How to Respond to Negative Reviews and Build a Positive Online Reputation

It’s no secret that online reviews can make or break a business. In fact, 84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations when it comes to making purchasing decisions. While positive reviews are great for business, negative reviews can be damaging. Not only do they hurt your reputation, but they can also discourage potential customers from doing business with you.

So, what should you do if you find yourself on the receiving end of a negative review?

Here are 15 steps to take:

1. Respond Quickly:

The first step is to respond quickly. Don’t let a negative review sit for too long without a response. The longer you wait, the more it will look like you don’t care about your customers.

2. Thank Them for Their Feedback:

Even though the feedback is negative, thank the customer for taking the time to write it. This shows that you’re open to constructive criticism and are willing to make changes based on feedback.

3. Take the Conversation Offline:

If possible, take the conversation offline. This way you can avoid a public back-and-forth between you and the unhappy customer.

4. Apologies:

Apologize for anything that might have gone wrong and caused the negative experience. Even if it wasn’t your fault, an apology shows that you’re willing to take responsibility and make things right.

5. Listen to Their Complaints:

Really listen to what the customer is saying. Try to understand their perspective and what led them to write the negative review.

6. Offer a Solution:

Once you’ve listened to the customer’s complaint, offer a solution. This could be a refund, discount, or something else that will resolve the issue.

7. Follow Up:

After you’ve offered a solution, follow up with the customer to make sure they’re satisfied. This shows that you’re not just trying to brush the issue under the rug.

8. Learn from Your Mistakes:

Use negative reviews as an opportunity to learn and improve your business. Take a look at what went wrong and see if there’s anything you can do to prevent it from happening again in the future.

9. Respond to Negative Reviews Publicly:

While you should try to take the conversation offline, there will be times when you need to respond publicly. If you do, keep your response professional and polite.

10. Don’t Get Personal:

It can be tempting to get personal when responding to a negative review, but resist the urge. This will only make the situation worse and could damage your reputation further.

11. Avoid Arguing:

Arguing with a customer is never a good idea. Not only will it make you look bad, but it will also give the customer more ammunition to use against you.

12. Be Careful with Your Words:

Choose your words carefully when responding to a negative review. Avoid using inflammatory language or making promises you can’t keep.

13. Don’t Delete Negative Reviews:

It might be tempting to delete negative reviews but resist the urge. This will only make you look like you’re trying to hide something. Plus, it could encourage other customers to write fake positive reviews to offset the negative ones.

14. Monitor Your Online Reputation:

Keep an eye on your online reputation and address any negative reviews as soon as possible. The sooner you do, the less damage they’ll cause.

15. Seek Out Positive Reviews:

In addition to responding to negative reviews, make an effort to get more positive ones. This will help offset the damage and improve your overall reputation.

These are just a few recommendations when it comes to negative reviews. By following these steps, you can minimize the damage and even turn a negative review into a positive one.


No one likes to receive negative reviews, but they’re inevitable. The best way to deal with them is to respond quickly, take the conversation offline, and offer a solution. Learning from your mistakes and monitoring your online reputation can also help you prevent future negative reviews. And finally, don’t forget to seek out positive reviews to offset the damage.