The Best Ways to Handle a Negative Review Online
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How should you handle a negative review online? To many business owners, having a great reputation is of the utmost importance. Because of this, it can be devastating to find a negative review about your company. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can make it right. Often, you can even use negative reviews to your advantage.

How should you handle a negative review online?

Getting online to find a negative review can be disappointing. It’s easy to feel offended and to wonder how the review will affect your business and your future customers.

Though the original reason for the bad review may be out of your control, you can put a positive twist on the situation from here.

After you notice a bad review, how you handle it makes all the difference. And if you deal with it empathetically, it may actually benefit your business in the long run.

Here are the best ways to handle a negative review online.


Answer immediately with a humble apology. Let the customer know that you want to do whatever you can to remedy the situation.

Be personal with your response

Put some thought into your response. Don’t copy and paste a generic apology message. Make it personal so they know that you truly care about making sure your customers are satisfied.

Continue the conversation

Offer to hear more about why they’re dissatisfied and how you can help. Try to get contact information, like their email or phone number, to find out how you can help them even more.

Take it offline

Try to avoid getting into a public discussion online. Keep it personal and reach out to the customer directly whenever possible. If you can’t get their contact information, give them yours publicly and let them call or email you.

Fix the problem

Be attentive, listen, and then make things right. Offer a refund, replace the product if possible, or give store credit. By making things right, you might turn a negative review into a loyal customer!

Ask the client to remove or edit their review

After they’re satisfied, go back and ask the client whether they’d be willing to remove or edit their review.

How negative reviews can actually be helpful

They show people that you’re real.

Often, when a customer sees only 5-star reviews, they assume the product or service is too good to be true. Having some reviews that are less-than-perfect shows customers that you’re real, and it may even make them more willing to engage with you in some cases.

They let people know whether the problem is actually relevant to them.

Sometimes negative reviews can be helpful because they show future customers what others didn’t love about your product or service. For example, maybe you’re shopping online for a small couch that will fit perfectly in your small living room. You find one that has a few negative reviews, but when you read the reviews, they all say something about the couch being too small. Fortunately, this is actually great news for you!

Negative reviews give you the opportunity to improve your business.

While you may prefer a kinder form of constructive criticism, try to really consider your negative reviews and see if you can improve your business in relation to the complaint.

They have the potential to create a loyal customer.

Have you ever dealt with a business that had terrible customer service? Pretty much everyone has, and it’s no fun. Taking the time and effort to solve a customer’s complaint is an excellent way to make your business stand out as one that cares. If you can quickly and compassionately fix the problem for your customer, they may become more loyal than anyone else!

Examples of how to respond to a negative review online

Now let’s take a look at some practical ways that you can respond to a negative customer review using the suggestions above.

First, let’s look at some examples of how not to respond.

Example 1:

negative review online #1

Example 2:

review #2

As you can see, these responses are not personal and will not be helpful to the frustrated customer. The first response doesn’t even offer an apology for the customer’s dissatisfaction. Neither answer offers to resolve the problem.

Next, let’s look at a couple of examples for how you should respond to a negative customer review.

Example 1:

review #3

Example 2:

review #4

As you can see, the final two examples not only address the problem, but are personal, respectful, and give opportunity to remedy the situation for the customer.

Treat your customer as you’d like to be treated!

Need help connecting with your customers online?

In the ever-changing world of business, it can be difficult to keep up. Fortunately, we put the effort into constantly learning how to best connect with your customers online – so that you don’t have to! Whether you need a website redesign, help generating more leads, or want to direct more customers to your current website, we can help.

Book a meeting today, and let’s discuss how we can help you build relationships with your customers and generate more leads – and ultimately, more sales!

About the Author

Oscar Quesada

Oscar Quesada


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