How Should I Handle Negative Reviews Online?

Receiving negative reviews online is an inevitable reality of having an online presence. Even local businesses with high-quality services, even those that have received numerous accolades for their services, will still suffer the complaints of at least one implacable patron.

Flag the Review

The most popular online review site for local businesses is Yelp and Google. If you receive a bad or fake review on either of these, the first thing you can do is flag the review. If it is clearly false, contains offensive language, or it contains sensitive information related to your business, this should be your first step. Yelp and Google have strict policies regarding these types of reviews, so there is a good chance the review will be removed if it breaks their policy.

Respond to the Review

Responding and addressing the review might be your best option. Negative reviews can alter consumer’s perceptions of your business so you want to make sure you stand up and justify the situation. Here are a few steps to construct a good response to a negative review. 

Acknowledge the Issue

Even if you believe that the customer who wrote the negative review is wrong, it is still important to acknowledge the issue. First, thank the customer for bringing the issue to your attention. You can respond with something like “Thank you for giving us your feedback and making us aware of this issue.” By simply acknowledging the problem you are taking the first step to find a solution to the issue. 


There’s no point in acknowledging the issue if you aren’t going to apologize for it. As a business owner, it’s always better to be the bigger person and apologize for the issue even if you believe the customer was wrong. An apology will make the complaining customer happy and also shows other people that you care about giving your customers the best service possible. 

Provide an Explanation

If it’s necessary, provide an explanation for what happened. Most of the time an apology will be enough, however, there may be an instance where you need to clear up a misunderstanding. When providing an explanation, try not to make up excuses, just take responsibility. 

Compensate the Reviewer

Sometimes in order to keep a customer happy and make sure they return to your business you have to compensate them appropriately. If you’re willing to give them a gift card for their next visit, it is very likely they will come back and your business can redeem itself. 

Contact Boston Web Marketing

If you’re in need of a professional digital marketing and SEO team to assist with your business’ online presence, contact Boston Web Marketing! Our number one priority is to not only get your business found organically on the web but to also get great reviews for your business to help build online credibility. Give us a call at 857-526-0096 or fill out a contact form!

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