When Negative Online Reviews Attack

While it’s unpleasant to think about, sometimes you may not always be everyone’s cup of tea.  No matter how popular some businesses are, there are always some people that aren’t satisfied.  But dry your tears; it doesn’t mean you’ve failed! There are a few ways to do some damage control and actually make good out of the situation. So, take a deep breath; it’s all going to be alright.


If someone leaves an angry online review (Yelp, Angie’s List, etc.), there are a few ways to handle the situation.  Addressing the problem publicly allows others to see how good your customer service skills are.  Apologize for what the customer went through, and explain that you value them, and their opinion. This helps other people see that you may not be as bad as the reviewer claims you are, and that you really are trying to take care of your customers.  Replying privately is also an option, just be sure to address the issue in the public timeline as well.

As unfair as the complaint may be, it’s very important you stay cool, calm, and collected.  Your response should be polite, and well thought out. Remember, it isn’t about defending yourself to the customer;  it’s about getting to the bottom of the problem so things can get better.   In the process of trying to rectify the situation, you may find that you can learn from the problem, and will actually better yourself in the end.  A great way of showing customer appreciation is by offering a discount, or some kind of compensation for their grief.

Any successful company should be aware of their presence online.  They should constantly monitor their reviews and be in the loop about how the public is perceiving the business. There are also services that manage the reviews for you (BirdEye is a great one), and make sure the good ones are more visible than the negative ones.


It’s important to remember that getting a bad review isn’t a death sentence for a company. It really is impossible to please everyone 100% of the time.  The best thing you can do for your company, is to learn from the negative review, and turn it into an opportunity to better the business. When customers see how well you can handle the problem, it actually instills more trust in them, and works in your benefit.  It’s also important to remember that for every negative review, there are probably a number of people that feel the same way, but aren’t brave enough to voice their opinions.  That’s why it’s so important to address these complaints head on, and in a prompt manner.

It never feels good to know someone doesn’t like your business.  Suddenly flashbacks of your crush rejecting you in high school come flooding back to you.  But this isn’t high school (thank goodness); it’s business! Take pride in your business, and do what you need to do to ensure your customers are satisfied. Focus on all the positive reviews the company gets; they’ll remind you that you’re doing something right.