How To Handle Negative Online Reviews


In today’s world, so many things are done online, including reviews of your company or business’s products and/or services. And, truth be told, these online reviews can make or break your business. Keep reading as we discuss the importance of online reviews, how exactly bad online reviews can impact your business, and helpful tips for handling negative online reviews that will help you get your business back in the good graces of consumers.

The Importance Of Online Reviews

Online reviews are often a huge deciding factor for whether or not to purchase a product or service. In fact, according to the popular small business financial resource, Fundera, a “whopping 79% of U.S. adult Internet users” refer to previous online reviews before they make a purchase. And according to Entrepreneur, “two-thirds of customers form their opinion of a business after reading just four reviews.”

Positive online reviews can “drive customers and clients” to your business, and negative reviews can send them looking for similar products and services elsewhere. According to Forbes, “five positive reviews on Yelp have been shown to boost a business by up to 10%, whereas one really bad negative review can cost tens of thousands of dollars in business.” Talk about pressure!

The Unfortunate Power Of Online Negative Reviews

The saying goes, “Bad news travels fast.” And, whoever came up with this witty expression was 100% right. Negative reviews pack such a punch because of how quickly they can travel. And, the worst part of all is that they can destroy the reputation of your business faster than good reviews can improve it.

Handling Online Negative Reviews

Bad online reviews can and do happen. But, we do have some good news. By following these helpful tips, you don’t have to let them ruin your company’s reputation.

1. Don’t ignore negative reviews.  

You should always acknowledge and personally respond to negative reviews. Ignoring them just makes your company look bad, or worse, like you don’t care about your customers. Who wants to do business with a company who doesn’t care about their customers and clients?

Plus, responding to a negative review might even cause the reviewer to have a change of heart. According to Vival, “33% of negative reviews turn positive when you respond to them.”

If you’re in the healthcare industry, you’ll want to pay attention to these tips before responding publicly to reviews.

2. Respond quickly.

Respond to your bad online reviews as quickly as possible. If you need more time to come up with a professional response or a solution to rectify the situation, at least acknowledge that you have seen the review in the meantime. You can always respond by thanking the reviewer for their feedback, apologizing for their experience, and explaining that you would like to get in touch with them to talk about the situation offline.

3. Be polite and professional.

It’s important to always be polite and professional in your response. One way to achieve this is not to get personal or defensive. You can also put yourself in the place of the reviewer and think about how you would like a company to respond to you.

4. Show empathy.

Empathizing with the person who wrote your bad online review goes a long way in repairing that damaged relationship because it makes the other person feel heard. And, a lot of the time, “most customers who complain on the Internet simply want to be heard.” One way to show empathy is to thank them for their time and feedback as well as stress that you take their comments seriously.

5. If your business is in the wrong, apologize.

If your company made a mistake, apologize for doing so and do what you need to do to make it right. If you truly aren’t in the wrong, then you don’t necessarily have to take “responsibility for things that weren’t your fault,” but you can still show the reviewer that you “genuinely regret” that they didn’t have a good experience. This is another great way to show empathy.

6. Don’t engage an argument with the reviewer.

Sadly, there are a lot of online bullies out there who have an agenda of trying to make your business look bad by drawing you into an online argument. If you respond to the review in the best way possible, and the reviewer keeps trying to engage you in an argument, then take the discussion offline.

Learn From Your Negative Reviews

Sometimes negative reviews can be great learning experiences. They allow you to see what your business is doing wrong as well as give you an opportunity to make your products and services even better. Fundera insists that you consider negative online reviews “free market research!”

How EmoryDay Can Help Keep Your Online Reputation Intact

The marketing experts at EmoryDay know how important online reviews are to your business, and we have the savvy skills to help you tactfully answer any negative reviews that may come your way. Let EmoryDay monitor your online reputation!


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    Create a Free Account
  • 2.
    FREE Custom Marketing Plan
    (no obligation)
  • 3.
    Select only the services you want.