Article Marketing & Sales

3 steps to respond to negative customer reviews

Negative reviews can feel daunting, but ignoring them isn’t the answer. In fact, you can turn a negative review into a positive by addressing the comments quickly and offering a courteous resolution to the issue. This signals your brand can handle criticism and is committed to making things right for your customers. 

  • Fifty-three percent of customers expect a response to a negative review within a week.
  • Intent to purchase more than doubled among customers who saw a brand respond to a negative review versus those who did not.
  • Forty-one percent of customers also believe that a brand cares more about its buyers when it responds to reviews.

 1. Assess the review

Before you craft an effective response, make sure you understand the review’s intent. A negative review that is looking for a resolution will likely warrant a different response than one that is just venting frustrations. Assess the reviewer’s complaints to determine which team member is best equipped to either directly handle or consult on the response. This will help with the direction of your response and result in a more satisfying conclusion.

Quick Tip 

Monitoring your online reputation on popular review sites, such as Yelp, Google or Facebook, will help you address all reviews in a timely manner.

2. Craft reply

Replies will vary depending on the review itself, but any response to a negative review should have at least three parts:

  • An apology
  • An offer to make it right
  • An assurance that their feedback is important

First, express your empathy for the frustration or disappointment the customer may be feeling. Then, offer to resolve the issue, providing a more private means of communication to continue the conversation with the appropriate contact. Finally, thank them for their feedback and make it clear that you have taken it seriously. Strive to improve your operations to prevent the same issue from occurring in the future, especially if it’s not an isolated incident.

Quick Tip

Never reply in a defensive tone or insinuate that the customer is lying. It will only reflect poorly on your company and turn away customers.

3. Continue in private

Once you’ve responded to the review, continue the conversation one-on-one with the customer to find a solution. Put the customer in touch with the right employee to resolve any technical problems, issue a refund or send a replacement product.

Quick Tip

If you have properly resolved the customer’s complaint, ask for an update to the original negative review so they can share that the issue was amicably resolved.


Negative reviews can be disheartening, but it’s important to respond to them in a timely and effective manner. Take responsibility and work to find a solution for the customer. Because intent to purchase more than doubles in customers who see a brand respond to a negative review, you can turn this into a positive by showing buyers how committed you are to customer satisfaction.

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