Responding to Negative Online Reviews

Negative Online Reviews

Even at your best, delivering your business services can unfortunately go wrong and ultimately customers will be unhappy and jump online to leave negative online reviews.

Ten years ago they might have written to you to complain – this would have been a private matter. However, nowadays it is much easier for them to make their views public on various review websites. These means the business owner has no comeback before publication.

Since the majority of your potential customers will read online reviews before visiting your business it is critical you proactively respond to any negative online reviews; in fact any reviews.

How To Find Your Online Reviews

Negative Online Reviews Google Alerts

Before you can respond to an online review you need to know that people are writing reviews about your business. You may check the obvious places like Google My Business or TripAdvisor (if you are in the service industry) but it is much easier if you get emailed by Google if your business is mentioned on the Internet.

To do this set up a Google Alerts by going to

Dealing With Negative Online Reviews

If you get negative online reviews the first thing to do is not to respond while you’re still upset as you are very likely to inflame the situation rather than calm the situation down. Don’t blame the reviewer for a false or misleading comment.

Objectively investigate the issues raised in the review making sure you do not just bury you head in the sand thinking everything is perfect.

Finally, compose a response that is polite and that addresses their legitimate concerns.


Be Genuine, Empathise and Engage with the reviewer


It’s not just about writing back, it’s about how you do it.

If there are negative online reviews and there is genuine fault from your side, sincerely apologise and ensure that you note that the problem has been resolved. Wherever possible go into some detail how the issue they have complained about has been resolved. This demonstrates that this is not just a standard response and you have really got on top of the issue. Remember you are really writing this response for the next reader who is a potential visitor.

Remember to engage wherever possible with reviewers. If there is a moderate review posted you could ask for ideas on how things could be improved. If there is a positive review, thank them, encourage them to come back and ask them to share with their friends. Remember positive online reviews build online reputation.


Use SEO Keywords in Your Review Responses


Always be genuine and respond as yourself but do also remember that your response will also be “read” by the search engines and therefore whenever possible include website keywords as these will help your generic listing on the search engine results.

If you are not engaging with your customers (good and bad comments), when relevant, you could be hurting your business’s image. It’s time to get involved, speak up and get heard.

Have you received negative online reviews? Leave us a comment on how you tackled the issue.

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