What’s the Best Way to Respond to Negative Online Reviews?

You know negative online reviews aren’t good for business, and the statistics prove it.

Eighty-four percent of people trust online reviews just as much as a personal recommendation, and 74 percent of consumers say that positive online reviews make them trust a local business more.

negative online reviews

So when negative online reviews pop up on your company’s profiles, what should you do? Can you respond in a way that minimizes the damage and helps repair the relationship with the consumer?

Always Keep Your Cool

Reading negative online reviews might get your blood boiling, but remember that once you publish a response, it’s available for the rest of the world to read.

Regardless of whether the negative comments about your business are true, don’t respond to the review until you can reply calmly. You may want to rush to correct misconceptions, but make sure you’re ready to word your response professionally, and leave your emotions out of it.

It Doesn’t Pay to Ignore Complaints

While you should wait until you’ve calmed down to respond to negative online reviews, don’t wait too long. Ignoring a negative comment for weeks isn’t helpful for your online image, and once you get around to offering the reviewer a solution, they may not appreciate that so much time has passed between their initial comment and your response.

No matter what, don’t ignore negative reviews. If you don’t respond to your critics, it only makes you look guilty of their accusations. It also projects an uncaring, unprofessional image to your prospective customers.

By taking the time to address every complaint, no matter how trivial, you show that you care about the service your business provides.

Always Apologize, Offer a Resolution and Express Thanks

Even if you don’t believe you’ve done anything wrong, take the time to express a heartfelt apology. You can simply write, “We are sorry you had a negative experience.”

Then, take the time to offer them a resolution to the problem, whether that’s a discount coupon or a refund.

Finally, make sure you add that you are grateful for the person’s business. Thanking your reviewers for the feedback shows that you are willing to learn from criticism.

State Your Commitment to Do Better

Make sure you address the reviewers’ criticisms clearly. Don’t offer too much detail, but make sure that your response includes your company’s plan — if you have one — to alter business practices based on the reviewer’s concerns.

Consider Taking the Conversation Offline


If there is a negative online review you feel may result in an endless back-and-forth between you and the reviewer, consider asking them to discuss their concerns with you offline. By speaking with them on the phone or in person, you may be able to better address their issues with your company.

Once you’ve resolved their complaint, you can ask them to go back and revise their review to show the steps you took to make it right.

Petition for Removal of Fake Reviews

It’s bound to happen — whether it comes from a disgruntled former employee or a devious competitor, there will be a time when you notice fake negative online reviews of your business. This is a violation of the terms of service of many review platforms, so you can petition to have the complaint removed.

Monitor Your Online Reputation

With Accrue Reviews, you never get thrown off course by negative online reviews. You can monitor what your customers are saying about your business and respond immediately to both the good and bad. Enhance and improve your business’ online reputation — find out more about what we offer by calling us today.