How to Respond to Negative Online Reviews

Did you know that 9 out of 10 customers are likely to read reviews before choosing a business? This is why having good online reviews is essential for your business. But what about negative feedback? Obviously, no one wants to receive criticism or complaints, but the fact is that bad reviews can be good news for you and your business.


How Bad Reviews are Good

Negative reviews are inevitable for any business, even if you have only positive comments thus far. At some point, a customer will be less than pleased with your service or their experience and post a negative review. However, this isn’t the end of the world for your business. In fact, if an organization’s reviews are all overly positive, review readers may question the authenticity of the reviews and your ratings. 

Negative reviews tell consumers what might go wrong with a product or service and how your company reacted to a situation. Responding immediately is smart; it allows you to address the customer’s concerns and hopefully save the relationship. Read comments carefully and reply in a way that is genuine and on-brand. Investigate the incident further, if necessary, so that you know what happened and can understand the circumstances from the customer’s point of view.


How to Respond

When responding, apologize and thank the customer for his or her feedback. Avoid being defensive or making excuses. If the exchange becomes heated, offer to take it offline. Your goal is two-fold: to save the relationship with the customer and to demonstrate to potential customers through your response that you are committed to keeping clients happy.

It is often smart to offer a reasonable accommodation to a customer, such as a credit or replacement product. Regardless, your response should show care and concern for the consumer, with an explanation of what happened on the company’s side — not an excuse. Sometimes mistakes happen and no one is at fault; it is your response — not the actual incident — that could determine whether you lose or keep this customer.


Keep Perspective

Remember that every negative review is an opportunity to get feedback on your business. Respond to each comment personally and thoughtfully and it could help market your company. Potential customers will see that your organization may not be perfect, but you are willing to take responsibility for mistakes and work to make things right. For more tips and information on negative reviews, check out the infographic below.



Dan Harari heads business development for ClearCut Analytics. Prior to ClearCut, Dan held leadership positions at other companies in the consumer-packaged goods (CPG) ecosystem, supporting sales, brand management, data analytics, and more. He brings a well-rounded skill-set and entrepreneurial spirit to today's ever-changing CPG landscape.

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