4 Best Practices When Responding to Negative Customer Reviews

Last Updated: April 6, 2021

Negative reviews hurt, period. No one, be it an individual or a company, wants to read about the things customers don’t like about their experiences with your products or services. Although the words hurt now, how you react to negative reviews on social media sites will determine the ultimate outcome of the situation – will you let the review tarnish your reputation, or will you allow it to enhance the way your company is portrayed?

Assess the Situation

Unfortunately, unless you have a very small number of negative reviews, it can be impossible to respond to each and every one. It is important to closely assess a negative review and only respond when you can own the issue, describe how future customers will not have this issue again, and offer to resolve the issue. By offering high-quality customer service and taking the time to truly evaluate each comment, you are also giving yourself time to recover from the initial sting, which will allow you to respond in a more level-headed manner.

Write for the Audience

While you should be focused on the specific customer/review at hand, it is crucial that you are writing for your potential customer base as a whole when responding to negative reviews. These are the people reading the reviews; these are your potential customers. This will help you not only address the issue brought up in the comment, but also project to your audience what kind of business you are running and the priority of customer satisfaction you have.

Acknowledge Your Mistake

The first and most important step to responding to negative reviews is to man up to your (or your business’) mistake and apologize to the customer – even if you disagree with their claims. You want to avoid, at all costs, getting into an argument, whether it be an explanation of “what really happened” or an accusation that they are blowing things out of proportion. The majority of review readers, aka potential customers, will always side with the customer’s reviews. Swallow your pride, apologize, and find a way to remedy the situation.

Fix the Problem

Give the customer what they want. If they are unhappy with a product or service, offer to replace it, upgrade it, whatever it takes to meet their expectations. Often times, if a customer takes you up on the offer, they will edit their negative review without any persuasion. Even if they deny the offer, it still shows them (and other potential customers) that your business cares, and that the negative experience is not the way you aim to conduct business. Customer satisfaction is the ultimate goal, and offering a solution will earn back your customers’ trust.

No matter how dissatisfied or angry a review sounds, it is never a lost cause. If the customer has taken the time to give feedback, positive or negative, they are hopeful the company will take the review into consideration and address any issues that were brought up. No business can expect only positive reviews all the time; appreciate the negative reviews, and use them to improve your services and build client trust.

With HappyFox, take advantage of our software integrations to help address negative reviews quickly to prevent any sort of escalation and regain your customer’s confidence. Visit our website today to learn more!

Have you dealt with negative reviews? Let us know how you handle poor customer reviews below!


  • Tabitha Naylor

    Tabitha Jean Naylor is the Founder of Successful Startup 101, a digital magazine that provides answers to today's most pertinent questions facing startup founders, and the Owner of TabithaNaylor.com. Her intimate knowledge of how sales and marketing go hand-in-hand has resulted in a variety of successful campaigns for start-ups through publicly traded companies, including Adobe and Microsoft. Ms. Naylor holds a dual bachelor degree in Political Science and International Business from West Virginia University, where she graduated magna cum laude.