How to Deal With Negative Reviews Online

Nov 10, 2021

After all the hard work that you’ve put into your business, it can be unsettling and even infuriating to find a negative review. You’re looking for positive reviews but there’s a harsh review from an angry customer on your Google My Business profile. That’s when you begin to wonder ‘how do I deal with negative Google reviews?”. The entire process of managing you online reputation and answering the question of how to deal with negative reviews online and offline might seem daunting at first.

Can you let it pass? Should you ask your team to ignore the negative feedback? How to address a bad review?

Alright, first things first. Please relax.

Even if it’s a rare experience, don’t take it too hard. It happens to the best of the businesses. The most-loved brands on the planet also get negative online reviews. Once in a while, you’ll get an angry customer. You can’t please everyone all the time.

Secondly, you too would have left negative feedback sometime. It might have been to a customer service representative at the airline or the waiter at a restaurant.

The focus should be on how would you handle an unfavourable comment or negative review from customer. Remember that a negative online review is also a chance to improve your business. It could be about an area that you didn’t know about like delays in order deliveries or faulty packaging.

It might also be about the wait times for customer service, which might tell you that you need more trained individuals. So, the effort should be on effectively managing negative reviews.

how to deal with negative reviews online

How and when to respond to bad reviews

Respond promptly

You should respond as soon as you see negative feedback on a review platform like Google reviews. You should apologise and even if you don’t have the details, tell them that you’ll get back soon.

Interact as an individual

Don’t sign off as “Staff” or “Team.” Introduce yourself and talk like an individual and not as a business. Show why you’re personally concerned that the customer would have a negative experience.

Ask questions

Instead of judging the customer, your intent should be to find out what happened. Calmly request them to explain the situation either on the platform or through a private channel. No matter what you do, keep in mind that others can see your response on the review platform.

Be empathetic

Think from the customer’s point of view and resist the urge to defend your business. Even with the best of systems and processes, mistakes do happen. Empathise with the reviewer without judging their intentions.

Ask your team

Once you get the information from the angry customer, talk to your team members. Check your system and verify the incident. If it’s related to a third party like a delivery partner, get in touch with them.

Apologise publicly

If it’s a mistake from your side, you should apologise to the customer publicly. Say that it’s not what you expect from your business and you would have done the same had you been in their position.

Take it to a private channel

Request the customer to move the conversation to a private channel like email or phone call. Give them your contact details and ensure that they can easily reach you.

Thank them

As a business owner, you should also thank the customer for bringing the issue to your attention. Be grateful that now you have an opportunity to learn and improve your customer service. A negative review is like mini market research for you.

Request removal if it’s a fake review

If you can’t find out any record of the customer’s experience, then it could be a fake review. Publicly state on the review platform that you have no record and request the customer to produce any if they have them. If they can’t, request them to remove the bad review and flag it for the review platform.

Negative review attack: examples of how to deal with negative reviews

You can use the texts below as a guidance for your negative review response template:

Dear Dave, I’m sorry that your order was delivered late. I’ve checked with our delivery partners and they agree that there was a delay. I apologise for your inconvenience and have taken the necessary measures to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. Would it be possible to talk privately about this incident? Thank you.”


Customer Service Manager

Dear Sean, I’m sorry that you had a bad experience with one of our staff members. It’s against everything we stand for. We’ve reviewed the incident and decided to terminate the services of the individual. I sincerely apologise and request you to email me at _______.

Thank you. 



In short

A negative review, if managed well, can lead to positive results and improved customer experience. You also gain a great learning experience in the process. You can request happy customers to talk about their interactions and by doing this provide valuable feedback for your potential customers. If you find positive reviews, you should use those as testimonials on your website, Google My Business profile, e-mails, and all other marketing collateral.

Marketing Insights