Here’s the truth.

The chances of encountering negative reviews as a service business are high.

Sometimes you do everything in your power to control the customer’s experience—and still wind up with a negative review.

But, there’s a way to turn that negative into some positives. One of the many positives of a negative Google review is the impact on your Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

More reviews, good and bad, mean you climb the search ladder.

First, let’s define what is considered to be a negative review:

  • The review represents the customer’s maybe mediocre or poor experience with your services, and
  • The review is either a “good negative review” or a “bad negative review”

In a nutshell, that’s what you consider to be a negative review.

For example, bad negative Google reviews are categorized as those that harass you or your staff, misinform potential customers, or are completely irrelevant to your business.

Things, such as spam, fake reviews, solicitations, and oh so much more.

You can submit a removal request for the extremely egregious reviews that break Google’s rules.

Good negative Google reviews, on the other hand, are the ones that express an unpleasant experience with your service—while also making suggestions for improvements.

How do you take those bad reviews and turn them into good reviews?

Consider the following nine tips to address any negative reviews:

How to deal with negative Google reviews

1. Stay calm


That’s four seconds in. Hold for four seconds. Exhale for another four. And repeat.

Feeling better now? Good.

Negative reviews are going to trigger an emotional response. 

And, that’s okay.

As a business owner, you need to stay unbiased to opinions that come your way. You’re consciously putting yourself out there for scrutiny after all.


...take the negative in stride and turn it into a positive. The first step is to respond to a negative review in a calm and professional way.

Remember that these are online reviews—you can internalize them at your own pace...

...just breathe.

2. Read and understand the review

Once you’re calm you should probably read the review.

And, read it closely.

The last thing you want to do is misunderstand a review and turn nothing into something by accident. 

Read the review attentively and...

...remember to breathe.

You want to try to understand exactly why the customer is unhappy. Put yourself in their shoes and imagine their situation as they describe it. How would you feel if you were them?

Once you clearly understand what they are providing feedback about then you can move into your response.

Ultimately, if you need clarification from the client or customer, respond to the review by requesting they reach out to you directly, and provide your contact information.

3. Respond publicly

Remember, other potential customers will see your responses on Google’s review platform. And that’s a good thing.

It’s important to be public with the feedback you receive and the way you respond. This shows that you’re engaged with your customers.

It makes you authentic.

And, it encourages people to look into your business despite negative feedback from customers.

Always keep in mind the way you respond, and always make sure that it is the correct response.

4. Apologize and show empathy

Even if you don't agree with the review….

…you should always show empathy and normally apologize for any inconvenience the customer may have experienced.

We all know that there are certain individuals out looking to cause chaos. But generally, most people are reasonable.

Engaging with them via an empathetic apology shows you respect their feelings and perspective.

And, sometimes that’s all it takes.

Remember, a little kindness goes a long way in a review response.

5. Offer a solution

When the opportunity is there, provide a solution to the problem.

Refunds are one of the easiest solutions to many complaints. Although it sucks to return the money, you should get good karma out of it.

When you offer a solution, you also offer a pledge to make adjustments or improvements to your service.

Doing this shows that you’re a proactive and committed business owner.

And, as a business owner, you know that customer satisfaction is extremely important to a successful business.

6. Ask for a second chance

Here’s the flip side of the coin...

...when you offer a solution or a promise of improvement, you can counter with a second chance.

By showing your willingness to solve the problem, you incentivize the customer to return.

And, everybody deserves a second chance. Just make sure you actually make those changes happen.

7. Flag inappropriate reviews

As mentioned before, sometimes you’ll get reviews that are completely out of left field.

Even if the customer had a poor experience, a negative review that promotes violence, or is harassment towards your business, is an inappropriate review.

If that’s the case, it violates Google’s review policies and can be flagged for removal.

Unhappy customers are one thing, belligerent customers are something entirely different.

Be sure to familiarize yourself with Google's policies before doing this.

8. Encourage positive reviews

Asking satisfied customers to leave positive reviews is a great way to counteract the negative ones.

You should personally inquire about the customer’s level of satisfaction.

It’s a great way to engage your customers, and it encourages them to continue being happy customers.

For small businesses, it’s easy for the business owner to interact with customers.


...even if you’re a big business, make sure your employees follow in your footsteps of engaging with happy customers.

Thankfully, we’ve made getting Google reviews even easier with our simple tap–to–review product, Taptik. 

If you’d like to learn more about how Taptik can help you capture more Google reviews, head over to our blog on the subject. 

9. Learn from the feedback

This is the bingo...

...always learn from the feedback.

And use the feedback provided in negative reviews to improve your business.

All reviews provide valuable insight into areas of improvement. But, negative reviews really shine a light on what isn’t working.

Never discount any of the feedback you receive.

Remember that you are the one with the final say.

And, while you might not implement every suggestion that comes from a customer…

…you can acknowledge and learn from it all the same.

Turning negatives into positives

Addressing your customer reviews is a form of reputation management.

Your engagement with both positive and negative reviews that come your way is important to the success of your brand.

Google handles most of the internet’s search volume through Google search.

If your business profile is active and you’ve been responding to negative reviews in a poor way, it will impact potential customers’ perceptions of your business.

Staying calm, understanding your customer’s complaint and responding empathetically by offering an apology, and asking for a second chance, will lead to more positive reviews.

Because you will deeply understand how to make your business better.

And customers will feel heard.

And they will want to come back and potentially become advocates for your business.

So remember, it’s always important to follow up and show that you care.

Get Google reviews with Taptik

Make getting Google reviews a part of your marketing strategy. Add Taptik to your everyday operations and get more Google reviews.

Thanks to Taptik’s quick and easy customer interaction you can get even more Google reviews than you dreamed.

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