How Your Business Can Deal with Negative Online Reviews

7 Min Read

It’s a fact; positive online reviews can boost your business quickly. Studies show brands who have five positive Yelp reviews enjoy an average 10% increase in profit.

Conversely, one terrible review can cost you valuable business and damage your brand’s credibility.

In light of this, we’ve got some surefire advice on how to handle any negative reviews published about your company.

Let’s dive in!

Respond Publicly to Bad Reviews

First and foremost, you need to be monitoring your company online for any reviews that customer publish. Tools like PowerReviews, allow you to automate the monitoring and collecting of your reviews online.

If you receive a poor review, you need to respond publicly.

As you construct a response, ensure you address the issue in a way that remains professional. Ideally, you want to provide a resolution so that other prospects can see how effectively you handle customer complaints. Needless to say, keeping your cool always creates a better impression than losing your temper.


If you feel the comment was particularly unjust, take an hour or so to cool off, and then compose a friendly response. Trust us; you’ll be thankful you did. Fighting fire with fire when it comes to customer relations never pays off.

You should also provide an email address or phone number so that if the customer wants to discuss the issue further, they have the option of doing so offline.

Top Tip: Publish your response as quickly as possible- the online world never sleeps, so a quick acknowledgment is expected. Plus, a speedy reply helps to ensure the situation doesn’t spiral as more and more prospects read the unsavory review.

Lastly, if your company was at fault, be sure to apologize. Do NOT shirk responsibility or try and blame the customer. This never comes across well. Instead, show you take responsibility and that you’re keen to make things right. Consumers appreciate this and are far more likely to respect your brand because of it.

If you’re unsure how to respond, here’s a quick template you can edit:

“Hello [insert the name of the customer],

Thank you so much for your feedback. Here at [insert the name of your business], we take customer complaints extremely seriously. We’re sorry about [insert their complaint] To try and make things right we would like to [insert resolution]. Would you mind contacting us on [insert contact details] so we can find out a little more about how things went wrong?


Best Wishes,
[Insert the name of your company]”

Make Necessary Improvements

If the same negative comments are surfacing time and again, then you need to make a change.

Go through your reviews and compile a list of all the negative comments you’ve received. Then call a team meeting to discuss how as a brand you can tackle these issues. This is essential for ensuring the same problem doesn’t repeat itself.

Not to mention, when you make the necessary improvements you show customers you care about their concerns and want to provide a premium user experience. This is imperative for rebuilding trust with disgruntled customers.

Follow Up

Now you’ve addressed their complaint; you need to follow up with them and find out whether they’re satisfied with the way things were resolved.

Shoot over a private message, and if possible offer a discount or freebie to try and smooth things over. This highlights that their opinion is valued and that you’ve taken their feedback seriously.

Showing genuine concern in your follow up message increases the likelihood of the customer giving your brand another try. Who knows? Perhaps they’ll even delete or update the negative review they published?

Top Tip: If you’ve apologized and rectified the issue, there’s nothing wrong with asking the customer to erase their negative comments. On the whole, people don’t usually mind doing this once there query is resolved.

Stay Vigilant

The best course of action is to avoid negative reviews in the first place. To do this, businesses need to meet and exceed customer expectations. One of the biggest pet peeves of most customers is when a business doesn’t keep their word.

For a service based business this could be as small as not showing up on time or as big as not living up to the agreed upon work. Whether you’re a web design firm or a home service business, exceeding customer expectations can lead from a first time customers to repeat business and referrals.

To help businesses execute this goal they turn to technology. For example, home service software companies, like ServiceTitan, help create a seamless customer experience by communicating with customers at every step of the process. From automatically rerouting the closest technicians for on-time appointments to texting customers ahead of time with the name, picture and bio of the technician doing the work.

Top Tip: Stay ahead of the online review curve by heading off potentially negative review before they happen. Using your customer service or field representatives as your front lines is a great way to deal with reviews.

Final Thoughts

Receiving negative reviews about your brand can be heartbreaking. It can be tough to handle when you spend so much of your time and effort building growing your business. So much so, that some business owners forget these reviews aren’t personal attacks.

Instead, it’s important to try and see them as opportunities to improve business operations and to learn more about what your customers really want.

If you follow the above advice and respond appropriately by committing to solving the customers’ concerns, there’s a good chance you’ll rekindle the relationship while demonstrating to prospects how professionally you handle customer complaints- win-win!

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Matt Shealy is the President of Chamber specializes in helping small businesses grow their business on the web while facilitating the connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide. As a seasoned entrepreneur and business leader, Matt’s focused on helping businesses leverage technology and the internet to grow.