No one likes getting negative reviews, but they happen. Getting a bad review every once in a while won’t hurt you if you respond the right way. But, the most frustrating are those from people who aren’t even customers. Fortunately, we’re here to help.
Whether it’s a bad review that should’ve gone to another business, a bad review from a former employee, or a bad review from someone who wasn’t even a customer, we’ll be sharing some tips on how to effectively respond to bogus Google reviews.
Responding to Bad Review from a Former Employee
Getting a former employee’s review removed can be quite difficult. To do this, you’ll typically need to provide evidence of their past employment, such as their publicly accessible LinkedIn profile. However, if the review explicitly mentions their previous role with your company, the process becomes somewhat easier.
If you have a bad Google review from a disgruntled former employee here’s an example of how you can respond.
“John, We regret that you’re no longer on our team, especially if it wasn’t under the best circumstances. While we value feedback of all kinds, it’s important to remember that Google reviews are for customers to share their experiences with our business, not employees to share their grievances. We encourage constructive criticism, but we kindly ask that you respect the purpose of these reviews. Thank you.”
It’s friendly and straight to the point. No need to be hostile. And when customers see this bad review and your response, it will reveal that it’s just an upset employee and nothing more.
Note, that while current employees are technically able to leave a review for the company they work for, keep in mind that this practice goes against Google’s guidelines.
Responding to a Bad Review From a Non-Customer
When you receive a review from someone who wasn’t a customer or who used a fake name, there are several ways to respond depending on what the review says.
Sometimes people accidentally leave a review intended for a different business, like when someone shares a negative experience with your retail hot tub store when they meant to review the restaurant next door.
In such cases, a lighthearted response works best:
“Ms. Doe, we’re truly sorry to hear about your recent dining experience, but we’re actually the hot tub store next door. While we can’t fix your dinner mishap, we’ll be sure to pass on your feedback to the appropriate establishment. If you don’t mind, could you please delete this review and share your feedback with them instead? We appreciate your understanding!”
This approach is straightforward yet friendly, helping to clarify any confusion and encourage the reviewer to correct their mistake. Plus, since Google notifies reviewers when businesses respond, Ms. Doe may realize her error and remove her review.
Responding to a Bad Review with No Context
Oftentimes, a bad review is meant for your business and when it has no context, just a one-star, it’s a bit trickier. But here’s one way you could respond:
“Jane, after thorough investigation and discussions with our team, we couldn’t find any record of your visit to our store. Since your review was left under a fake name without any details, it’s difficult for us to reach out and address any concerns. If you have genuine feedback or encountered an issue, please don’t hesitate to give us a call, and we’ll do our best to resolve it.”
This response is courteous yet direct, highlighting that the review likely came from someone who wasn’t a genuine customer.
When a review does include text, the response can be adjusted accordingly:
“Jane, despite our extensive search through records and discussions with our sales team, we couldn’t find any evidence of your past interactions with us. Your description of events doesn’t align with any incidents reported by our staff. It’s unclear why you’ve left a negative review with inaccurate details. Without knowing your identity, we’re unable to address the situation directly. If you have a legitimate concern, please reach out to us, and we’ll strive to resolve it promptly.”
By emphasizing the fact they’re not in any records and no one experienced what happened again, potential customers will realize the review is fake.
In most cases, you’re not going to be able to get any of these reviews removed. But with the right response, no one will pay attention to them and in the grand scheme of things, they won’t really hurt your business.
If you do believe a review needs to be removed, here is Google’s Prohibited and Restricted Content Policy.