How to Handle Negative Customer Reviews

A man with a paper bag on head worries about negative reviews

Negative reviews: something no business likes and every business gets. When you get negative reviews, you know you have to respond to them, but it’s not always clear what the best way is to approach it. Do you respond to their review directly? Contact them personally? Just ignore it? We have some suggestions on how to handle negative customer reviews.

Discuss the Review Privately

When you are criticized publicly, and everything else in the world seems to be public, it can be easy to want to discuss the review publicly. However, this is not a great idea. You want the discussion to be personal, not a show on social media. Comment on their review publicly, but in the comment ask for the best way to discuss the issue further. This may be via Facebook Messenger, a phone call, or even them coming back to your business in person to discuss. By discussing the issue privately, you can make the conversation much more personal and really get to a resolution without a public eye and others chiming in. 

Respond Quickly and Kindly

Your first instinct is likely to be defensive when you and/or your business is criticized (especially when someone is called out by name). It’s important to respond quickly to negative reviews, but it’s also important to respond kindly. If you feel yourself getting defensive, step away for a moment before responding. Then, respond to their review quickly and kindly. Offer to discuss privately, and continue to be kind in the conversation. Make the conversation personal, not just a “copy and paste” response. It can be hard if they continue to be negative, but you are the face of your business. A kind word can turn their heart (and potentially their review) around.

Offset Negative Reviews with Positive Reviews

No matter how hard we try, negative reviews are a part of life. As Dita Von Teese said, “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.” Even if you follow all of these suggestions on how to handle negative customer reviews, there will still be some people who you just can’t make happy. A negative review here and there isn’t the end of the world, and there’s one easy way you can make them even more negligible: offset them with positive reviews.


Most people turn to the internet when they have a bad experience, but a lot of times when we have a great experience, we don’t bother. This is likely because we just don’t think about it because everything was just fine. So, if you give your customers a little reminder, they may just leave a positive review! A great way to do this is with the Get Smart Foundation Package. The Get Smart Foundation provides you with a customized dashboard to monitor online reviews, sends automated reminders to your customers to review their experience, and more. Schedule a free 30-minute consultation today to learn how this can work for your business.

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