April 19, 2024

Negative Google Review Responses Examples

Negative reviews strongly impact consumers — but so do businesses' responses. With a thoughtful and well-executed review response strategy, your business can minimize the damage from bad reviews on Google, along with Yelp, Facebook, Tripadvisor, Apple Maps, and other influential review sites.

Damage control is one of many benefits of a robust review reply strategy, too. By responding to negative online reviews in a way that's helpful and courteous, you can also reduce customer churn, appeal to potential customers, and promote your brand's best qualities.

This guide for business owners covers how to deal with negative customer feedback on Google and other review sites. It includes:

  • Tips and best practices for responding to unhappy customers
  • Negative review response examples from real businesses on Google
  • Easy-to-customize negative review response templates
  • How to have a bad review removed from Google
  • How automation simplifies review and reputation management
  • FAQs about how to respond to negative reviews

How to respond to negative reviews on Google: 19 tips and templates

A careless, hostile, or unprofessional response can hurt your online reputation even more than the original review.

On the other hand, you can protect your image by following some best practices when you respond to negative reviews.

Read on for eight simple but effective review response tips, followed by 11 negative review response templates. 

8 tips for responding to negative reviews on Google (including examples)

Here are eight tips and best practices for replying to an unhappy customer on Google:

  1. Respond promptly to negative online reviews
  2. Express gratitude for the feedback
  3. Apologize for the reviewer's negative experience
  4. Personalize every negative review response
  5. Highlight your brand's positive qualities, like your commitment to great service
  6. Provide a resolution to the reviewer's issue
  7. Encourage the customer to contact your organization directly
  8. Always maintain your professionalism in every review response 

1. Respond to bad reviews in a timely manner

Speed is crucial when it comes to responding to negative reviews. Addressing complaints in a timely manner shows that you respect your customers' time, value your customers' feedback, and are eager to help resolve their problems quickly.  

So just how fast should businesses be responding? 

Best practice is to reply to negative reviews within 24 hours — and the sooner you can respond, the better.

According to new data from Brightlocal, which recently released its 2024 Local Consumer Review Survey, here's how quickly consumers expect businesses to respond to negative reviews:

  • The same day as posting the review — 11% of consumers
  • The day after posting the review — 14%
  • Within two or three days — 34%
  • Within one week — 22%
  • Within two weeks — 6%
  • Within one month — 3%

Only 4% of consumers were indifferent to the response speed, and only 7% said they "would not expect a response" from the business owner. 

2. Show gratitude for customer feedback

It's always difficult to receive a poor review from a customer, especially after your team has put in exceptional time and effort to deliver a great experience.

However, while it might be hard to feel grateful for a bad rating or review, you still need to thank the reviewer for sharing their insights with you. Thanking your reviewers, instead of reacting with a defensive or negative response, shows that you welcome and appreciate your customers' honest opinions.

Here are a few examples of ways to thank your customers for negative reviews on Google or other platforms:

"We appreciate your honest feedback about your negative experience."

"Your valuable customer feedback helps us grow and improve our [ type of service ]."

"Thank you for taking the time to provide us with constructive feedback, [ Customer Name ]." 

3. Apologize to the unhappy customer

Even if you believe the negative review is unjustified, it's important to apologize for the customer's negative experience. While you don't need to accept responsibility for things you didn't do or say, you should still take accountability for the customer's feelings.

Your apology doesn't need to be long or elaborate, but it does need to sound sincere and convey a sense of empathy with the reviewer.

Here are a few examples of ways to apologize to a dissatisfied customer: 

"We're deeply sorry to hear about your negative experience, [ Customer Name ]."

"[ Customer Name ], we're so sorry to hear that you were disappointed by our [ type of product or service ]."

"We sincerely apologize for your negative experience and deeply regret missing the mark on this occasion, [ Customer Name ]." 

"Our team is sorry to learn about your disappointing [ meal, tour, visit, check-out experience, etc. ], [ Customer Name ], and we truly apologize for any inconvenience caused." 

4. Personalize all responses to negative reviews

As Grow with Google points out, “Responding to reviews — positive and negative alike — shows you’re an engaged business owner who cares not only about your business, but about your customers, too.” 

One of the best ways to show that you care is by personalizing each response to the customer. For example, you can personalize the templates in this guide by inserting details specific to the original review. 

While this strategy requires more effort than using generic, copied-and-pasted messages, it pays off when you see the results. For example, according to McKinsey & Company, businesses that personalize their content can increase revenue by up to 40% — and according to Adobe, close to 90% of marketers report a positive ROI from personalized campaigns.  

Put simply, personalization is effective. 

Here are four examples of ways you can personalize your replies to reviews: 

  1. Address the reviewer by name (if provided), instead of using generic placeholders like "Valued Customer" or "Dear Customer"
  2. Include the name of your company and/or the geographic region you serve
  3. Reference at least one detail from the review, like saying, “Our team is very sorry to learn that you didn’t enjoy your meal with us,” or, “We’re grateful for your feedback about our indoor swimming pool"
  4. Mix up the word choice in each of your responses, like saying "excellent" vs. "outstanding" or "honest review" vs. "candid feedback," as a way of introducing more variety 

  

5. Emphasize your organization's mission or positive qualities

A negative review provides a golden opportunity to highlight your brand's positive values. For example, you can call out your organization's commitment to customer satisfaction, excellent service, exceptional patient care, or any other messaging you want to emphasize to readers.

Here are a few examples of ways to incorporate your brand's mission statement, or other positive qualities, into your response: 

"We strive to provide total customer satisfaction, and your feedback is invaluable in helping us identify areas for improvement."

"At [ Business Name ], we always strive to deliver a 5-star experience for our [ customers, patients, residents, community members, etc. ]."

"Our highest priority is providing our customers with [ caring, exceptional, phenomenal, stellar, etc. ] service and support." 

6. Offer a solution to the customer's issue

Show the reviewer that you're committed to resolving their issue or complaint by offering a practical solution.

Offering a solution — not just an apology — demonstrates your dedication to providing excellent customer service. Not only does this improve retention of existing customers, it also helps reassure potential customers who might be considering your brand.

Whether it's offering the reviewer a refund, an opportunity to reschedule, or simply an assurance that your team is investigating the problem, try to highlight specific actions your business is taking to provide a better customer experience. 

Here are some examples:

"We apologize for the inconvenience you experienced during your visit. Since then, we have implemented new training programs to ensure our staff members always provide exceptional customer service."

"We want to assure you that we have reviewed your concerns with our team and have implemented measures to prevent similar issues in the future."

"We take your feedback seriously and have taken immediate steps to address this situation. We would like to offer you a refund and invite you to reach out to our customer service team at [ contact information ] so we can resolve any further concerns you may have."

7. Take the conversation offline

It's important to respond to online reviews publicly, especially after receiving negative feedback. The benefits of publicly responding to negative reviews are that:

  • It shows your commitment to transparency
  • It gives you an opportunity to promote your business
  • It can boost your local SEO (search engine optimization) 

However, while it's beneficial to acknowledge reviewers publicly, your ultimate goal should be moving the conversation offline. 

In a private conversation, you can go into detail discussing what went wrong — without damaging your brand's reputation or exposing the customer's information.

Explain how the customer can contact your business, like providing the phone number or email address for your corporate headquarters, patient scheduling department, or customer service team. Review response templates let you automatically include contact information in every reply, streamlining the task of writing and editing. 

Here are a few examples of ways to move a Google conversation offline:

"Please contact us directly by calling [ phone number and/or email address ] at your earliest convenience."

"Please reach out to us directly at [ phone number and/or email address ], and one of our customer service representatives will be happy to assist you with this issue."

"We encourage you to contact our [ type of team/department ] at [ phone number and/or email address ] so that we can better assist you and make sure we get this resolved promptly." 

8. Always respond in a professional manner

It's natural to feel upset when reading negative online reviews, but you should never try to argue with the reviewer, which can make your business look defensive and hostile toward customers. It's crucial to remain calm and maintain a courteous, friendly tone throughout your response.

Here are some other tips to ensure that your responses to negative reviews sound polished and professional:

  • Maintain consistent brand messaging across every response
  • Use proper grammar and capitalization
  • Depending on your industry, be mindful of regulations like HIPAA and avoid referencing any details that could threaten the reviewer's privacy

11 negative review response examples and templates

Below, you'll find eight negative review response examples showing how businesses in all types of industries implement the tips and best practices we've been discussing throughout this guide.

Each example includes a customizable review reply template, which you can modify to suit your needs.

If you're struggling with writer's block — or, you simply want to increase your response speed — these 11 templates have you covered. 

Negative review response template #1 

Negative review response template #1
Negative review response template #1.1

Response template: "Hi [ Customer Name ], thank you for sharing your review of [ Business Name ] with us. We sincerely regret your negative experience and are sorry for any [ distress, disappointment, frustration, etc. ] caused by [ your meal, the delay, this miscommunication, etc. ]. Please know that our team is committed to providing the highest quality [ product or service ], and we will review your feedback internally to ensure that this doesn't occur again in the future. We hope you'll give us another opportunity to provide you with a 5 star experience, and invite you to contact us at [ phone number or email address ] if there's anything else we can assist you with." 

Negative review response template #2

Negative review response template #2
Negative review response template #2.1

Response template: "Thank you for taking the time to share your [ review, experience, comments, feedback, etc. ] with us, [ Customer Name ]. We're sorry to hear that your [ type of product or service ] did not meet our usual high standards and that [ describe additional issue here, if applicable ]. While we deeply regret your negative experience, we appreciate your candid online review, which helps us improve our offerings and provide the highest quality service possible. Please don't hesitate to contact us directly at [ phone number or email address ] if there's anything our team can help you with, [ Customer Name ], and we hope to earn a second chance to serve you better in the future." 

Negative review response template #3 

Negative review response template #3
Negative review response template #3.1

Response template: “Hi [ Customer Name ], thank you for bringing these concerns to our attention. We [ sincerely, genuinely, truly, etc. ] apologize that your [ describe issue from negative review ]. Please be assured that we will be discussing your feedback internally and are already working to find a solution to this issue. Again, we sincerely apologize, and we encourage you to contact us directly at [ phone number or email address ] if there's anything else that our team can help resolve for you. Thanks again for reviewing [ Business Name ].” 

Negative review response template #4 

Negative review response template #4
Negative review response template #4.1

Response template: “[ Customer Name ], we thank you for your feedback and want to sincerely apologize for your recent experience at our [ type of business ]. At [ Business Name ], we strive to deliver exceptional service to our valued customers, and we deeply regret falling short of our high standards in your case. Your feedback helps us improve our service, and we would be grateful for an opportunity to discuss your experience in more detail. We encourage you to contact us at [ phone number or email address ] at your earliest convenience so that we can discuss this matter with you further. Thanks again for leaving us a comment.” 

Negative review response template #5 

Negative review response template #5
Negative review response template #5.1

Response template: “Hi [ Customer Name ], thank you for taking the time to share your comments with our team. We're truly sorry to hear about your [ dining, tour, shopping, check-in, etc. ] experience and understand your concerns about pricing. At [ Business Name ], we aim to provide a [ unique, stellar, exceptional, etc. ] experience that uses only the highest quality [ craftsmanship, ingredients, etc. ]. We're continuously working to deliver the best possible customer experience, and we hope that you'll give us another opportunity to impress you in the future.” 

Negative review response template #6

Negative review response template #6
Negative review response template #6.1

Response template: "Hi [ Customer Name ], thank you for leaving a review. We're so sorry to hear about your experience [ touring our community, having your heater installed, dining with us, etc. ]. We appreciate your feedback, which helps us give our customers a better future experience. Please contact us directly at [ phone number or email address ] so that we can discuss this matter further. Thanks again for letting us know about your [ meal, visit, tour, etc. ], and we look forward to making this right with you." 

Negative review response template #7

Negative review response template #7
Negative review response template #7.1

Response template: “[ Customer Name ], thank you for leaving a review of our business. At [ Business Name ], our goal is always to provide excellent customer service and fair, competitive pricing that delivers maximum value. We're sorry to hear that your experience fell short, and we would appreciate an opportunity to discuss this in more detail with you. Our [ job title ], [ Employee Name ], will be reaching out to you soon. Please look out for [ Employee Name's ] call, and in the meantime, please don't hesitate to contact us at [ phone number or email address ] if you have any other questions or feedback. Thanks again for your review, [ Customer Name ], and we look forward to speaking with you soon.” 

Negative review response template #8

Negative review response template #8
Negative review response template #8.1

Response template: "[ Customer Name ], we thank you for your review and sincerely apologize for any distress or inconvenience you've experienced. It's always our goal to provide the highest standard of service and professionalism, and we genuinely regret that your [ tour, visit, meal, stay, etc. ] did not meet your expectations. We're committed to making sure that our customers feel heard and valued, and would appreciate the opportunity to discuss this situation in more detail with you. Please contact us at your earliest convenience by calling [ phone number ] or messaging [ email address ], and a member of our team will be glad to assist you. Thanks again for taking the time to share your comments with us!" 

Negative review response template #9

Negative review response template #9
Negative review response template #9.1

Response template: "[ Customer Name ], thank you for taking the time to leave us a review. Your feedback is invaluable for helping us improve as a business. We're sorry to hear about [ briefly describe the negative experience ] and sincerely regret any inconvenience caused by this experience with us. At [ Business Name ], our goal is always to provide transparent pricing, friendly service, and an enjoyable visit for every customer. We would appreciate the opportunity to discuss your concerns directly and make sure your experience aligns with our high standards. Please contact us at your earliest convenience by calling [ phone number ] or messaging [ email address ]. Thank you!" 

Negative review response template #10

Negative review response template #10
Negative review response template #10.1

Response template: "Hi [ Customer Name ], thank you for leaving a comment about [ Business Name ]. Unfortunately, we are unable to locate your account in our system. We encourage you to reach out to us directly at [ phone number or email address ] so that we can ensure you receive assistance from a member of our team. Thanks again for leaving a review, and we hope to hear more from you soon." 

Negative review response template #11

Negative review response template #11
Negative review response template #12

Response template: "Hello [ Customer Name ], thank you for sharing your experience with our team. We appreciate your feedback and sincerely regret to hear about your dissatisfaction with our [ type of product or service ]. As a [ type of business ] that upholds transparency and honesty as core company values, it's disheartening to learn that your experience [ visiting, dining with, shopping with, etc. ] us did not reflect that. We invite you to reach out to us directly at [ phone number or email address ] to discuss your concerns further and explore how we can work to regain your confidence. We look forward to hearing more from you soon!" 

While you can't always control negative reviews, you can limit how much damage they cause. By responding to bad reviews swiftly, courteously, and transparently, you can minimize customer churn and build credibility with potential customers. 

Can you delete negative Google reviews?

Many business owners wonder if they can delete low star ratings or negative reviews from their Google pages.

Unfortunately, the answer is no: regardless of whether it's positive, neutral, or negative, Google does not allow businesses to delete or remove customer feedback.

However, the platform does allow businesses to flag or report reviews that violate Google's rules. 

Can you delete negative Google reviews?

This covers, but is not limited to, the following categories:

  1. Inappropriate Content — If a customer complaint contains profanity or offensive language, makes a threat or personal attack, or contains hate speech or discriminatory language, you can flag it for removal. Google will assess the review and take appropriate action if it violates their guidelines.
  2. Spam and Off-Topic Content — Google instructs reviewers that they should "only post content that is based on your experience or questions about experiences at a specific location," and prohibits "off-topic" content along with "gibberish and repetitive content." 
  3. Fake Negative Reviews — If you suspect a negative review is fake or generated by a competitor, you can report it to Google. Provide any evidence or details that will help support your claim.

For the complete list of prohibited content that qualifies for removal, refer to Google's community guidelines

Why should you respond to every negative Google review?

As a business owner, it may be tempting to ignore or disregard negative reviews on Google. However, responding to every negative review is essential for several reasons.

First, responding to negative reviews allows you to protect your reputation and take control of the narrative by portraying your business in a positive light. 

According to Grow with Google, “Businesses that respond to reviews are seen as 1.7 times more trustworthy than businesses who don't (76% vs. 46%). Not only does responding to reviews support trust-building, it also allows you to humanize your business, show customers you care, and demonstignoring or disregardinges act like a counterbalanc may be temptinge against negative reviews, showing that your team is helpful, trustworthy, and reliable even when problems arise.

Next, there can be SEO benefits when you respond to your reviews, which means your online visibility will increase and you'll be more likely to reach new customers. For example, Google Support tells businesses to “manage and respond to reviews” as a way of improving their local ranking. 

Responding to feedback can also help you get more reviews. According to Semrush, “Replying to local reviews boosts [review] submissions [by] 12%.” 

Finally, this might be the most compelling reason of all: consumers are simply more likely to use businesses when they respond to every review, rather than picking and choosing.

According to Brightlocal's 2024 survey data, 88% of consumers are likely to use a business that responds to all reviews, 58% of consumers are likely to use a business that only responds to negative reviews, and 54% of consumers are likely to use a business that only responds to positive reviews. By responding to all of your online reviews — the positive, the negative, and the neutral — you can boost the statistical likelihood that a shopper will choose your brand.

Learn more about why responding to reviews is important for businesses. 

Why should you read every negative online review?

Negative reviews often highlight areas where your business can improve. By carefully analyzing customer sentiments and feedback, you can make targeted changes to improve future customers’ experience and prevent similar issues from recurring.

How to easily manage all your Google reviews

Templates, like the ones in this guide, make writing responses to customer reviews faster and easier.

But what if there was a more comprehensive solution that simplified not only writing responses but also publishing them?

And what if that same solution could provide your business with data insights, manage your Google Q&A's, and alert you to new reviews on 50+ leading platforms?

Meet ResponseScribe, the all-in-one review response solution for your business.

ResponseScribe is a done-for-you review reply service that offers a turnkey, start-to-finish solution perfect for busy teams. From monitoring your review sites to writing and publishing on-brand responses, we handle every detail for you, offering a fully automated and totally stress-free approach to review management.

While some platforms only offer AI-generated responses, ResponseScribe gives you the flexibility to choose an AI-powered or human-written content strategy — and the freedom to switch plans at any time.

Take a hands-off approach, or be closely involved in the writing and editing process: the choice is yours. With optional text/email notifications, the ability to request unlimited response revisions, and 24/7 direct chat with your own dedicated responder, you can feel confident in the quality of every response.

We respond to reviews for brands of all sizes, from small local businesses to nationwide franchises and multi-location businesses. Whether you need to manage 10 listings or 100, our service scales easily to handle any volume of reviews — always within 24 hours. Industries we serve include home service, restaurant, automotive, real estate, senior care, and more.

Learn more about how ResponseScribe works, explore our no-contract pricing plans, or view testimonials from some of our 10,000+ satisfied customers. 

We respond to negative reviews for small, midsize, and large businesses 

Move the needle on your business with an AI-powered or human-written review response strategy perfectly catered to your industry and clients. Our team has over 10 years of experience helping businesses like Burger King, Chick-Fil-A, Denny's, AAA, and Kia manage over 2 million reviews, ensuring your brand's online reputation is in good hands.

It's fast and easy to set up ResponseScribe from your smartphone, tablet, or computer. Get started with a free trial today to find out if ResponseScribe is a good fit for your review management needs. 

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