What to do about a bad Google review

It's every business owners nightmare. You have put blood sweat and tears into building a reputable business. Then one day, your hard earned reputation is ruined by one disgruntled customer. Thankfully, there are ways to minimise the damage, depending on the type of review.

Flag the review

Google has its own policies for users that leave reviews. Although, Google is not very good at automatically removing those that are spam and violate their policies. The good news is that if the bad review directly breaks the guidelines, you can get them removed by flagging the review. You can do this by hovering over it and clicking the little flag icon that will appear. You will be taken to the Report a policy violation page. Enter your email and select the type of policy this review has violated. Google will then asses your request. This process can take several days before coming to a conclusion.

If you can, have several people flag the review in question. There is power in numbers and it’s possible it may help increase awareness and ideally action. Unfortunately, this may not work for those review that don't say anything at all. Google will normally tell you that it doesn't violate the guidelines because there is no text.


Unfortunately, you can't ignore a bad review. As much as you would like to tell them how it is, you need to remember that how you respond is a reflection of the company. Responding in a professional manner is much more valuable than getting the last word in. You are not just responding to the review, but also talking to all future clients. They would read your response and see that you are willing to address people that have a negative experience and are not neglectful to feedback.

You can potentially have the review updated by the client themselves just by addressing the situation, and asking them to update the review. Many people won't do this on their own accord so you will have to ask them directly. Reviewers can update and adjust their reviews at any time.

Google has some tips on how to respond, find them here. Keep your response brief, and try and not be defensive. For example;
“Hi, *insert reviewer’s name,*
I’m sorry to hear about your bad experience. We’re normally known for our exceptional attention to detail, and we regret that we missed the mark. My name is [name] and I am the [Owner / Manager]. If you’d like to discuss this further, please contact me at [phone number / email].”

Drown it with positive reviews

If you are still unable to have the review removed, the next best thing to do is to drown it out with positive reviews. Having a solid review history is a great way to combat a fake review. Build your positive reviews by encouraging your happy and longterm clients to leave a Google review. This will ensure that your future clients won't be influenced by that 1 negative review.

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