Publish Date:
October 6, 2023

How to Respond to a 1-star Review without Comments (Plus 5 Examples)

Learn tips and strategies for dealing with negative online reviews of your business, including a step-by-step guide on how to respond to unhappy customers.

How to Respond to a 1-star Review without Comments (Plus 5 Examples)

While negative online reviews can sting, it’s still important for your business to respond to them. In fact, responding to bad reviews is one of the best ways for businesses to control online reputation damage, improve their customer relationships, and encourage more people to trust their brand.

The challenge for business owners is determining how to respond to these bad online reviews — especially in cases where the reviewers don’t leave any comments.  

A 1-star Google review without any text can leave business owners feeling baffled, frustrated, and unsure of how to proceed. That uncertainty can lead to inaction and cause the business to miss opportunities to engage with an unhappy customer in a productive fashion.

If you’ve found yourself in this situation, don’t panic: this guide will teach you how to deal with blank 1-star ratings, including examples of real responses from businesses, plus a simple step-by-step breakdown explaining how to reply successfully. By applying these review response techniques and strategies, businesses can turn a one star review into a positive marketing opportunity.

How to respond to a 1-star review without comments in 4 steps

Responding to customer feedback is essential — especially if you’re in home services, healthcare, or the automotive industry, where reviews have an outsized impact on consumer perceptions of brand trustworthiness.

Not only do consumers prefer to deal with businesses that respond to their reviews, responding also supports the growth of your brand in other ways. For example, replying to customer reviews can help your website rank higher in local searches.

Responding to reviews also encourages more of your customers to remain loyal to your brand by forging stronger, more personal relationships with them. In fact, statistics show that brands which fail to respond to online reviews experience up to 15% increased rates of customer churn.

Believe it or not, even a customer who initially leaves a 1-star review might remain loyal to your brand — if you can provide them with an exceptional resolution. However, that’s only possible if you communicate and acknowledge their issue. Your response is the perfect opportunity to get the conversation started by inviting the reviewer to get in touch with you for support.

By improving your Google ranking, reducing customer churn, and increasing your credibility, responding to reviews can help you simultaneously boost your brand’s growth and its reputation. The question is, how are you supposed to respond to a review that doesn’t contain any text?

When you're responding to a 1-star rating with no comment, your goal is to gain information. You need to determine what went wrong so that you can provide a solution and — hopefully — avoid losing a valuable customer. In a best-case scenario, the reviewer might even take down or update their rating.

Here are four tips and strategies to help guide you as you create your responses. By implementing these strategies, you’ll be able to write effective replies that get positive conversations rolling.

Stay calm and professional

As a business owner, you constantly strive to provide an outstanding product or service and get positive reviews. Unfortunately, despite your best efforts, you’ll still encounter dissatisfied customers — and, statistically speaking, some of them are bound to leave your business bad reviews and negative feedback.

It’s always a frustrating experience to receive a negative review or rating —especially when you don’t even know the reviewer’s justification. Nonetheless, it's essential to maintain your professionalism and avoid arguing with the reviewer or bringing other negative emotions into your response.

Apologize for not meeting expectations

An apology isn’t the same as an admission of poor service. Even if you don’t think your business deserves a 1-star rating, it’s still vital to apologize for the reviewer's negative experience.

The apology doesn’t need to be long, but even a few simple words can help to defuse the reviewer’s emotions. Here are a few examples of how you could phrase your apology:  

●  “Our team is sorry to learn that you had a negative experience.”

●  “We’re sorry to see that your experience at [Business Name] wasn’t what you were hoping for.”

●  “We sincerely apologize and are eager to help make things right with you!”

Encourage the reviewer to provide more details

In a situation where the reviewer hasn’t left any comment to go with their rating, this is arguably the most important part of your negative review response.

In addition to apologizing to the reviewer, you need to encourage them to get in touch with your customer support team (or the appropriate department or individual). That way, you can have a conversation offline to identify and resolve whatever went wrong. You might even discover that the 1-star rating was an accident, like the result of clicking a “Submit Your Rating” button at the wrong time.

Provide contact information to assist the reviewer

The main goal of your response is to persuade the reviewer to contact your business so that you can continue, and resolve, the conversation offline. Therefore, the focus of your response should be encouraging the reviewer to get in touch with the appropriate staff members.

However, you need to go a step beyond simply encouraging the reviewer to reach out. You should also be sure to include actual contact information, like a phone number or email address where you can be reached.

How to respond to a 1-star review without comments: 5 examples you can use

In the previous section, we covered best practices for responding to 1-star reviews without comments, like maintaining professionalism and apologizing to the reviewer. Next, let’s go over a few examples of how these tips and strategies are actually put into practice.

Here are five ways real businesses from three different industries responded to 1-star ratings google reviews without any reviewer comments, including a local HVAC company, an automotive dealership, and a popular fast food franchise.

As you look through the screenshots below, here are some points to keep in mind that will help your business write equally successful responses:  

  1. Always respond as promptly as possible on review sites.
  2. Always address the reviewer by name, unless they rated your business anonymously.
  3. Always apologize for the reviewer’s experience.
  4. Always encourage the reviewer to provide you with more details so that you can better assist them.
  5. Consider providing specific contact information, like a phone number, email address, and/or the name of a manager or supervisor.
  6. Avoid repetition and introduce variety into your replies by mixing up the structure and vocabulary in each response. 


a 1star review without a comment in the restaurant industry
an example of a response to a 1star review for the restaurant industry


Tip ☝️ Notice how the timestamps on the reviews and owner responses match. When you receive a rating or review, you should always aim to respond within 24 hours or less — especially when the review is negative and every moment counts. When you use ResponseScribe to manage your negative reviews, you can feel assured that all of your reviewers will receive rapid support, helping you boost customer satisfaction.

Home services

example of a 1star review for the home service industry
an example of a response for a bad review for the home service industry

Tip ☝️ Notice how this business manages to maintain a positive, friendly, and upbeat tone while still acknowledging and expressing regret for the customer’s negative experience. This not only encourages the reviewer to reach out for a conversation, it also helps reassure readers that your company’s customer support team is empathetic and courteous.



an example of a response to a 1star review in the automotive industry

Tip ☝️ This response is a great example of how perhaps counterintuitively, you can use a negative rating as an opportunity to highlight your brand’s positive attributes. Without denying the reviewer’s negative experience, the business still manages to emphasize its commitment to superior service, skillfully blending elements of an apology with elements of an advertisement.

How to respond to a 1-star review without comments using ResponseScribe   

Responding to bad reviews and ratings can be a stressful, time-consuming process. Eliminate the friction and enhance your efficiency by leveraging ResponseScribe as your full-service review response solution.

Designed specifically for small businesses and multi-location brands, ResponseScribe is an easy-to-use platform that pairs your business with a dedicated review responder, or Response Scribe. Our Scribes are passionate, experienced writers who supply personalized responses to every negative review you receive — always in 24 hours or less.  

Your team has the option to review every response before it gets published, giving you full control over your content — without the hassle of having to write it. And with more than 50 platforms supported, including Yelp and Google, all of your reviews and replies can be easily managed from one secure hub.

how to respond to a 1-star review with responsescribe

So how does it work? Here’s what happens when your business receives a negative review:

●      Your dedicated responder goes into action creating a custom reply.

●      You have the option to review some, none, or all of your responder’s replies — before anything ever gets published.

●      Potentially harmful or sensitive reviews will be flagged and escalated to your PR team.

●      False or misleading reviews will be flagged for removal.

By ensuring that every review receives a response within 24 hours, ResponseScribe empowers your business to provide faster, better customer service. With expertly trained responders, flexible pricing options, options for text and email alerts, and streamlined, intuitive platform, ResponseScribe is packed with the features you need — and none of the fees or surprises you don’t.

responsescribe's pricing plan

Ready to start leveling up your response game? Start your free trial with ResponseScribe.

Manage negative reviews and boost customer retention with ResponseScribe

From hotels, car washes, and senior living communities, to restaurant chains, car dealerships, and luxury apartment complexes, ResponseScribe helps your business save time and money while boosting customer loyalty. It’s fast and easy to setup and use, integrates with 50+ platforms, and comes with 24-hour support for total peace of mind.

Discover why so many leading brands rely on ResponseScribe to manage reviews on any review site, including Jersey Mike’s Subs, Sizzler, Soapy Joe’s, V Digital Services, Wyndham Garden Hotels, Broadway Restaurant Group, CallSource, and thousands of other companies. To join us, start your free trial.

how to get started with responsescribe


How do you respond to a blank 1-star review?

No matter what type of business you operate, you can follow the same basic procedure to address a 1-star review with no comment. You should always greet the reviewer using their name, thank them for the rating they’ve provided, apologize for their experience, and encourage them to contact you. Avoid the temptation to copy and paste the same response over and over. Instead, you should mix up the order of your sentences, the types of phrases you use, and even your punctuation to make sure that each reply is unique.

How do you respond to a negative review with no comments?

When responding to a negative review lacking comments, it's crucial to initiate a dialogue with the reviewer to understand the issue. Start by addressing them by name if possible, express gratitude for their rating, apologize for their experience, and encourage them to reach out to your team for further assistance. Providing accurate contact information is essential to facilitate their communication with your business for resolution and support.

How do you respond to a vague review?

If you receive a vague review, you can treat it the same way you would treat a one-star rating with no comment. For example, you could address the reviewer by name, apologize for their disappointing experience, urge them to follow up for assistance and provide a phone number or email address.

How do you respond to a one-star?

The answer depends on other details of the review. For example, you should use the reviewer’s name (or username) where provided — but if the reviewer is anonymous, you should simply omit a name rather than using a placeholder term like “Customer” or “Reviewer.” As a general rule, you should always thank the reviewer, offer a sincere but concise apology, and invite them to contact you so that your business can work to provide them with a better experience that’s reflective of your brand.

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