It’s important to remember that one bad review isn’t going to mean the end of your business. However, understanding how to manage negative reviews effectively will help ensure minimum damage is done.


A person’s business is often their pride and joy, having spent crazy long hours building it from the ground up. So when that inevitable negative review comes along, it can be soul-destroying. Staying calm is imperative in this situation, as replying on impulse can often cause more damage than good, particularly with the viral nature of social media.

Firstly (an obvious one), you should read through the review and make sure you understand what the customer is saying and why they were dissatisfied. If you don’t understand what they mean in their review, there’s no harm in asking them for more information. It shows you’re taking them seriously and investigating their issue. Ensuring you’re as pleasant as possible in asking for more information will help to diffuse their anger if they’re particularly unhappy, the mantra I often like to use is ‘kill them with kindness’.

You don’t have to agree with what your customer is saying to understand their issue, but to ensure your reply is helpful and effective, put yourself in their shoes. Imagine their dissatisfaction is something you’ve had experience with, think about how you would feel, and the type of reply you would like to receive, and use this as the basis for your response.

Sometimes customers will never be happy, ever, even after your nice as pie, sugary sweet, I’ll-do-anything-to-make-it-better replies. And at that point, once you know you’ve done everything you can, it’s okay to leave it (please note that I said ‘leave it’, and not ‘respond one final time about how they’re impossible and nuisance timewasters with nothing better to do than relentlessly push for freebies’ – it will be better in the long-run).

Responding to positive reviews is something that should also be practised, and thankfully, it’s a lot easier. Often, you can write what pops into your head when replying to a positive review, even a generic ‘thank-you! 🙂 ’ will do. Although you might think it’s a waste of time, it will grow relationships and likely promote your business through positive word-of-mouth recommendations.

There’s no definitive rule for what to say when responding to reviews. If it’s negative, just don’t alienate your business by making rash retorts that haven’t been thought through, and take into account your brand personality. If it’s positive, let your customer know you’re thankful for their custom.

Replying to reviews (good and bad) will help you build a stronger customer base and stronger customer relationships. 78% of consumers say that hearing from management about their reviews makes them believe the business cares about them.

For more information about how we can help you manage customer reviews, contact us today.

Sign up to our newsletter.

Get the latest digital marketing tips and trends direct to your inbox every month.