for something you’ve done wrong
  • a negative review blown way out of proportion
  • a fake review from a competitor or some angry person

Step 1: Hold Up a Second

No matter how angry you are, no matter how wrong the review is, no matter how petty it might be you must resist the urge to react. A close friend of mine told me that every year you get older, you gain 1 more second of non-reaction time.

A negative review could turn into something worse, like more negative reviews on more platforms if you respond with anger or snark.

Step 2: Evaluate With a Colleague

Take a deep moral inventory and put yourself in your customers shoes. Did you actually do something wrong? Is there a rom for improvement?

Next, categorize your review into 1 of 2 categories: a real review, or fake review.

There also might be a review from someone who is not a customer but who had a negative interaction with a marketing

Respond With Action

I’m not a big fan of canned responses such as “we are very sorry about your experience, xyz.” Those type of responses can even make things worst, as they tend to come across as insincere.

Try something more along the lines of:

“We are sorry about your experience, we’ve spoken with the technician that you worked with and have taken corrective measures to ensure this type of thing doesn’t happen again.”

It is good business policy to reflect on any negative encounter. A few months ago we finished a website, our client loved it. During the migration period the client wanted to use an older host that didn’t really support the CMS we were using, and there was a period of down time. The client was angry, even though we mentioned several times this could have happened. The next week, we made a new policy that we would send all clients a “migration policy” that explains our procedures. Even though the client didn’t leave a bad review, we still wanted to use this as an opportunity to improve.

Report Review Only if Fake

If it is a fake review, report it. Google does a decent job of getting rid of fake reviews, Yelp not so much.

Resist temptation to have your friends also report the review, this could come across as spammy.