How to Respond to Negative Reviews

How to respond to negative reviews


It’s important for business owners and marketers to take care of their brand’s reputation and to establish a positive online brand presence. Maintaining a good standing and building a superb relationship with consumers is one of the best ways to propel business success. Customers can greatly influence how your brand is perceived.  


But products or services aren’t always safe from bad reviews. Even if you produce great products or render excellent service, there can still be some disappointing reviews that may stem from factors that are beyond your control.  


And while it may be disheartening to get poor ratings on Yelp or Google and to receive negative feedback from unhappy customers, these moments should be seen as an opportunity for growth. Responding well to criticism is an important part of brand management. According to a study from the Harvard Business Review, replying to dissatisfied customers can actually lead to better ratings down the road.  


That being said, here’s a short guide on how to respond to a bad review:

Start by Acknowledging the Problem 

Instead of taking a defensive stance, let your disgruntled customers know that their concerns are not being ignored.   


Remember, this isn’t about your business getting a bad review. It’s about your customer encountering a negative experience with your business. Even if a bad review makes little sense, it doesn’t change the fact that your customer’s experience was less than stellar.  


Empathy can go a long way. Starting your response with something like “I’m very sorry to hear about that” and addressing them personally can defuse a situation and help make your customer still feel valued.  

Take Responsibility 

Respond with accountability, whether your business is at fault or not. Again, you are responsible for the experience every customer gets from your product or service.  


Try to understand the issue that they’ve raised, and regardless of the factors that caused it, offer your customers a sincere apology and a clear resolution. Assure them that necessary steps will be taken to avoid such problems from happening again.    

Take the Conversation Offline 

Reach out to your aggrieved customers or give them a phone number or e-mail address to contact. Offering them a channel for communicating with you or your team directly is an excellent way to resolve issues while preserving and improving your brand’s reputation. By showing that you’re willing to personally help address their concerns, you’re helping your brand be deemed as receptive, considerate, and authentic.    

Keep Your Response Short 

The last thing to bear in mind when learning how to respond to negative reviews is to keep your replies short. Concise responses reduce the odds of further aggravating the situation, which might cause further brand image damage. Remember that reviews are public, and the last thing you want people to see is a business owner arguing with a customer. Keep your replies prompt, professional, and sincere. 


Check out our online review management platform that helps businesses manage their negative reviews