How to respond to negative online reviews

How to respond to negative online reviews

Online reviews on sites like Google, Facebook or ecommerce websites give consumers a way to share their experiences with a business.

As much as positive reviews help to sell. Negative reviews can have real consequences, reduce revenue and damage brand reputation.

Does a negative review really matter?

Online reviews can certainly influence a potential customer’s perception of a company.

According to recent studies:

  • 97% of people read reviews for local businesses.
  • 93% of consumers say online reviews impact their purchasing decisions.
  • 95% of consumers say that a bad review has convinced them to avoid a business.
  • 54% of consumers expect a response to their negative review.
  • Only 13% of consumers will consider a business with a 1 or 2 star rating.
  • Small businesses with a 1–1.5 star rating on Google generate 33% less revenue than the average business.

How to respond to negative reviews?

Even if you’ve only had a small number of negative or fake reviews, it’s always worth putting time into managing your online reputation.

Consider our suggestions when responding to negative online reviews:

  • Respond as quickly as possible.
  • Acknowledge the customer’s complaint.
  • Apologise and empathise.
  • Offer a solution. Let the customer know what you’re going to do to resolve the problem.
  • Stick to the facts. Don’t get emotional.
  • Move the conversation offline (email or phone). Don’t engage in long conversations back and forth.
  • Be personal in your sign off. Use your name rather than your business name.
  • Make It Right. If the issue can be fixed, fix it.
  • Don’t forget… “the customer is king!”


Online reviews are important. It’s good practice to ask for reviews from customers who have had particularly good experiences. You could also help this along by sending customers a direct link to your online review page, for example Google MyBusiness.

The fact is, negative online reviews hurt your business but if you always respond and show your business in a positive light it will impress your customers and strengthen your brand image.

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