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We live in a digital age where it’s almost imperative that businesses have an online presence. But with that comes the easy submission of customer reviews. Reviews can either make or break a company. According to Trustpilot, 88% of consumers across the world will look at reviews online when they first come across a new business.

With this in mind, Bright Local found that 49% of all customers trust online reviews almost as much as personal recommendations. Therefore, online reviews hold far more value than you might have otherwise thought, but what happens if someone leaves a negative one? Here’s how you should respond to negative reviews online.


Respond quickly

People who leave genuine negative reviews online are already unhappy about their experience, so the worst thing you can do is ignore their feedback. Whether negative or positive, you need to respond to your reviews as quickly as they come in. It shows that you’re monitoring what your customers think about your business or the goods and/or services that you provide. It indicates that the opinions of your customers matter. 

It’s also common courtesy to respond to a review that someone has taken the time to leave you. Negative reviews should be responded to more delicately than the positive ones. You don’t want to give the unhappy customer any excuse to completely abandon the idea of using your company again. Start by apologising and make them aware that you understand why they’re unhappy. 

Request that the conversation be moved offline so that a resolution can be reached in a timely manner. Once the ball is back in the court of the customer, it’s up to them with regards to what they want to do next. It looks better for your business as you’ve held out an olive branch, so to speak, that someone may or may not take. 


Take the conversation offline

If a negative review has been left, then respond to it by apologising and asking if they would be able to provide you with an email address or if it would be alright if you messaged them directly to resolve the matter. This helps to keep resolutions away from the public eye because it’s a complaint that’s been made between yourself and an individual. 

Making it more private is a more streamlined, professional way of dealing with negative reviews online. It might also give people peace of mind that you’re willing to get in touch and resolve matters with those who have complaints, which is something that shows you also care about your negative reviewers. It also becomes clear that you’re open to rectifying the issue and receiving constructive criticism in order to make improvements.


Follow up with those who have left negative reviews

It’s all very well and good replying to someone who has left a negative review, but you need to make them feel as though they’ve not been forgotten about. If you’ve replied to someone who has complained that the product they received from you was damaged and you’ve responded initially saying that you have sent out a replacement, follow up with them a few days later and ask whether or not they have received their replacement, for example. 

Show them that you’re being proactive. You want them to know that you are well aware that they’re unhappy and are doing everything you can to make up for it. It shows that you take your negative reviews just as seriously as your positive ones. In turn, this will help to rekindle the trust that might have been lost through their negative experience, meaning they’re far more likely to go through you again.

Ask that any fake reviews be removed 

Something to keep in mind is that some reviews that are left could actually be fake or misleading. They could have been left by bots, or be a form of spam, but they could also have been left by people who are claiming to have had an experience with your business that simply isn’t true. If this is the case, then make sure you request that those reviews be removed immediately. 

Fake reviews aren’t just a problem for business owners, but also for consumers. According to Search Engine Land, 62% of consumers have little-to-no tolerance for reviews that are fraudulent and, as such, they think that fake reviews should be removed as soon as possible.

This can be done if you’ve handed over the reins to a digital marketing agency to manage your reviews on your behalf. If, however, you haven’t then there are ways you can request that reviews be removed, although this depends on the platform on which they’ve been left on. Each major site that allows people to leave reviews about a business has a different procedure to follow:



Facebook will only remove reviews if they do not comply with their guidelines. This includes text that is offensive to others by way of explicit content, bad language, slander and more. If you want Facebook to remove a fake review for you, then you will need to follow these steps:

  1. Identify the review that you want removing
  2. Click the V-shaped icon in the top right corner 
  3. Click on the option to “report post”
  4. Follow Facebook’s instructions from there



Google will automatically seek to remove reviews if they’ve been written maliciously, are an impersonator or if they’ve been written by someone with a conflict of interest. There are instances where you’ll need to report reviews yourself, however. In order to do this on the Google platform, you should follow these steps:

  1. Search for your company on Google
  2. Click on the star-rating of your business on Google
  3. Find the review you want to remove
  4. Hover over that review with your mouse and click on the flag icon (which should appear upon hovering over it)
  5. Follow the steps laid out by Google from there


Offer compensation when appropriate

Where necessary, it might come to the point where you offer those who leave negative reviews some form of compensation for their inconvenience. But it’s important to note that this should only be done if the customer has suffered some particular hardship whilst giving you their custom. 

If everyone who left a bad review received some form of compensation then your business will end up falling into some financial difficulties, so assess the situation and put yourself in the shoes of the customer who is complaining. As much as you might like to provide those who aren’t happy with compensation, it simply cannot be done. 

In an instance where the customer has experienced financial loss or if a product has become damaged, then compensation or an alternative resolution needs to be sought. But compensation doesn’t have to mean giving away products for free or giving them vouchers, for example.

It could just come in the form of a money-back guarantee or offering to replace items free of charge. It should be seen as a way of rebuilding the relationship, rapport and trust with your customer as opposed to justifying their bad experience and risk them never shopping with you again or recommending your company.



Kumo has over twenty years’ of experience in the digital marketing industry. With a forward-thinking approach and a dedicated team at the helm of our operations, you can rest assured that we’ll catapult your business into the spotlight, setting you apart from your competitors. Whether you need a website redesign, web page copy, articles for your blog or simply wish to be more prevalent online, we have the skills required to meet your requirements and exceed your expectations. For more information about our website design, content creation, SEO and PPC services, get in touch with a member of our professional team today – we’re based in Nottingham, but are pleased to serve customers throughout the UK.


Author Biography


As an experienced Copywriter, Lorna enjoys creating varied content for an abundance of different industries and sectors. From detailed, informative articles to creative infographics, she's always looking to inject originality into the work she produces. When she isn't working, Lorna runs her own lifestyle blog, plays the guitar and loves to take part in charity runs.