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5 Tips to Follow if You Receive a Negative Review Featured

5 Tips to Follow if You Receive a Negative Review black and white cordless computer keyboard

A series of negative reviews can tarnish a reputable business, but one bad review never caused a company to combust. With social media becoming popular in every age group, those negative reviews seem to be highlighted more frequently than they would a decade ago – causing concern to business owners.

So what should you do if you get a negative evaluation? Because let’s face it, if you haven’t already – you will. With 7 billion people on Earth, one person is bound not to like your product or service no matter how fantastic it is. When the evitable happens – here are five tips that you can do to soften the blow of the review. 

  1. Don’t panic! Take a deep breath. While this may be hard to do in the moment – like I said above – one bad review isn’t going to tank your business.
  1. Respond within 12-24 hours of the negative review. Make sure that you have had time to digest the negative review so your response is professional and not emotional. The sooner you can get in front of the negative review, the better.
  1. Be professional. This should go without saying, but if you need a reminder – be professional. Not everyone is going to like your product. You could start off by thanking them for the time it took them to write the review, and apologize your product or service did not meet their expectations. The customer was most likely looking forward to dining at your restaurant or receiving the vase in time to put their newly purchased flowers in. When the product came broken or the food came out cold – they were inconvenienced. A line like, “Hi Anne, thank you for taking the time to review our product. We are sorry that the vase came to you broken…”


  1. Offer a Solution. It’s a good idea to offer a suggestion on how you can rectify the wrong. Some problems are easier to solve than others, but it’s always a best practice to try. In the scenario above, you could offer to refund Anne’s money or to overnight a new vase to her. This shows the customer that you acknowledge your mistake and are dedicating to rectifying the situation. Another suggestion could be to offer the customer a gift card or a discount on their next purchase.


If there is no solution – a simply apology is all you can do. For instance, if you are a clothing boutique and someone gives you two stars because you do not offer plus-sized clothing you cannot possibly make it right – since you do not offer plus-sized clothing. A simple response of, “Hi Wendy, we are so sorry that you couldn’t find any plus-sized clothing at our boutique. Your feedback is valuable to us. We are working with our vendors for way to offer plus-size clothing in the future.”

What happens when the review is an outright lie? Unfortunately, some customers are vindictive and leave a negative review to purposely hurt a company. In some cases, they may even lie. If someone is going so far as to write a fake review on social media – I wouldn’t necessarily add fuel to the fire by getting into an argument with them. That can damage your brand even more.

  1. Ask a customer to edit their review once you have fixed the problem. If Anne’s vase arrived broken but you overnighted her another one – there is nothing wrong with asking her to edit her review. While she does not have to retract her statement, ask her if she is willing to edit her review to reflect how you solved the initiation problem. If Michael was upset that his food was cold, but you remedied the solution by giving him a $25 gift card, ask him to edit his review once he has used the gift card. This will show readers that while your business has had some hiccups in the past, you are willing to go above and beyond to remedy the situation. This shows not only your dedication to your customers, but your willingness to go above and beyond to solve the issue. This will give future customers piece of mind that if they dislike a product they will be able to return it without much hassle.

In conclusion if you receive a negative review, try not to panic. There are multiple steps you can take to right the wrong. By following these five tips you can begin to repair any damage that a bad review caused.  

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Danielle Loughnane

Danielle Loughnane earned her B.F.A. in Creative Writing from Emerson College and has currently been working in the data science field since 2015. She is the author of a comic book entitled, “The Superhighs” and wrote a blog from 2011-2015 about working in the restaurant industry called, "Sir I Think You've Had Too Much.” In her spare time she likes reading graphic novels and snuggling with her dogs.

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