How To Respond To Negative Reviews

Let’s face it, as a small business owner, it is nearly impossible to have every customer be 100% satisfied. While that may be the end goal, and proprietors go out of their way to make that sure every experience is enjoyable, it can be nearly impossible. Eventually, a customer will have a bad experience. Maybe they were having a tough day and decided to take it out on your company and brand. Maybe one of your employees was having a tough day and took it out on your customer?

Yelp & Google Reviews

Regardless, all businesses will have to eventually face negative reviews online. They could be on Google, Yelp!, or any number of online review services. Customers are going to see these reviews and take them into consideration when deciding where to bring their business.
So, how should you respond to negative reviews?


  • Respond quickly: Being proactive and responding to reviews in a timely manner can make a big difference. If you wait weeks to respond, the customer may have forgot about the situation, and will be less likely to appreciate your response.
  • Respond to every review, both negative and positive: If a customer took the time to write your review, they deserve a thoughtful response. You value their business and you are responsible for responding to the negative reviews, too.
  • Attempt to rectify the situation: If the customer is unhappy with a specific aspect of your business, offer a solution to make it right to them. If they were unhappy with their meal at your restaurant, offer a free dish on the house!
  • Take it offline: Apologize to the customer and let them know you are truly sorry for their experience. Ask them to contact you directly so you can resolve the problem in a fair manner. This will show those looking at your reviews that you care enough to solve the problem with your own time.


  • Panic:  Although it may seem like an attack on your business, it’s important to remember that it’s not personal, and one negative review will not make or break your business. Take a deep breath.
  • Become defensive: or combative with the customer. Even if you know you are right, you should never get combative with a customer online. Remember, your response is not only going to be seen by them but by any other potential customers that land on your Google My Business page.

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