Reputation Marketing

How to Respond to and Recover from a Prominent Negative Review

negative reviews
Coming across a negative review for your business on a prominent review site can feel crushing–and for good reason. Reviews, both good and bad, do have a real and tangible effect on customer choice. For example, a Harvard Business School research report found that each additional star that a restaurant had on Yelp added between five and nine percent to the business’ revenue. A negative review does not need to be catastrophic, however. If you take the proper steps to response to complaints posted about your business online, you can help your brand recover from any negative reviews.

Reply to Negative Reviews Quickly

With the rise of social media, a negative review or customer complaint has the potential to spread rapidly. For example, a single over-the-top or salacious negative comment on your business’ Facebook profile might be seen by hundreds of prospective customers within a few hours. Letting such a negative comment stand without a response will give credence to the user’s complaints in the eyes of many viewers. To mitigate the damage such reviews can cause, respond quickly so that your business’ prospective is equally visible alongside the original negative review.

Refrain from Deleting the Negative Review

Some review sites allow business owners to remove reviews, and it can be extremely tempting to do so when you receive a negative review. However, deleting a bad review can actually make your business appear worse as the public may perceive this as an admission of guilt or an attempt to cover up an issue. Moreover, a good response to a negative comment has the potential to provide a net benefit to your business. A research study conducted by CRM company RightNow showed that a third of consumers who left negative reviews ended up deleting them after receiving a response from the business, while another third actually decided to submit a positive review.

Be Professional in Your Response

While you do want to respond quickly to any negative reviews, you need to be measured in your response. Arguing with the reviewer, hurling insults at them or resorting to name calling will only make your business look worse to your digital on-lookers. Even sticking to just the facts has the potential to come across as negative and could be more damaging to your business’ reputation than the negative review itself. Be short, succinct and professional in your public response and seek to move the conversation with the negative reviewer offline so that you can deal with the underlying issue privately.

Enlist a Reputation Management Service

A reputation management service can help your business in a number of ways, including monitoring your company’s reviews and mentions of your business online for customer complaints and negative feedback. Your service provider can help you figure out the best approach for handling dissatisfied customers as well as providing you with guidance to use customer complaints as a catalyst to improve your business. By utilizing a professional reputation management service, you can help ensure that you respond to any negative review that your company receives in a timely and appropriate manner, helping you minimize the impact to your business. helps local businesses reach their goals by building a better and stronger online presence. We do that via reputation marketing, local listings, social marketing, brand analytics and SEO tools/services that make it easier for customers to find and trust your business in local search. Call us today to see what we can do for your business.


Brian Douglas

Brian Douglas has been in digital marketing since 1997 and founded multiple digital marketing brands. He graduated California State University Northridge with a BA in Radio/Television/Film. Brian has had the pleasure of working with a broad range of businesses such as drug rehabs, medical facilities, auto dealers, insurance companies, financial services/hardware, web hosting, search engines, and a free email provider. All that makes him sound like some old guy, but Brian never stopped being active – you can find him in the middle of a kickball game or having an adventure with his kids in the hills near his house.

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