How Should A Business Owner Respond To Negative Reviews?

So, you’ve received bad reviews lately about your product or services. Negative reviews are bound to happen. While it’s nigh impossible not to have one, business owners can minimize the risk of receiving. One effective way is knowing how to respond—the right way.


Negative customer reviews have a unique power—to erode trust and credibility in a brand. Bad reviews can create uncertainty in the minds of potential consumers making informed decisions. What’s more, negative experiences tend to stick in our minds that often outweigh the positives. One unfortunate encounter can overshadow positive feedback. Therefore, it is in our nature to be more cautious. It can lead to a decrease in customers and loss of sales, especially for online businesses.


Customer Review Statistic

79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from someone they know.

Source: BrightLocal


All businesses online do not go unscathed from terrible reviews found on their Google Business Profile (GBP) or websites. Nevertheless, there are proper ways to handle and respond to negative feedback online from customers.


ALSO READ: 7 Benefits Of Using Google Business Profile


9 Things A Business Owner Should Do When Handling Negative Online Reviews


Adopt the right attitude


Some businesses can defensively brush off negative feedback and criticisms alike. But we must adapt to a different avenue. A better approach is to see it in a different light as an opportunity for improvement. Acknowledging what is lacking and what needs to be improved lets you recognize the imperfections and adopt a customer-centric perspective that resonates with potential clients.


Listen to feedback in an attentive manner. And empathizing with the concerns raised allows us to respond promptly and effectively. It shows your unwavering commitment to resolving problems and improving relationships with clients. It also shows that you value each feedback. These are the traits of a positive brand that is trusted and has a genuine appreciation for viewpoints shared. After all, in the grand scheme of things, negative feedback is never a sign of a “positive” business. But rather a pointing indication of a business that values progress, quality, and excellence. What draws bad ones from good ones is the willingness for improvement.


Avoid using ready-made answers


All customers are never the same. Each one has different needs and concerns worth considering. Offering a canned response or ready-made answer is a surefire way of undermining authentic interaction. Genuine connections to clients, even online, are founded on understanding their needs, directly addressing specific situations, and building tailored solutions. Customers expect more than robotic replies. Repetitive responses also leave a negative impact on your Local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) since you are targeting to earn local customers.


ALSO READ: Is Doing Local SEO Worth It?


By steering clear of generic answers, especially on GBP, we take the road of personalizing our approach to resolve each issue. That is a sign of dedication, another positive trait of an ideal brand that earns trust and a positive online reputation despite imperfection. We must understand that the ultimate goal is to establish bonds and secure our clients to earn respect and deserving sales.


Dealing with Negative Reviews


Thank them for giving their feedback


Whenever we find ourselves staring at the face of negative feedback, our approach must always be rooted in gratitude. Why? Each feedback is a valuable opportunity—a gateway knowledge for improvement and growth, even if some are fake negative reviews. Learning is an essential experience for every organization and business striving to be successful. Thus, rather than shying away from negative reviews and criticisms, it is ideal to welcome them with sincerity. Thank your customers for taking the time to share their insights, suggestions, and opinions.


Apologize for any negative experience


Apologizing in a sincere fashion is one way of acknowledging one’s unfortunate experience and a demonstration of empathy. When customers start to raise their concerns and voice their criticisms or express dissatisfaction about the problems they experience, it is the perfect opportunity to show your business value and commitment to making things right. Apologizing can help diffuse tension and is a way to rebuild your relationship with clients while assuring their feedback is being taken seriously.


When apologizing for negative reviews, make it concise and straight to the point while being meaningful. Include your proposal or suggestion of action that you will perform to resolve their dissatisfaction, which will lead to our next pointer.


Address concerns with a solution


Apologizing is not enough when concerns are not addressed in a proper fashion. We are all too familiar with the maxim that “words without actions are meaningless” and nothing has ever been this true when running a business online. When you address concerns with a viable solution that does not burden your customer, you are transcending your acknowledgment of the issue by offering a practical resolution. What it means, you are taking a step further, a proactive avenue in which you are involving yourself in a specific problem and fulfilling a commitment to service.


Unfortunately, many businesses online, big or small, may tend to brush the issues and negative reviews off by simply acknowledging and apologizing without offering any answers to real problems. It is one effective tactic to stand apart from the competition. Trust-building is a necessary step of advantage to earn a positive reputation in an industry.


Respond quickly


As we are about to offer resolutions to problems, we must ensure readiness to address the situations immediately. Consider asking this: Are we capable enough to address them promptly when it is crucial? One way to gauge how you can healthily manage negative responses is through the speed of response. Further delaying your responses will only amplify frustration and negativity. If you are about to give answers and solutions, might as well give it as soon as possible.


Statistic About Quick Response to Negative Feedback

53% of customers expect companies to respond to negative feedback within one week.

Source: Review Trackers


If you need to buy some time to investigate and formulate a reasonable, comprehensive response, consider providing an initial response to acknowledge the feedback or problem to reassure customers that you recognize and hear their concerns.


Show empathy


When we respond promptly and quickly, never fail to demonstrate empathy, as this will affect others’ perception of your business. Empathy humanizing your brand, allowing you to make connections with your customers and foster a sense of goodwill and trust. One effective way to show empathy is the use of empathetic language to convey your willingness and sincerity to address their issues. Put yourself into their shoes and use a more personal, friendly, or warm tone. Robotic or overly formal is a no-go approach.


Additionally, you may want to show transparency and ask for further details (when the feedback is vague) since this helps build more trust and show willingness to take responsibility for errors.


Send a follow-up


Sending a follow-up is one way of letting you know if your customers are satisfied with the resolution and that you value their satisfaction. After addressing the issue, apologizing, and thanking them, asking for a follow-up goes a long way in emphasizing dedication and continuous improvement. It lets you determine if your actions, assistance, and approach to resolution are viable to provide and appropriate in the first place.


Remember to keep the tone in a positive manner and ensure that the follow-up is timely. It is how to provide proper customer service even if the reception to a product or service is negative.


Highlight the positive reviews


Showcasing positive reviews helps mitigate the impact of negative feedback and balance the perspective of potential customers. It creates an equilibrium of dialogues that highlights various strengths and weak points of a product or service. Alongside addressing specific concerns and providing direct answers, you can gently focus on the positive experiences that other customers share as occasional issues may arise, the majority of which may have had satisfactory encounters.


ALSO READ: Why You Should Not Fake Your Google Business Profile’s Customer Reviews


However, this must be done with exceptional planning and consideration without appearing to disregard any negative reviews from other customers. Here are a few ideas to help:


  1. Respond to negative reviews first and address them with empathy (alongside solutions) before highlighting positive feedback.
  2. Balance in communication by avoiding language that may dismiss or belittle negative feedback.
  3. Choose a mix of positive reviews to showcase a variety that reflects on different aspects of the business, from customer service to product quality.
  4. Incorporate constructive content or a message into your response that mentions your commitment to addressing a concern and continuous improvement to reaffirm your dedication to correct and make the customer experience better.



How to Highlight Positive Reviews Without Disregarding Negative Feedbacks

  • Respond to negative reviews first
  • Have a balance in communication
  • Choose and present a variety of reviews
  • Incorporate constructive content into your response




Addressing concerns found on your website and Google Business Profile helps you maintain a positive brand that can be trusted. Not only that but it also provides a significant advantage to your digital marketing campaign or when you’re conducting an optimization and stand apart from the competition. Remember, each negative review represents a chance to identify room for improvement and an opportunity to showcase your commitment to excellence and build a stronger relationship with your target market online.


For professional digital marketing expertise for optimal results, contact OOm PH at +639173262104. We will gladly reach back for any digital marketing concerns or needs.