Dealing with negative reviews online

Being online comes with many upsides, but it also comes with downsides, namely easily seen and very public criticism. It means you will at some point face criticism, but It’s how you deal with this criticism which can be the difference between being appealing to new customers and turning new customers away. Here’s some tips on how to deal with negative criticism.

1. Stay Calm

The moment that you see someone criticising your business, which you’ve built and worked hard on, it can be a natural instinct to feel personally attacked and respond in a rush. Take a step back. The last thing you want is to come off petty and unprofessional. Getting your first negative review can feel like a huge personal attack. So it’s very important to ensure you’re not replying hastily.

Most Social Media disasters around reviews happen because the owner is upset at the negative review, regardless of its validity or lackthereof.

2. Respond Professionally

When it’s time for you to respond, make sure you do it publically. Use the opportunity to show that your business is understanding. Validate their feelings towards your business by saying that you appreciate how they feel that way, it diffuses the situation without admitting fault. However, if your business is at fault, be sure to apologise for the situation that your business caused.

Keep in mind that your response will be read by others, including prospective clients!

3. Keep Your Cool & Respond

Give some good thought about how you should respond, assume that everything that is being said is true (even if it doesn’t sound true) you just need to remember that they’re a paying customer and to treat them the same way as you would treat any other customer. Remember, no matter how rude or unreasonable a person is being, just respond as calmly and reasonably as possible.

Validating your customers emotions with respect will help resolve their frustration.

The positive steps for responding are

  • Thank the reviewer for providing their feedback.
  • Acknowledge their dissatisfaction.
  • If appropriate, point out the positive aspects of your business.
  • Invite them back to your business
  • Encourage them to contact you personally.

5. Take Feedback

A one off complaint doesn’t always help you improve your business, but if you get multiple complaints about the same thing, it’s clear that there’s an issue. If there’s an issue, the best thing you can do for your business is fix it. Being a good business person is not just about solving client’s problems, it’s about solving yours as well, so use customer reviews to improve your business.

6. Encourage more feedback

If you encourage happy customers to give you a good review, all your positive reviews will outweigh the negative ones in most potential customer’s minds. The more you do it, the better your business will look to potential customers. Positive reviews are a Google Local ranking factor. So good reviews are good for Google!

Example responses

Below are some examples of great ways to respond to reviews, check them out!

Dear Joel,

Thank you for taking the time to let us know of your experience. We strive to provide an extremely high level of service to all our customers. I’m not too sure about your situation however It sounds like we didn’t live up to that expectation for you.

I’d really like to discuss this further with you so we can resolve this. Please contact me on 0400 000 000 and I’ll personally ensure that you’re looked after.


Dear Maxine,
Thanks for leaving your feedback, I appreciate that you felt that you were rushed through your appointment with Dr Adrian and I apologise for that.

We would love to make this right for you, could you please contact me (Cindy) on 0400 000 000.



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