Handling a Negative Online Review Like a Champ

Handling a Negative Online Review Like a Champ

Reading Time: 3 minutes

As business owners, we pride ourselves on the quality of our products, services, and, well . . . everything. We pour our hearts and souls into our companies, devote countless hours perfecting our craft, and spend many sleepless nights building a great brand. So when an unhappy customer writes a negative online review about our business, it feels like they punched us in the stomach.

But we’re here to tell you that negative online reviews don’t have to pummel your business’ profits or reputation. In fact, it can turn into a great opportunity to draw attention to your company’s strengths! Read on for some of the best ways to handle an unhappy customer.

a negative online review hurts

How to Handle Negative Reviews


1. Don’t take it personally: Believe it or not, this is actually the toughest step. Because our businesses are such a part of us, it’s hard not to feel like we’re being criticized. But receiving a bad review does not mean that you are bad. Not at all. 


2. Know where your customers leave reviews and monitor your listings regularly. Take the time to create profiles and listings on business review sites like Google My Business, YelpBing Places, and Trip Advisor. Not only does this increase your online visibility and chances of reaching more customers, it also lets consumers know that you are invested in your online reputation and interested what they have to say.


3. Accept that an unhappy customer left a poor review and respond as quickly as possible. And not by deleting it – even though it’s tempting. Ideally, you should respond to reviews – good and bad – within 48 hours. This shows that you are involved in your business and demonstrates that you truly care about your customers and their experiences. Additionally, it’s the perfect opportunity to learn what your customers want and expect, which will ultimately help your bottom line.


4. Post a public apology for the disappointing experience and express commitment to fix the issue. Yep – even if you disagree with the review or hold a different perspective. Remember that the customer is always right – even if they’re not ;). When responding, be as specific as possible and personalize your message so customers don’t feel ‘autoresponded’ to. Thank them for letting you know of the issue so you can improve and and invite them to stop into, call, or email you so you can correct the issue. If they do reach out privately, offer them something as a way to show your concern and commitment to fixing the issue.


Bonus: Template for Responding to a Negative Online Review 

Dear (Person’s Name),

I am so sorry that (write the specific issue down). Highlight some common ground – something you agree with them about.

Thank you for letting us know about this! You came to (Business Name) expecting (what your customers expect ~ exceptional service, quality products, etc) and didn’t receive that. We truly appreciate your feedback and want to make this right! Please stop by and ask for me personally so I can (action that will correct this issue).

With Deepest Apologies,

Phone Number
Email Address


Although receiving a negative online review stings even the toughest of business owners, it doesn’t have to mean a total knock out for your business. Use our tips and handle a negative online review about your business like the champ you are! 


Have something to add? We’d love it if you left us a comment. 


Theresa Wray Content Manager Raney Day Design
Theresa Wray

Content Manager of Raney Day Design. Raney Day Design is where we build brands that get results. 

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