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Aug 2, 2017 - Posted by TopWritersReviews

Responding to Negative Online Reviews – It’s an Art

It is often said that “One, aw sh**t wipes out 100 atta-boys.” This is certainly true today, as businesses find themselves almost at the mercy of consumers who can “shout” their opinions all over the web.

A company can go along, resting on its laurels, asking happy customers for their statements and testimonials, and enjoying a pretty good online reputation.

All of a sudden, a few negative reviews pop up on social media or on a consumer review site, or a video surfaces (ala United Airlines), and a good reputation has been destroyed. Now a business owner, or the PR/marketing department finds itself having to respond to negative feedback in a public way, just as it was given.

How to Respond to Negative Online Reviews

Everyone knows how to respond to thank you and other positive comments from customers. We are gracious and exclaim how much we appreciate their feedback – we may even give them a discount on future purchases.

But when the comments/feedback are negative, how much do we know about responding to negative reviews well enough to mitigate the damage and turn an angry, upset consumer into at least a neutral if not a satisfied consumer.

Here are some important strategies and tips to respond to negative reviews.

  1. Make Full Use of Social Mention Tools

You need to be alerted as soon as a negative comment or review appears because you have to respond to bad review comments immediately. Everyone who reads that comment or review must also see your response to it.

  1. Take a Minute and Calm Yourself Before you respond to feedback

It’s easy to become defensive and even angry when you believe negative online reviews are untruthful or unfair. But you have to be the “adult in the room,” stay calm, and rise above emotion, no matter how emotional the negative comments may be.

  1. Validate the Consumer’s Feelings

You don’t have to agree with a consumer’s opinions to validate the feelings or the experience that caused that opinion. Always respond to reviews with a beginning statement that says you understand their anger or frustration, or whatever it is they are feeling.


  1. Admit Mistakes

One of the things that humans have is the power and the desire to forgive when someone admits a mistake. Such an admission does not make you weak – in fact, it can give you more power to influence others.

A terrible sample response to negative feedback was the United Airlines executive who immediately backed up the security guards who dragged and injured a passenger, as they physically removed him from a plane, stating that they did the right thing. The blowback was horrific, and, of course, following statements had to admit that a terrible mistake had been made. Not admitting the mistake right up front was the second huge mistake made by the company.

  1. Offer a Reasonable and Satisfying Solution

It does not take that much to “neutralize” a negative and publicly vocal customer. First apologize and validate. Next, identify how you can make it right. If they are upset about the quality of a product, offer a full refund and another product free of charge. Explain that your quality control department will look carefully at the issues with the product with an eye to improving it.

Often, in looking at examples of responses to negative reviews, you will find that a company spokesman will ask the upset customer to contact them personally so that they can discuss the issue further. This is a good tactic, but it should be preceded by a public solution, so that others know that this consumer will be receiving some redress of his/her grievance.

  1. Find Companies That Do It Right and Study Them

If you are struggling with how you do respond to bad reviews/comments, find companies that are doing it well. Check out their social media platforms and read customer complaints and company responses. When you find a negative review response example that is done well, copy and paste it, begin to develop a reference manual, so that you can use the same language and successful tactics.

You cannot avoid negative comments – because you cannot control the feelings and experiences of every customer. What you can do is stop, take a breath, get your emotions out of it, validate the customer’s feelings, and come up with a solution that will satisfy the customer. Be humble and be diplomatic.

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