7 Effective Strategies for Responding to 1-Star Ratings and Reviews

7 Effective Strategies for Responding to 1-Star Ratings and Reviews

The dreaded 1-star review eventually strikes every business.


In fact, 1-star reviews may be more common than you think, accounting for approximately 17% of Yelp reviews.

Unfortunately, this does not bode well for your company, because reviews, even if they take place online, have real-world consequences.


Negative reviews can eat away at your profits by lowering your Google rankings, driving away prospective customers, and possibly even making your current customers reconsider sticking with your brand.


If the 1-star rating is accompanied by a negative write-up, your company’s image and reputation can suffer even more.


For example, a review that alleges fraud, discrimination, worker exploitation, or safety issues can have catastrophic consequences for an entire franchise — even if it was initially directed at a single employee or facility.


The financial stakes are high for your business, which is why it’s critical to implement a sound review response strategy for 1-star reviews. Here are four solid strategies to help you get started, plus some helpful insights into why responding matters.


Why should my business respond to negative reviews?

Whether you believe you deserve a bad review or not, not responding to a consumer complaint is the worst mistake you can make.


Even if you think the written judgment is inaccurate, a fast answer is critical for defusing the situation.

There are two approaches to this question, both of which are important for your business:


According to Harvard Business Review research, handling responses to negative reviews can lead to increased bookings in the future. Taking responsibility for the issue, regardless of who or what is at fault, is one of the best things you can do.


For those contemplating doing business with you, your online reputation is critical. By regularly soliciting client feedback, you convey to potential customers that you are continuously striving to provide the most excellent experience possible.


As a business owner, you should be dedicated to providing an unforgettable experience for every one of your customers.

  1. What is the point of responding to negative reviews?
  2. What is the advantage of responding to negative reviews?

The goal of responding is to repair your strained relationship with the dissatisfied customer. But why put in the effort if there’s no guarantee of keeping the customer?


This brings us to the second section: the advantages of responding to one-star reviews. These could include improved Google rankings, higher star ratings, and, ultimately, faster growth.


One advantage of reacting quickly to negative feedback is that it discourages future dissatisfied customers from leaving a critical review. People tend to avoid conflict when there is an audience and a record of it online.


Furthermore, the picture is larger than the individual reviewer to whom you are responding; it includes the undecided consumers who are browsing reviews of your company.


However try to avoid long comments that might actually validate a terrible customer experience, so keep your reaction to a negative review brief and to the point. Respond to a client complaint in a straightforward, empathic, and non-combative manner.


When replying to a negative Google review, your goal as a business is to be helpful, provide context, and display class as you deliver a meaningful response.


Future consumers will notice that you took the time to write a thoughtful and timely answer, which will work in your favour if they decide to buy from you.


Responding compassionately to a dissatisfied customer reveals a lot about your character as a business owner.


While no one wants to deal with a negative internet review, it is an opportunity to demonstrate to your future customers how important a pleasant customer experience is to you.


According to studies, “the vast majority of users (89%) said a thoughtful answer to a bad review improved their perception of a business, and 90% of respondents said seeing polite and respectful comments to reviews makes them believe the owner actually cares.”


So, when faced with a negative evaluation, do you argue and dismiss it, or do you respond sensitively and professionally?


How NOT to Handle a Negative Review

Keep things respectful and nice when responding to a one-star review. Avoid responding in depth to your guest’s point or blaming the poor experience on something they did.

The most difficult aspect of dealing with a negative Google review is coming up with a well-worded response to critical input.

When responding to a one-star review, try to be respectful and kind. Avoid providing a detailed response that refutes your guest’s perspective or blames the poor experience on something they did.

The most difficult aspect of dealing with a negative Google review is developing a well-phrased response to critical input.

While no one wants to get negative criticism, it is an opportunity to learn from your customers.

Begin with a huge chunk of humble pie, then focus on what you can control and craft a response with a solution in mind.

While responding to a negative review is difficult, here are some things to avoid in your response:


  1. Calling the guest out or telling them they are mistaken. They are recounting their own personal experience, which is fair and accurate.
  2. Using derogatory or insulting language may make the customer feel worse.
  3. Assume they had an earlier opportunity to bring this to your attention.
  4. Fail to provide a rebuttal that corresponds with how you do business and underscores what you can provide them now that you’ve realized your error.

Let’s take a look at some strategies that your company can use to deal with 1-star ratings (and even use them to its advantage.

Just take a deep breath and step away from the screen before responding emotionally. Focus your answer on being remorseful, addressing the situation, and attempting to put things right in the future.


7 Strategies to Respond to a One-Star Review

There are several approaches you can take to repair a damaged customer relationship, ranging from apologizing to encouraging follow-up contact.


We recommend incorporating both strategies, as well as a few others, into each of your 1-star review responses. Let us look at 7 of them.


Strategy #1: Thank the Reviewer

Let’s face it: you’re probably not in the mood to thank the reviewer who just ripped your company to shreds. But keep in mind that a negative comment takes just as long to write as a positive comment.


Even if you are dissatisfied with the customer’s feedback, you must acknowledge the effort that went into it.


Furthermore, thanking the reviewer demonstrates professionalism and courtesy, which are essential components of Strategy #5.


You can say in response “Thank you for taking the time to share a review, We’d love to make things right. If you prefer to contact us by phone or email, we will work with you to find a solution. Thank you for bringing this to our attention once more.” Readers will have a context to help frame the topic if the reviewer continues to participate aggressively online.


Strategy #2: Focus solely on what you can do.

It might be unsettling to hear about how someone feels harmed by their experience with your company, leaving you unsure how to respond.


Other readers of that review will judge whether you listen to your dissatisfied customer when responding to their negative Google reviews.


More importantly, they’ll pay attention to how you behave in the midst of chaos. Always choose to take the high road and be nice in your response.


Strategy #3: Address the matter as quickly as possible.

When responding to a negative Google review, it is critical to respond quickly – ideally within 24 hours.

You must respond swiftly, even if it requires much mental effort to craft a thoughtful response.


Customers who feel heard and appreciated can become your most ardent supporters. Maintain your core emphasis, which is customer satisfaction.


This gives you some control over the outcome, especially if you’re determined to provide a solution.


Strategy #4: Empathize, Acknowledge, and Apologize

Empathize: In your response, try to empathize and make sure you address their issues directly. Aim to defuse the situation by expressing your sympathies for whatever offended them enough to submit a review.


It’s critical that you notice that this customer did not have the expected experience and that your response demonstrates that you understand their point of view.


Acknowledge: Address the exact issue raised by your customer in their poor review. By making your case,’ you can avoid infuriating an already irritated customer who has left you a one-star review.


Rolling up your proverbial sleeves might lead to a drop in business if readers see that you’re hot-headed when faced with a complaint.


Customers will not support firms they believe they cannot trust if they receive the impression that you are aggressive and uncompromising. Responding to a negative review shows that you’re paying attention and caring about your customers.


Apologize: This is probably one of the most difficult strategies to master, but it is also one of the most important.


If your apologies are too profuse, you risk appearing unprofessional; if they aren’t sincere enough, you risk appearing unappreciative of your customers.


Simply express your regret. Even if their disappointment was not totally your fault, the event did not live up to their expectations.


Begin with something like, We’re so sorry to learn ________did not meet your expectations.’


If possible, invite the reviewer to continue the dialogue by email or offline, proposing to connect via phone.


People tend to relax their guard a little when they are on the phone or in person, and by humanizing your response, you may be able to arrive at a solution faster.


If you do not accept responsibility for the customer’s issue, it may seem that you are attempting to avoid the complaint; however, if you do accept responsibility, it may portray your brand or team in an unfavorable light.


So, how should you proceed with your apology?


A safe bet is to keep your apology brief while expressing empathy and acknowledgement.


For instance, you could say, “We’re sorry to hear that you weren’t satisfied with [your visit/experience/our service], [Reviewer’s Name.] 


We understand your dissatisfaction with [the problem situation], and we want to reassure you that our [relevant department/team] is [working to resolve the issue].”


As you may have noticed, the apology is accompanied by a commitment to action — an important detail we’ll discuss in the following section.


While apologizing can help to soften a reviewer’s attitude, moderation is essential with this strategy.


Maintain a sincere but brief apology so that your response can focus on future improvements rather than past mistakes.


Strategy #5: Commit to Customer Service

This strategy allows you to shine by directing positive attention to your brand. Remind the customer that your company is committed to providing superior service, then reiterate your commitment to restoring their satisfaction — ideally, in a way that is directly related to their complaint or issue.


For example, if the reviewer expressed concern about poor communication, you could reaffirm your commitment to keeping your customers informed. Going a step further, you could even use it to highlight features like text alerts, email newsletters, 24/7 customer support, or anything else relevant to the situation.


This approach not only demonstrates your overall commitment to customer satisfaction, but it does so in a personal way that directly addresses the reviewer’s issue, demonstrating that you’re there to listen and help.


While reminding reviewers of your commitment to serving and assisting them is important, inviting a larger discussion can be even more beneficial— especially if the issue is legally sensitive or involves conflicting accounts of an event.


Remember that most reviewers who leave one-star ratings have had (or perceived) serious problems with your company, which are best resolved through in-depth conversations rather than Yelp or Facebook comments.


This leads us to our next strategy, which is…


Strategy #6 Respond by offering to make amends.

If they are prepared to give you another chance, assure them that you will provide the type of experience they expect.


You might also inquire, “What could I do better the next time to gain your business?” 


Invite them to tell you what you could have done better via email or direct message, and be open to hearing that there may be space for improvement.


Even if your ratings are fewer than 5 stars, remaining calm in the face of a less-than-ideal review can increase the likelihood of customers choosing your company.


They’ll respect your attention to detail and customer service over worrying about whether you’ll be able to solve or smooth things over with this one person.


Strategy #7: Direct the Conversation Offline and do Follow Up

An initial response is excellent, especially if you leave a name, contact email address, and phone number for the guest to follow up with. This demonstrates that you’re not just replying to save face, but truly care about the outcome.


This strategy has two advantages: it allows you to avoid publicly discussing an issue or error (which could make your company appear disorganized) while providing reassurance and resolution to the customer.


Encourage the reviewer to contact your office or, if appropriate, you directly. Moving the conversation offline will allow your team to investigate and solve the problem without jeopardizing your brand’s reputation on the internet.


It’s critical to sound enthusiastic and provide specific contact information so that the reviewer knows you’re serious about resolving the issue.


Make an effort to contact the reviewer via email. It says a lot about customer service and shows that you’re on top of things. While no business owner enjoys being told they aren’t meeting expectations, a one-star review may provide some suggestions for improvement.


Finally, even if you intend to call or email your customer, you should still respond to their one-star review online. That way, other customers — not just the person you’re contacting — can see how helpful your company is.

An example of how to reply to a negative Google review

“Good day, [first name],

Thank you for taking the time to write a review for us. Your feedback is important to us, and we rely on it to ensure that we’re doing a good job.


[ACKNOWLEDGE] As you stated in your review, this was not the case for you [APOLOGIZE], and we regret this. [EMPATHIZE] Our customers are the lifeblood of our company, and. [ADDRESS] We understand your dissatisfaction with [particular issue] given [what happened].


Please know that we want to make this right for you. [ACTION] We’ve written you an email, and if you want to talk further, we hope you’ll give us another chance to win your business.


Thank you, again, [optional first name] for taking the time to share a review with us.”


Then, at the end of your message, include your name and function within the company, as well as an email address and business phone number.


Although not all clients will accept your offer to smooth things up, other readers of the review will take note of your solution-oriented response.


Furthermore, a well-worded response to a negative Google review can enhance the possibility of getting more customers


Getting past a poor review

Remember that a single negative review does not define your company. It is how you address and responds to bad criticism that could attract potential customers. Respond to customer complaints with a calm demeanor and a clear head.


And, if you’re still grieving from reading a heartbreaking review, check out this artist’s version of humorous poor reviews with illustrated National Park posters on her Instagram feed, Subpar Parks.


Your reaction to a negative Google review is intended for a larger audience rather than a single person. In fact, many buyers give more clout to organizations with evaluations that aren’t all 5 stars.


Even if the one-star review momentarily lowers your Google review rating, it’s a terrific cause to encourage and respond to more favorable reviews.


Focus on employee training while encouraging customers to leave favorable reviews on several sites.

Customers are more inclined to provide favorable reviews when they have a fantastic experience that they are ecstatic about.


When deciding how to get client feedback, making positive reviews a part of your after-service email process is a good place to start.


As part of starting the feedback loop between you and your customers, make sure you respond to positive reviews, making it more encouraging for people to do business with you.


Remember that the next time you receive a negative Google review, you can handle it.

Responding to one-star reviews is necessary, but it will take time and resources that your company may not be able to spare.


Reputation Booster Online review management service will respond to Yelp, Google, and other online review sites.


This is where Reputation Booster can help your business or brand by providing a streamlined response management solution. No matter how many locations you have, our review response management service ensures that your customers receive on-brand, on-message, on-point responses within 24 hours of receipt.


We work with brands in a variety of industries, as well as digital agencies that require centralized review management.

Allow Us to Assist You in Increasing Your Online Reputation.


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