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How to Respond to a Bad Google Review — with Examples

How to Respond to a Bad Google Review — with Examples

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It is an unfortunate truth that the number-one place people gather information about a business these days is from its Google reviews and rating. 

While this is excellent for your business if you have received many positive reviews, the problem with online ratings is that they can sadly give one disgruntled customer the power to affect your business’s reputation and ultimately its fiscal performance. 

If your business has received a bad Google review, you will want to address it as soon as possible.

The best way to do this is to reply publicly with a well-thought-out response that will be displayed directly below the review. 

If a review is false or defamatory, you can look into how to remove reviews from your Business Profile on Google.  


How to respond to a bad review on Google

  1. Greet the customer politely
  2. Express your regret that they have had a bad experience
  3. Ask them to email you the details privately so that you can investigate the incident
  4. Inform them that your customer service team is here to help
  5. Tell them you care about their negative experience
  6. Express that your company strives to provide an excellent service to every customer or client
  7. Thank them for taking the time to share their feedback 
  8. If appropriate, offer them a discount for a future service
  9. Tell them you hope to see them again soon
  10. Sign off appropriately


Essentially, responding to a negative Google review is just a more concise way of responding to an unhappy customer email.

The basic formula for responding to a bad review of your business set out in the list above covers all the necessary bases.

You are demonstrating compassion that a customer or client had a negative experience, informing them you will investigate the issue, and thanking them for taking the time to share their experience. 

Realistically, you couldn’t be any more gracious if you tried. 

Everybody knows that some people are just looking for a reason to complain.

We’ve all dealt with a person or two who just doesn’t seem to want to find a solution to their problem. 

Most people who read online reviews and comments take what they say with a pinch of salt.

We all know that online reviews are a “What Sue says about Sally says more about Sue than about Sally,” situation. 

If you respond in a polite, clear, and helpful manner, your potential customers will be more likely to assume that the reviewer is the kind of person who is rarely satisfied and who likes to make trouble for others. 

They will respect your mature and respectful approach to responding to a bad review. 

Here is a sample response to a bad Google review. 




This salon was unclean, and the hairdresser was rude. I asked her to cut my bangs, and I swear they aren’t even straight. I wouldn’t recommend going here unless you like dirty floors and sweaty staff.  


Business response: 


Dear Dierdre, 


We’re sorry to hear you had a disappointing experience at our James Street salon. We would like to look into the incident on your behalf to see what went wrong. Please email the details of your experience privately to [email protected]


Our customer service team is here to help you at any time if you have any further questions or grievances. We are passionate about giving each and every customer the best experience possible, so thank you kindly for taking the time to give us feedback to help us improve our service in the future. 


We hope you will visit us again soon and allow us to redeem our good name ☺ 


Kind regards, 

The Henry Salons Team


How to respond to a fake bad review on Google 

If someone posts a fake bad Google review about your business, first try to get the review removed by flagging it for examination by a Google moderator. Then, draft a public response that addresses––and casts doubt on––the points in the review. Do this without publicly calling it fake, and ask the reviewer to send further details about their experience by private email. 


Unfortunately, the internet is a bit of a wild west––it’s a free-for-all, there’s a good amount of dishonesty, and, for your own sanity, you shouldn’t spend too much time trying to make sense of people’s behavior. 

That said, you might still feel baffled and disappointed when someone leaves your business a fake, negative Google review. 

You might get a notification about a negative Google review and know as soon as you read it that it isn’t a real review from an unhappy customer.

This could be either because it has been left a person who you have no record of ever serving, because you know that the person who left it is a disgruntled former employee, or because the experience described doesn’t resemble your business at all. 

Whatever the origin story of a fake review, you can take steps via a Google moderator to have defamatory reviews removed.

Simply hover your mouse over the review in question and click the flag icon. Then follow the steps as they come up.  

Here is a sample response to a fake, negative Google review. 




Reviewer: I had a terrible PT session at this gym. All of the PTs are big Alpha-type meatheads with no brain cells. The PT couldn’t even pronounce the word dumbbell. Don’t go here unless you want your IQ to nosedive. 


Business response: 


Hi Dean, 


We’re disappointed to see such a negative review of our PT services, as we take great pride in the exceptional qualifications and professionalism of our entire training staff. 


Unfortunately, we also don’t seem to have a record of anyone with your name visiting our gym (which has a mandatory sign-in) in the last year. 


Could you please inform us when you attended our gym and let us know which PT you were trained by? These details scan be sent to [email protected]


Thanks for helping us clear up any misunderstandings that might have occurred. 


Kind regards, 


The Stanford Grove Precision Gym


How to respond to a 1-star star review on Google with no comments

Respond to a 1-star, comment-less Google review of your business by drafting a polite, compassionate reply. Greet the reviewer, tell them you are sad to have received such a low rating from them, and ask them to tell you the reason for the poor feedback by email so that you can address it via the appropriate channels.  

There are few things more infuriating as a business owner than a 1-star Google rating with no accompanying comment or review.  

While constructive criticism can be helpful, and receiving a negative review can even be good practice in how to respond to feedback, if you don’t actually get any information about why someone is giving you a bad review, you’re left in the dark about how to improve. 

So, how should you respond? Well, responding to a 1-star, comment-less Google review is a lot like responding to bad news: The first thing you should do is take a deep breath. 

Then, once you are appropriately calm, draft a polite response requesting that further information about the reason for the negative review be sent to you by email.  

Here is how you could go about responding to 1-star Google review that has been posted without an accompanying comment.  






Business response: 


Dear Gina, 


We are disappointed to see that we have rated so low. 


Please provide us with greater detail about the reason for your negative review by email at [email protected] so that we can investigate the incident. 


We’re a family-owned business and providing excellent customer service (and delicious food) is highly important to us at Antony and Stella. We will strive to get to the bottom of your negative experience as a matter of urgency, and hope we can find a way to make it up to you. 


Many thanks in advance and we hope to hear from you soon ☺ 


Kind regards, 


Antony and Stella