How to respond to a negative review?

How to respond to a negative review?

We know how important it is for businesses to collect reviews. If anything, the process of gathering reviews in itself is a tedious task.  

The tricky part is that while customers are quick to write in negative reviews, positive reviews have to be coaxed out of them. Both negative and positive reviews are essential in maintaining your reputation management. 

As business owners, you must have come across a rather sticky situation where a customer left you a particularly nasty review. You might at the moment feel overwhelmed by emotions and want to give a quick, fitting reply.

This need for instant gratification may not bode well and cause more harm than good. So what should you do instead? Follow these steps to ensure you know how to respond to a negative review responsibly.

Steps on how to respond to a negative review


  • Stay Calm

    Yes it’s a huge blow and makes you feel sad to read a negative review. It’s natural to feel angry. Remember to take a moment and compose yourself before you hit the keyboard.  A response written in anger will not bode well for your business.

  • Respond timely

    Do not let the negative comment stay unattended for a long time. Not replying on time will do more harm. People check reviews regularly and form their opinions based on them. If they come across a negative review that has not been replied to, they will most likely form a negative opinion about your business.

    Not replying on time will also make the reviewer feel unimportant and frustrated. Thus, it becomes extremely essential to reply timely so as to maintain customer satisfaction and also enhance customer experience. It’s good to respond within 24 to 48 hours.

  • Acknowledge the review

    Take a second and step into your customer’s shoes. Anything could have triggered a bad experience for them. Maybe they already had a bad day and an inconvenience with your business made it worse? Maybe it was genuinely a mistake from your end. Always take an empathetic approach when it comes to negative customer reviews.

    The way you deal with these reviews will lay the foundation for establishing the kind of values your business follows. Assure the reviewer that you understand their grievances and that you will go all out to help them have a better experience.

  • Apologize

    Always remember to add these two things in your reply : Thank you and Sorry.

    Thank them for taking out time and leaving your business a review. Do not get defensive. It might be your first reaction but you need to realise that doing so would put you in a bad position among your customers. Be sure to add a sincere apology for the inconvenience cost. Reiterate how sorry you are about the error from your end and give an assurance that you will try and make things right.

  • Offer to connect offline

    Do not just view a negative review as a threat or a black mark on your reputation. If dealt with properly and understood thoroughly it is a major learning opportunity. Keeping this in mind offer the reviewer a chance to talk on a different platform or connect offline.

    You can assign a dedicated agent to understand the reviewers trouble or you can provide the reviewer a dedicated contact number on which they can reach out to and explain the trouble in detail.

    Not only do you get to learn and improve but it also shows the reviewer and the other customers who read the review that you are willing to go the extra  mile to provide your customers the best possible service. 

  • Provide an explanation

    Customers deserve to know why there was an inadequacy in service  from your end, it is one of the reasons why they left a strongly worded review. They want to be heard and given a reasonable explanation about the same.

    If it was a genuine miskatke tell them so, if it is something you are currently working on improving let them know as well! Its good to be as transparent as possible. Let the reviewer know that they are not just dealing with business front but with real actual people behind who are ready to listen and resolve.

    A lot of times when you fix the issue and customers understand the reason for the mistake from your end they will go back and add a new review to reflect this change.


Yes, its a particularly uncomfortable situation to be in when you receive negative reviews. As you might have gathered by now, it is however not impossible to get out of this situation gracefully. Well mind you, by getting out we do not mean ignore the review and move on!Learning how to respond to a negative review isn’t difficult, keep a clear mind, follow the above mentioned steps and resolve to provide a better experience for your customer and you will be good to go. 

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