How to Interact with a Google Review

What Happens if You Get a Bad Review?

Well it happened… we just received our first negative online review.

It was in the back of our minds over the years, but never gave it a second thought as we’ve worked through thousands of projects over our 25 years in the biz, and always (mostly) maintained happy clients along the way.

But no one is perfect, and not everyone everywhere can be 100% satisfied. Any designer who tells you otherwise is either superhuman, less than honest or hasn’t been around long enough.

So here it was… a 2-star review written in a two-part body blow; the copy was succinct enough to allow Google to provide a concise negative snippet and the author was no one we had any familiarity with. Who would do this?

We spent more time than we’d like to admit trying to track down the author as we take this sort of stuff to heart – no one wants bad mojo with the work they do. We take pride in what we create and always, always, ALWAYS want to do the best work we can.

So now what? All we have is a negative review from a secondary person who we’ve never had any contact with before.

Do we just ignore it?

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How To Remove a Negative Google Review

So here’s the reality… there’s no easy way to do this.

Google encourages reviews, good or bad, and it’s up to you to keep them from happening or trying to resolve them if they show up.

It is important to understand that Google will only remove reviews in certain circumstances. Just because you disagree with a review does not mean it will be removed. Instead, the review must violate Google’s content policies or be associated with an incorrect location or listing.

But if it’s a straight up bad review, your options are limited.

You could try reaching out to the author and ask them to remove it in exchange for discussing their concerns, finding a resolution or in exchange for payment, but if they went through the effort to post a negative review, you likely have your work cut out for you. It’s in your best interest to just face it straight up and be part of the conversation.

Here are three of the best actions you can take:

  1. Respond to the Review – be part of the dialogue and respond with a way to resolve the issue or offer a way to connect. People will see two sides to the conversation and can make up their own minds about what may have caused the issue. Your silence would be the worst thing you could do. Stay engaged and show people that you are involved, and that you care.
  2. Reach out to the Reviewer – See if you can connect and makes plans to help convince them to remove their review.
  3. When They Go Low, You Go High – Reach out to your long list of happy clients and ask them to review your work. Start culminating some positive energy to outmatch the negative.


How Valuable Are 5-Star Reviews?

You may think that a bevy of 5-star reviews are exactly what the doctor ordered, but you’d be surprised how they impact perception with people searching for real info.

According to a study conducted by, customers searching reviews found an overall 4-star review more trustworthy that a full 5-star record.  The study looked at how trustworthy a business appears to potential customers based on their ratings. More people will trust a business with a 3-star or 4-star average rating than they will one with an average 5-star rating.

This is because potential customers think 3-star and 4-star ratings are more genuine, and that five-star ratings appear contrived. Noboy’s perfect!

It turns out that 5-star ratings are only trusted by 10% of customers, the study found, while 22% of people trust three-star ratings, and 35% of people trust four-star ratings.

In Conclusion…

We may have spent a pile of time looking into this, but it was well worth the effort.

We were happy to connect with our equally happy customers and start having open discussions about the work we do and how we do it. It’s important to remember that your best customers are the ones you do the best work with, and continuing to foster those relationships is definitely a move in the positive direction.

We are just delighted to keep up the conversation 🙂