How to respond to negative reviews

Customer reviews can make or break a business. Online reviews have become a crucial factor in a customer’s purchasing decision, and businesses need to be proactive in responding to them. Responding to customer reviews is not only a sign of good customer service, but it also shows potential customers that you are committed to addressing concerns and resolving issues.

This guide provides a step-by-step approach to responding to online customer reviews, whether they are positive or negative.

Step 1: Stay calm!

No matter how negative or badly worded a review may be, it’s essential to remain professional and composed. Remember that your response represents your business, and the internet can be unforgiving. 

Don’t try to respond to every point.

It’s essential to respond to the reviewer’s overall issue and not get bogged down by responding to every detail. Avoid responding to attacks on individuals or what they may have said to the reviewer.

Step 2: Thank the reviewer for their feedback.

It’s crucial to acknowledge the reviewer’s input, even if you are super annoyed. Offer concrete appreciation for their feedback and thank them for taking the time to share their experience.

Example: Thanks for all the detailed feedback. We appreciate the valuable perspective and constructive criticism you shared in your post.

Step 3: Apologise.

If there was an issue that caused the negative review, apologise for it with integrity. The apology doesn’t need to be specific but should acknowledge the frustration the reviewer felt.

Example: First off, we want to apologise for any frustration you have felt with our customer service.

Step 4: Explain.

Clarify your intent, be transparent, and share your information. Correct any inaccuracies the reviewer may have mentioned in their post.

Example: To clarify any confusion, our standard service price is $466 for the first service. There may have been some confusion when you were first quoted the price of $250; however, the error was on our end, and we honoured this price for your first service. Our pricing reflects our high standard of work, qualified technicians, and state-of-the-art equipment. Servicing with a certified Holden dealer ensures your Barina will always remain in top condition.

Step 5: Outline next steps.

Provide concrete next steps to address the reviewer’s concerns. Be as specific as possible about how the issue is being addressed. Consider offering a discount to incentivise the reviewer to come back.

Example: At [Company Name], we aim to ensure our customers are always happy with our service, and in hopes that you will come back and give us another chance, we would like to offer you a 10% discount off your next service.

Step 6: Finish.

Thank the reviewer again for their feedback and encourage them to contact you directly to resolve the issue. This way, you can have a personal conversation to try to convince them to take down their negative review.

Example: Again, thank you for your feedback. Your feedback helps us to ensure that our service department is continuously improving. If you could contact me directly by email ( or by phone (02 9999 9999), I will be more than happy to discuss with you further. I hope that you are willing to give us another chance for your next service.

Step 7: Follow up with personal contact offline.

If possible, try to reach out to the reviewer directly to resolve the issue. Once the issue has been resolved, ask the reviewer if they are willing to remove their negative review.

If the review is fake, names/targets an individual, or has inappropriate content, you can try to have it removed by using the ‘Report a Problem’ link in Google or contacting the site administrator for reviews posted on other websites.

In conclusion, responding to customer reviews, whether positive or negative, is an essential aspect of customer service in today’s digital age. 

Following these steps can help you craft a thoughtful and effective response to online customer reviews. Remember to stay calm, thank the reviewer for their feedback, apologise if necessary, explain your intent, outline next steps, and encourage personal contact offline to resolve the issue. 

By following this guide, you can demonstrate your commitment to customer satisfaction, and potentially even turn negative reviews into positive ones.

Need help managing your online reputation and responding to reviews? Get in touch to see how we can help. Fill in the form below.

Complete the form below & we'll be in touch.

More like this...