Thumbs Down: How To Respond To Negative Customer Reviews Of Your Business

thumbs down

The internet has places where people can leave reviews about you, your website, or your product. The big problem here is that you cannot always ask the review site to delete the review.

Yes, some reviews are not fair. But whatever happens, you need to seriously consider the fact that you did something that made your customers unhappy.  

What matters more, however, is how you respond to these reviews. The way you do it is what is going to make you rise above this rubble. Today, I will show you the best ways on how to respond to negative customer reviews of your business.

Apologize and empathize

Apologizing does not mean you are wrong. One subtle way to do this is to tell the consumer you are sorry that they are feeling this way, or that they had a bad experience.

Empathy, on the other hand, is a matter of letting the customer understand what he went through. You have to use words to make them feel that you understand their position.

These are the two things that you must do first. Why? Because they reduce the tension, and you are helping the customer understand that you are acknowledging the situation.

Here are social media responses to negative comments examples:

  • I am sorry for your experience.
  • Thank you for your honest feedback. We are sorry for the inconvenience that this has caused you.
  • We are deeply sorry for your experience; please know that we are willing to work out a situation to make you a happy customer.

As you can see, these situations do not aggravate the customer. You acknowledged the issue, and you told the customer that you are sorry about what happened. It basically tells the consumer that you care. And if you make the customer feel that you care, you will be able to handle the situation more effectively because you have diffused your customer’s anger.

Discuss the issue offline

One of the things you want to do immediately is to take the conversation offline. If the review was written in social media or a review site, you do not want more and more people to see details about the problem.


Because you want to lessen the public impact of the situation. The more you let this customer talk, the more people will know what really happened. And as you know, people are quick to judge. They will just pile up in the comment section, and you will have a bigger problem.

Offline does not mean 100% offline. While you can encourage your customer to call you, or that you would call, you can also use other methods.

Here are some recommendations:

  • Email
  • Chat
  • In-person

Both email and chat have a risk. Your customer could take a screenshot of your conversation and publish it online. If you ever decide to use these two methods, you have to be ready to handle it right.

Before you get in touch with your customer, make sure you have a solution ready. Try to get as many details from the issue as you could, and then prepare different possible solutions. This is going to make you happy.

Offer something to compensate

The next thing I want to share on how to respond to a negative review on Facebook or other platforms is to offer compensation. Sure, this will cost you money, but it will also make a customer change that review into something positive.

Here are some of the things you can offer:

  • A full refund
  • A product replacement after the customer returned the item
  • A store credit that the customer can use to buy on your store
  • An extra free item
  • A discount for future purchases

What you offer to compensate depends on many factors like cost, the actual issue, and the amount of money you will lose.

Also, make sure that you understand what made the customer unhappy. If the product is defective, you can easily offer a new one. If the product is not defective, but the shipping is late, there really is nothing you can do about it—but you can offer discounts for other items you are selling.

Offering compensation means that you are willing to correct your errors and that you are accountable for your mistakes. The good thing about it is that at least, the customer may be willing to change the negative review into something positive.

Provide an explanation if you could

There are many situations in business where it is really not your fault why something happened. As such, you owe it to your customer to explain what happened.

Ideally, you must keep the conversation short and sweet. But there are special situations where you have to offer an explanation.

One example is the experience I had after purchasing a book online. I ordered the book overseas. The delivery was supposed to be delivered in three months. However, after three months, the book was not even shipped yet!

I contacted the seller, and he explained to me that the book was as sent to the shipping courier. The problem was COVID-19. Because of the pandemic, all international shipments were put on hold. As such, the book arrived to me in five months instead of three months.

As you can see, I understood the situation, and I realized that it was not the seller’s fault. If you have this kind of situation where the problem has a special cause or reason, take the time to explain to your customer why it happened.

Also, it would help if you could make this explanation online—one special situation where you do not have to take the discussion offline.   

Never fight with the consumer

Whatever happens, never fight with the consumer. Even if the customer is wrong, he has the right to tell people about how he feels.

What you can do is to simply acknowledge the issue, and then apologize for the mistake. Sometimes, you will have situations where the reviews are fake. In these situations, you can ask the review website to delete the review.

This, however, cannot be done on Facebook. On Facebook, you can only delete comments on personal profile pages, not business pages.

No matter what, never engage in a fight. People who see this will immediately think that you are unprofessional. It is always better to just acknowledge the issue and then tell the customHer to take the issue offline.

Many customers will not rant online. But if you provoke them, they surely will be happy to destroy your reputation. All it really takes to handle bad customer reviews is patience. It does not matter if you are right or wrong—what matters is the consequence of your actions.

Summary: handling negative customer reviews

Customer satisfaction is the utmost priority for every company. If your customers are unhappy, it will trickle down the grapevine, and you will lose potential customers. One bad review and you may lose ten potential customers, as opposed to one good review that can lead to one more.

Take care of your reputation. When people leave bad reviews about your business, respond with professionalism. Try to offer some way to change their perception of you—correct your mistakes moving forward and then move on.

John Kilmerstone

I'm an Aussie living in Japan who enjoys traveling, photography, and blogging. Please visit this website and explore the wonderful world of blogging. Discover how to turn your passions and pastimes into an online business.

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