How to Handle a 1 Star Business Review

How to Handle a 1 Star Business Review

Disclaimer: I was doing a script for a video version of this, but thought the content would help someone out. This article is more conversational than most our other articles, less formal and more passive reading about how we dealt with a 1 star review.

Get Notified Immediately

So as a part of all our SEO bundles we daily check for new reviews on all our clients’ websites. This process is important to your online reputation and good and bad reviews should be addressed immediately. The best way to get notified, if you don’t have a service checking for you, about new reviews is to either have the google my business app, or make sure your Google My Business email address is one you see every day, both these methods will notify you as soon as new reviews are published on your business listing.

So today is Friday morning, we’re looking to wrap up our    week and enjoy the sunny weather. The problem is that upon checking our clients reputation, we found a 1 star review on one of our client’s google business profile…..oh yeah, if you would rather watch this article, here is the video version:



Importantly, these reviews can affect your reputation online, and ultimately your client conversion. The google my business listing not only appears as a knowledge panel sidebar for name searches when you search the business name, but also in map results when someone searches your industry and geography.



We see here on the name search, that your review score is visible and instantly updates with new reviews. In this situation our client’s 5 star average has dropped to 4.8. Further when doing the industry search we see the same thing.

In this situation, it’s not too bad as we already had 20 5 star reviews but for businesses with fewer reviews, the rating score will drop a lot more when a 1 star review is published. When you’re being compared against your competition you want as high a rating as possible to attract new calls or visits to your website. More importantly, your placement on the valued 3 map spots are contingent on your rating it’s not the only factor, but in competitive markets, we continually see the firms with more reviews and higher ratings hold these spots.

Long story long, we talked with the client and found out it was someone who didn’t even do business with them. It was someone who was looking for a specific service they did not provide. The reviewer, on the phone asked the typical “why not” and more questions regarding the service our client does not offer. Our client kept telling them we are unsure and you will want to find someone who does deal with these types of matters. That was it.

The review was left at about 2am, so there could be some other factors with this reviewer as well. Regardless, they left a review: “VERY RUDE AND VERY UNHELPFUL”, in all caps.

So what do you do in these situations? Option 1: Can You Flag the Review?

First if you’re lucky, the review violates google content guidelines and if so you can flag as inappropriate and google may remove the review completely. Let’s look at what classifies. On googles support page you can find it, but here we see the excerpt from the page. The main reasons you can flag the review would be:  Deliberately fake content, copied or stolen photos, off-topic reviews, defamatory language, personal attacks, and unnecessary or incorrect content. If you’re lucky, the reviewer violated one of these and you can flag it. The process is simple, and the embedded video covers that process.

Option 2: Talk to the Reviewer

So if the review didn’t violate policy, you can reach out to the client and in many cases a conversation with may put that person on the spot and they realize they’ve been caught leaving a review when maybe they shouldn’t have. We’ve had success with this route many times before and it only takes a few minutes. Our client did call the reviewer from the call long and left a message requesting a return call on their voicemail.

Option 3: Draft a Response

Third, you need to prepare a public response. If you don’t respond, your side of the story is not heard, and anyone who sees that review only sees the one sided remark. You need to stay professional, but you can also point out flaws in their story or address any issue brought. You can point out that your goal is customer satisfaction overall and finally invite the reviewer to reach out to further discuss. While they may never do so, you have just shifted the perception of your company for anyone who does see that review. Our drafted response to this review is as follows:

Hello *****, we are deeply concerned about your review and comments. Our goal is 100% customer satisfaction before anything else as you can see from our dozens of 5 star reviews. Even though you are not a client of ours I do remember the conversation in detail. I simply stated we could not assist with the particular matter as it was not a service we offer. I did provide you with several contact numbers of industry professionals who could help with your matter. Our team always aims to provide a pleasant experience to our callers even when they are not clients of ours If you would like to discuss further, please reach out to us on any of our published phone numbers.

The last tip on this response is to wait before publishing. I know you want to get a response up immediately, but I urge you to watt at least a day after writing your response Your emotions may be high and it is best to come back to your response and make sure it does put your best image out there. You can also ask others in your office to review your response and make any input. Once you’re good with it, you can publish it.

At this point, it is Monday, a few days later. The reviewer has not called back the business, the owner has revised their response a few times and given us permission to publish it. We will be doing that later today, and then the business owner will move on. We will keep working to gain more positive reviews, and a handful more 5 stars should get our overall average back to 5 stars. Mathematically it is impossible, but Google does round up so at some point, we’ll be flawless again.

In Conclusion

A 1 star review is not the end of your business. It can be dealt with and in most cases it is only a matter of time before you get one. The important thing to remember is your rating on google is an average of all your reviews. So the more-reviews you have, the less a bad one will impact your rating and online image. Work hard to stack as many positive reviews so when a bad one is published, it isn’t as impactful.

And the plug, our starter seo bundle includes reputation and review generation software that we fully manage for our clients. You’ll never be surprised by a bad review, and when one does happen we work with our clients immediately to address it. Most important we work the software to obtain and promote positive reviews. Just look at what our client Katherine O’Brien said about our service: “Launchpad Legal Marketing’s review campaign has been invaluable for my online law practice. Clients tell me all the time that they chose me over other lawyers because of my online review presence. Prior to Launchpad taking over the process for me, obtaining reviews from clients was like pulling teeth and always made me somewhat nervous. After Launchpad took over, they ensured that my (stellar) reviews skyrocketed. Best of all, the process has been painless, taking less than 10 minutes of my time every month. I could not be happier with this service”

About The Author

Joel Smith
Joel Smith, the founder of Launchpad Legal Marketing has been helping Attorneys, Law Firms and other legal industry businesses grow their online presence for decades. He created many of the services that Launchpad Legal Marketing offers in an effort to provide clear, transparent and affordable solutions for boosting online presence.
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