How to Handle Negative Reviews

Customer reviews can provide a unique insight into your company and how it is being perceived by consumers. This can include opinions on products, services, branding or just the business itself. Although the majority of feedback that companies will receive is positive, the process does open you up for negative responses. Receiving a negative review is never pleasant and many business owners may face feelings of anger or defensiveness but the way in which you deal with these types of reviews can be incredibly important.

Constructive or Personal?

The first thing to do when you or your company receives a negative review is to ascertain what the feedback is actually saying. If the reviewer is outright lying and you know that their views are completely baseless then that is the time to contact the host website in order to discuss having the review removed. Alternatively, if the customer is complaining about something with any basis in truth then your approach should be very different. Take the complaint on board and see if you can use the situation as an opportunity for growth.

Remain Calm

However inflammatory a review may be it is imperative that you remain calm. Reacting to reviewers with negativity or anger will only make the situation worse and could actually validate what they are saying as well making you look unprofessional. Try to communicate in neutral terms and make it clear to the customer that you appreciate their feedback. Replying in a level and diplomatic way will ensure that the situation doesn’t escalate and reflect badly on you. Customers respond to businesses who interact with them on a personal and human level and these types of situations are ideal for illustrating this.

Positivity is Key

It can be easy to focus on the negative within these situations but remaining positive is incredibly important. Acknowledge the customer and their grievances within your reply but use this as an opportunity to showcase your dedication to progress. If you have failed in some way own up to that failure but then move on to how you will rectify the situation, don’t dwell on the negativity. This will not only help to change the reviewer’s opinion but will also act as a good advertisement for any potential customers who may have viewed the interaction


It’s important to take notice of all of the reviews you are receiving and provide feedback if it’s due. Responding to negative reviews within a reasonable amount of time will satisfy the customer and will convey that you are a company that cares. This will also help in attracting new customers who will view you as a company they can trust and feel comfortable doing business with.

Recognise Disingenuous Reviewers

Complaining is usually the last resort for many customers and it tends to yield results. Although the majority of customers will only complain when there’s a reason to, unfortunately some people will use the system in order to try and get a freebie. This behaviour can be extremely difficult to spot and even harder to police but it should be kept in mind when responding to reviews. Try not to respond to threats unless the complainer is within their rights to demand compensation.

If all else fails…Delegate

Business owners may never feel comfortable receiving negative feedback and this is completely understandable. Running a company is incredibly difficult and often requires a huge amount of self-sacrifice and perseverance. This is why it can be uncomfortable for some people to take criticism and if this is the case it may be better to entrust this role with another member of staff. This means that reviews, both positive and negative can be received and dealt with by somebody who may be more impartial and better suited to the position.

Continuous and transparent customer feedback is becoming a permanent fixture of the business landscape. This may be alarming to some but it can be an incredibly useful tool for growth and promotion. Every business will receive negative reviews at some point but that’s not really the issue. It’s not the negative feedback which is important but how the company deals with that feedback. As long as you respond in a calm and collected manner and try to focus on the positive, you can’t fail.