How to respond to negative GMB reviews

Writen by

James Catanich


What all small business owners must learn.

In today's competitive market, most businesses acknowledge the importance of reputation management and customer feedback.

  • 92% of consumers admit reading reviews as part of their purchase decision process
  • 85% of shoppers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations.
  • 78% of shoppers trust Google My Business review more than any other review source.

Reviews are about giving customers a chance to provide their opinion of their experience with your business. It's essential to choose and implement the right type of reputation management strategy in order for future consumers to trust your business.

Don't ignore your customers' negative experiences

It's great to get a great review on GMB but what happens when you get a negative review. And how you respond is critical. More important, 40% of shoppers will read that negative review to see how you handled the complaint. Ignoring or handling the response with a negative response will tell the shopper that the negative review was justified and they will move on to another source.

You need to actively participate in the GMB conversation quickly and in an optimistic and forthright manner. You need to address each negative from a humble, learning experience and if possible, strike up a two way conversation with the consumer to resolve ALL their issues.

In short, engaging the negative shopper will also give you a chance to tell your side of the story and hopefully might alter the shopper's opinion.

Keep cool. Keep your ego out of it

Negative customers are a pain in the butt and we all face them. Some negative customers are just attempting to get a discount or return a product that they now don't want. You deal with this on a case by case basis. It's that negative customer who feels you harmed them that you need to worry about and resolve positively.

Remember, people take their time to trust you and your company, and it's never about the product or service you provided them. In such cases, it's important to react with your brain and not with your heart.

Here's a couple ideas to help you deal with a difficult customer.

Give facts in your response. Don't ever respond with a sob story. Make sure you are “trying to fix the problem”. Keep the written response professional and factual.

Don't take it personally if you want to handle the negative crisis. Remember, the customer was upset when they wrote the negative review about the service or product. Not about you specifically.

When writing your response, don't use certain phrases like “I think…”, “I feel…”, etc. Using them makes it conversation about you not the upset customer.

Approach the problem with a positive mindset

No matter how big or small the issue is, “be prepared to take some tough criticism, and learn to approach the feedback with reason. The only way to turn a bad review into a positive one is to roll with the punches.” – Larry Becker, owner of VPNSystems.

The faster you resolve the issue, the higher the chances are that you will gain customer loyalty and take the negativity and change it into a positive.

Be empathetic and tell them you under their frustration and where it comes from. Ask more questions to define the issue in detail.

Once you have defined the problem, then solve it. And then start working on building up the rapport again. “Thank you for pointing out the problem with our product. This will not happen again.”

Then keep in touch with them, and see if things have improved for them.

Industry research shows that if a business resolvers an issue quickly, 95% of negative and unhappy customers will return back to your business.

Apologize and provide a solution

When handling a bad review, treat the negative customer relationship with equal respect. Apologize once, and then provide real time, actionable and easy to resolve solutions. This will make you look better, decisive and caring. These two characteristics that can change the customer perception for the better.

This is our “response” to a negative review.

We are really sorry to hear about that. Our owner, James Catanich, would like to personally speak with you regarding your terrible experience. We believe he will be able to provide you with the best solution to your problem. His contact information is on our web site. We really appreciate you feed. Have a very nice day.

Always incorporate the following you reply:

  • Empathy – Take the time to understand the pain of the customer
  • Helpful – If you can't solve the issue, redirect the issue to someone more senior
  • Valuable – Always highlight the benefits of talking with someone more senior.
  • Positive – Always end the conversation on a happy note.

Most important, never use a boilerplate response. Make each response specifically about the issue at hand. Otherwise, you will come off as insincere and uncaring.

Don't promise what you can't deliver

When discussing the negative issue, be honest. It may sound cliché but it will work. If for any reason you can not meet the customer's expectations, you should give them the real picture. It might not be what the customer wants to hear, but they will eventually respect you for telling the truth.

If you try to cover yourself with a fake promise, you are digging a grave for whatever is left of you reputation. The customer will lose all trust in you and most likely will never do business with you. However, piss them off, they will get their friend involved and they will give you a negative reviews as well.

For every 1 negative review in GMB you will need 10 positive reviews to make up for it. If you get to many negative and unsettled reviews, Google will then take action and remove you from the GMB listing.


Responding to negative reviews can be a real challenge, but it also reveals a lot about how much your company cares about its customers. Whether you're a new business or a brand with a hundred-year-old legacy, being empathetic to a customer's problem needs is at the heart of your reputation management strategy.

Catanich Internet Marketing
5220 Spring Valley Rd #602
Dallas, TX 75254 USA
(214) 762-8208