Every customer feedback can help your business for the better, including the negative ones. Learning how to respond to bad reviews is one of the keys to your online reputation’s success.

Why Customers Leave Negative Reviews?

As a business, it’s almost impossible to make everybody happy. As a result, our customers will most likely complain through online reviews

There are several reasons behind customers leaving negative feedback. However, research shows that the main reason (73.2%) is that it’s an altruistic act as they’d like to save other customers from having the same experience. In other words, they want to help other people to make an informed decision before using your business.

Other reasons are:

  • 48.7% of customers said they’d like to see the business be more upfront or honest about fees or policies
  • 48.3% would like a refund
  • 38.9% would like an apology from the business.

Knowing why your customers write negative reviews is important in tailoring your response and correctly addressing the situation.

“Did you know that customers who have a bad experience are 3x more likely to write a negative review than customers who had a good experience are to write a positive review?”

Bad Reviews Can Be Good for Your Business  

No business likes to see negative reviews. But a few negative reviews don’t mean it’s the end of the world or that your business is terrible. So when you get a negative review on your Google My Business page, view it as constructive feedback. You can learn from your mistakes and make improvements to enhance your customer satisfaction in the future.    

While it’s great to have a perfect 5-Star rating, a few negative reviews can highlight your positive reviews. Your customers will trust you more, and it shows that you have a legit business by displaying all your good and bad reviews. Your negative reviews can also serve as an opportunity to engage with your customers. For instance, let’s say you have a pest control business and your technician didn’t come to a customer’s house on the scheduled day due to a miscommunication between your departments. You can offer an apology for the bad experience and a thoughtful solution to the issue.

“When you have a negative review on your Google My Business page, view it as constructive feedback to help your business.”

We talked to Joe Sheehan from Colony Pest Management about how he handles negative reviews. See how he deals with bad reviews and the process to turn a negative review into a positive one

How to Respond to A Negative Review

It’s not good enough to reply to a bad review with a short generic response. So here’s what you should do:

  • Start with an apology

 All of your responses to bad reviews should start with some form of an apology. First, sympathize with your customer, telling them you’re sorry that they feel this way or you’re sorry they had a bad experience. Regardless of whether you think their review was fair, you have to begin with an apology. Instantly, you take ownership of the issue, making you look like a far more professional and respectful business. 

 Imagine if you began your reply by saying, “Well, we’re not sorry because it’s your fault you didn’t like our business” – it would look terrible, your reputation could be affected! However, the fact is, only 13.5% of customers who leave negative comments would like to hurt a business’s reputation. So they must have had good reasons to write you bad reviews instead of didn’t like your business. 

  • Respond to negative reviews quickly

Now you understand that having a few negative reviews is inevitable when running a business. Therefore, you need to always respond to your negative reviews immediately. 

People will mostly leave a negative review when something didn’t go as planned. So the best thing you can do is reply as quickly as possible. 68% of customers expect a reply within three days of leaving a review. So ideally, responding to the negative reviews within a few hours is the best course of action. However, it’s ok to leave it for a day or two. Any longer than this, and you’re letting the review fester and tarnish your reputation. 

There’s no benefit in delaying to respond or, even worse, ignoring your negative reviews. When you neglect your bad reviews and leave them unanswered, your potential customers will view your business as unreliable and that your business doesn’t care about your customers’ satisfaction. Furthermore, it would take seconds before choosing your competitors that are more responsive to their bad reviews. 

That’s why the time frame and how you respond to your negative reviews matter a lot to your business reputation. Your customers demand a response to their negative feedback. They want their complaints to be heard and solved by your business. So when you show your good intention to reply to and address your negative reviews, your customer satisfaction rate could go up to 99%.  

“68% of customers expect a reply within three days of leaving a review.”

graphic of handle your negative reviews


2 Step Reviews help you respond to negative reviews fast. The main thing to take away from this is that you need to respond to your bad reviews. You might not want to leave them to linger and damage your business. Instead, write timely and polite responses that offer solutions, and address the problem.

It can also be helpful to reach out to the customer offline or away from the review platform afterward. Finally, it will improve your reputation as you’re going the extra mile once more. With 2 Step Reviews, you’ll get instant alerts when you get bad reviews and an easy solution to drown them under several positives.

  • Offer an explanation & solution.

If you follow the first two tips, then you can respond with something like this: “We’re sorry you feel this way, and thanks for the feedback.” However, this does nothing for the customer as you’ve not made any effort to address their problems. The correct approach is explaining whatever their issue might be.

Explain that things aren’t usually like that, and give a potential reason for their disgruntlement. This is an explanation to other people reading the reviews as well as the customer themselves. As mentioned earlier, it’s almost a way of limiting the damage by showing that it’s an isolated incident. Along with this, you should offer a solution to make things better.

Ask them to get in touch, and you’ll provide a free refund, or suggest a discount if they choose to return and give you a second chance. Even if they blank you, it shows potential customers/clients that you go the extra mile and value all of your customers. In addition, it can help generate leads as people will give you a chance because they know you’ll look after them if things turn out bad.

  • Make each reply genuine & polite.

Never set up automated responses to negative reviews. It’s not genuine, and you’ll end up damaging your reputation even more. To add to this, ensure that all of your responses are polite as well. If you get angry with a customer, you will spread negativity and lose many existing customers and potential leads!

example of a negative reviews response


Above is an excellent example of a negative review response:

  1. They addressed the reviewer’s name and thanked them for the feedback.
  2. They politely apologized for the reviewer’s poor experience, even though they could not locate them in their database.
  3. They established their authority as the person to make things right with the customer. The management gave them a phone number to reach them to address their problems. It provides potential customers safety. If they have a bad experience, they can come to you in hopes that you’ll find a good solution.


Just like positive reviews, your negative reviews can serve as tools to develop your business. Of course, every business will get negative reviews at some point, but how you handle your negative feedback professionally and respectfully makes the difference. Not only will you gain customer trust by responding and addressing negative reviews, but also you’ll get valuable insights to make improvements that will delight more customers.