Every week I get the question, “I got a bad Google review! What do I do?”

I have a client panicking, calling me saying they got a bad Google review and they aren’t sure what to do about it. I calmly coach them through the best practices and tell them there’s not a company out there without a negative review. It’s bound to happen because you can’t please everyone. Just learn from your mistake, acknowledge it, and move on.

Well, this all sounded like a great plan until it happened to me.

Why do we let others’ words get to us? In one week, I got flowers from one client with a sweet note attached, a note from my neighbor in my mailbox thanking me for all I do for women and business … and my first bad Google review. What do you think I dwelled on? The bad review.

Bad reviews really bother me, because in my mind, I wonder why that person wouldn’t just call and tell me that there is something they are unhappy about with my business.

I ended up calling the reviewer (a client I hadn’t worked with in over four years), emailing and texting him over 10 times to try to talk to him so I could learn from this experience. He never responded, which tells me he probably wasn’t actually that upset or he would’ve answered. What’s more, I could never shake the fact that he waited four years to leave a negative review – it just didn’t make sense to me.

Why do negative things ring so loud in our heads instead of the other positive things that happen? A client went out of their way to get me flowers and send a kind note, and another acquaintance went out of their way to leave a note in my mailbox. Even though I was so thankful for both of these nice gestures, the bad review still kept me up at night.

My business is not perfect, and, of course, a client may become upset every once in a while. Unfortunately, that’s a part of growth, and when you’re scaling fast and systems and processes aren’t in place yet, this can happen. I’ve worked with hundreds of clients over the years, and I’d like to think that 90% of them would refer me to someone and say we ended on good terms. So if that’s the case, why do I care so much what this one guy thinks from four years ago?

The bottom line is that you can’t focus on the negative. There’s not one company out there that doesn’t have at least one bad Google review. The best thing you can do is try to learn from the experience, shake it off, and move on.

I created a step-by-step list you can go through if you ever find yourself in this situation:

  • Read the review carefully
  • Research the issue
  • Research the writer
  • Start by thanking them for the review; then, apologize they had this experience (you aren’t admitting fault, but acknowledging they had that experience); then explain the issue and your solution.

The Do’s:

  • Address the user by name
  • Include key details of the review (specific details they mentioned)
  • Customer research (It helps determine the validity of the user and makes it easier to personalize)
  • Show understanding
  • End on a positive note

The Don’ts:

  • Get defensive
  • Take things personally (don’t dwell on the details)
  • Attack the reviewer

Responding to reviews serves two purposes:
1. It makes it clear you’re an engaged business with an up-to-date profile.
2. It shows potential customers that you care about customer service.

If you’re a small business, the CEO/Owner should ALWAYS be the one to respond. This makes it feel more personal.

To help create a positive relationship with your clientele, it’s best to respond to negative and positive reviews.

What negative noise around you do you need to get rid of?

Maybe it’s a friend who’s always complaining, a client who’s never happy, or someone in your family who drains you with negativity every time you talk. You have to shift your perspective to focus on what’s positive in your life. I try to think of all the positive things we’re doing for clients and be grateful for feedback, even when a client is unhappy because that’s the only way we’ll grow.

It pays dividends to start your day with positive thoughts. I always start my day with a workout to get my body moving and endorphins flowing, which helps me get my mind right for the day ahead. Then, I listen to uplifting music or a positive podcast, so by the time I get into the office, I have a positive vibe to start the day with.

If you find yourself filled with negative thoughts during the day, stop what you’re doing and do something that will shift your mindset. Maybe this is listening to something funny, spiritual or uplifting, or writing down all the things you’re thankful for in your life. It’s amazing how much we have to be thankful for, yet sometimes we get caught up in a storm of negativity that causes us to forget.

So, whether it’s a negative Google review or something someone says to you, don’t let it dictate your day. You are 100% in control of how you react, so be grateful for the comment, learn from it, and keep pushing forward. There are so many more people who need what you have to offer!

Deedra Determan, Founder

Deedra Determan started her career working in television for one of the top media companies in the country and later became a marketing consultant in the television industry.

Determan went on to launch a niche website for moms in her local market with over 100,000 moms visiting the website each month using the power of Facebook. After one year from launching, Determan sold the website to Oklahoma Media Company, Griffin Communications. Determan went on to launch a digital marketing agency, D2 Branding that was recently recognized as one of the “Best Entrepreneurial Companies in America” by Entrepreneur Magazine’s Entrepreneur360.

Determan is the host of the Do It My Way Podcast Show, empowering women business owners and CEO’s to do business on their terms with no regrets, hesitation or fear. Determan coaches these women on how to create a personal brand so they can live a life of financial freedom, working when they want to work and making the money they want to make!