How to Deal with Negative Reviews

"The final proof of greatness lies in being able to endure criticism without resentment." - Elbert Hubbard

Positive feedback is a retailer's dream. Unfortunately, not all feedback is good.

The internet has made it easier than ever for customers to speak their minds about products and services. In some ways, this is good. Consumers trust the opinions of friends and family, and when they post things about your business online, they become brand ambassadors. But it can also be a bad thing. You have no control over what angry customers say about you on the internet, which can lead to a lot of turmoil and the possibility of losing customers.

To make matters worse, a 2013 study concluded that consumers are more likely to share negative feedback than positive feedback.

So when an inevitable negative comment pops up on Facebook or someone emails you a link to a negative review on Yelp, here are a few things you should do to improve the situation.

Don't just erase it.

Your first reaction may be to delete the unsavory comment and continue like nothing ever happened. This is a bad idea for several reasons:

  • This may only anger the reviewer more
  • It's possible that other customers have already seen the review and removing it would seem like you are hiding customer feedback
  • You're missing a huge opportunity to build customer trust

Instead, reply to the comment and apologize, asking the commenter to give you a call or send a private email so that you can learn more about their issue or make it up to them. If possible, note that they will be speaking to the manager or owner directly and make it clear that you take customer satisfaction extremely seriously. If the issue is resolved, many customers will return to the original post and thank you for your fast reply.

Take time to calm down.


Just don't reply TOO quickly. It's hard not to take criticisms of our businesses personal, but replying in anger may end with you saying something you shouldn't in the heat of the moment. Wait half an hour before responding, and step away from your desk to think about your reply. Taking a walk or talking the issue out with employees may be helpful.

Remember that the customer is always right.


Whatever you do, be sure not to blame the customer for their problem. Even if they were at fault for what happened, remember that the customer is always right. While you may not be able to give them exactly what they want, be sure that you apologize for any inconveniences, even if those inconveniences are store policies.

Learn from it.


You have to take the good with the bad, so the next time you are criticized by a customer, see if there are any steps you could take to avoid this issue in the future. You may just end up thanking them for pointing out a weak link!

Worried about taking control of your business's reputation through online listings? You need our "Get Listed" package! Learn more at

Icons via