Online reviews are playing a pivotal role in the online growth of a business. With 85% of the online customers taking a review as a personal recommendation, the pressure is peaking upon business owners to have maximum positive reviews. Keeping this in mind, most of the business think, how to respond to bad reviews if got from customers, or how to avoid these.

Amidst all this a negative review is a nightmare!

As per the latest stats a negative review drives away 22% of the customers and no business in the competitive landscape can afford such a setback

Your customers are spread across Google, Yelp, Glassdoor, and many other review websites. A single negative review becomes more pronounced when there are such authentic websites for reviews. So it is better to figure out how to respond to Yelp reviews. The customers of 2018 like to take a well-informed decision and 73% of purchase decisions are primarily influenced by the research conducted over search engines.

There is no way you can cave away from the impact of reviews be it positive or negative, you need to learn how to handle bad customer reviews. So, the focus should be on how to respond to a negative review. We all love the positive reviews and handling them is like a cake walk – a simple note of “Thanks”. But does your heart sink when you wake up to a negative review notification?

A negative review is not as negative as it sounds if the business owner knows how to respond to a bad review well. Responding to online customer reviews is a good practice but smart and fruitful responses are what give negative reviews a totally different perspective. Little did you know till now that after a business makes responding to bad reviews a priority, around 34% of the customers delete their negative review?


So the elixir for negative reviews is – Do not shy away from replying to negative reviews. The comprehensive guide ahead is for those who want to master the art of converting a negative review into a positive lead.

Responding to Negative Reviews

Responding to bad reviews do not need to sound like confrontation, it should be more about acknowledging and being sympathetic about the customer opinions or experience. Treat a negative review as an opportunity to earn the image of a responsible business ownership for your brand. We’ve added some response to bad review examples to help you with this. Bad customer reviews is a part of traditional business execution too but handling it online is a different story. Let us answer all your questions about how to respond to negative reviews:

1. Meditate over the review

Well, we don’t want you to take out your Yoga mat, burn some candles or incense sticks and start chanting the OM. Metaphorically we want you to sit back and relax before you write the response in the spur of the moment and click “POST”.

While you are relaxing you need to do a little brainstorming over the safest and honest response. Remember your client is already angry and you do not want to post anything that might provoke their negative feelings further.

Chalk out a response that cools down the client and he feels heard. Never ask questions as that might open the can of worms for you.

taj bad review

In the above bad review response, The Taj Team took a very safe approach by thanking the customer for the feedback and immediately jumped to the channel that would handle the escalation.

2. Respond on the same forum

Your client may choose Google, Yelp or Glass door to lash out on your products or services. It will take some courage but make sure you respond to the customers in the same thread with your response. See this review –

“Thanks for your review, Richard. We are extremely sorry for your experience with our restaurant and would like to talk to you about it in detail. Please get in touch with us or leave your number.”

It is one of the most damaging restaurant review examples

It might ebb down the angry spirits of the enraged customer but it will do nothing for your reputation building. All the while the prospective customers who come across this review and response will keep wondering what happened there.

Keeping your response secretive is no good practice. Be open with a strategic response that communicates it clearly to the prospective clients that you are an attentive service provider.

3. Be empathetic

A customer can sense when you are genuine in your response. Just fluffing won’t help you. You need to be proactive enough to offer your enraged customer a solution to the problem they faced. But be aware that never sound like you are offering a bribe.

Take time out and this from the customer’s perspective and chalk out a viable solution for both of you. When you express genuine empathy, it becomes an event in your response to the negative review and you are able to carve a solution for the customer.

Not understanding? No worries. We have plenty of responses to bad reviews examples to help you out.

Let’s say a client leaves you a review that they are quite unhappy about the speed of your website. You need to first thank them to make it to your website and then empathize with them by offering a solution like “clearing the cookies” and leaving a note that your team has taken a note of the same and is working on the website loading speed.

major ripoff

As is evident in the above bad Yelp review response, the chiropractor responded by offering a re-evaluation and expressed the intent to help ahead. Sometimes, you may try giving sarcastic and funny yelp responses while solving your customer’s issue at the same time. Responding to Yelp reviews this way may help you gain attention and business, instead of a bad impression.

4.Engage at a personal level

Address your customers with their first names while responding to a negative review. It develops an instant connect and as per the studies, the customer’s mindset may switch to a positive response when you addressed this way and engage at a personal level.

So in your next response, instead of saying “Hey There” try using the first name to build a connect instantly.


As is evident in the above bad Yelp review response, the chiropractor responded by offering a re-evaluation and expressed the intent to help ahead. Sometimes, you may try giving sarcastic and funny yelp responses while solving your customer’s issue at the same time. Responding to Yelp reviews this way may help you gain attention and business, instead of a bad impression.

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5. Make them feel special

Every customer likes to be made to feel special. Responding to a negative review by saying “Thank you for choosing our services” is the gratitude you show for the business relationship between the two of you.

6. Add to their experience

Let us say the customer is not happy about how your customer service agent behaved. In such cases, you need to be more proactive and make sure this time they feel attended well. If the customer has shared a negative review regarding some issue with the gadget go ahead and provide them the address and direct contact numbers where they can find a replacement or resolution for the same. 

The business owner was prompt enough to reply and emphasized the fact that they were speedy enough to send across the estimates. The reviewer will definitely want to have a speedier response and hence creating a strong positive impression.  

7. Time is ticking

As soon as you are done with the creation of an appropriate response, make sure you post it. A negative review is a ticking time bomb. 3 negative reviews can send back 59% of your customers. So you need to be extra careful and make responding to negative reviews a time driven activity.

8. Customize your response

Not each response needs to be an essay. All you need to do is address the problem and provide the customer an actionable insight. Make sure you do not end simply apologizing for every negative review. That tarnishes the image of the brand even further. Instead, try understanding how to reply to a bad review which leaves a good impact on every reader.

Keep your response precise to the problem area the customer has mentioned and address it in a manner like this.

This example can teach you, how to respond to negative yelp reviews.

The response here is among good responses to negative Yelp reviews as it clearly seems to be coming from the one who attended the site in person and is offering a clear picture of the scene.

9. Apologizing is not bad

When you apologize you become stronger than you are as you learn about the drawbacks of the process or the product. Why not be vocal about the same when you feel this way. Most of the business owners feel apologizing may belittle them. But actually, when you apologize you express how humble you are and how receptive you are towards the customer feedback.

10. Provide Solution

What could be the intent behind putting a negative review? A customer needs a solution and if you are prompt in providing the same, 70% of customers will stick to you for business in future too. Your responses to negative reviews will show how serious you are, about the issues they are facing.

See this example, which shows how to respond to a negative Google review:

The business owner came straight to the solution making it easy for the customer to understand the escalation matrix. This is a tip for future customers too as they might prefer private messaging at first instance, saving you from a negative review.

To wrap

With a negative review, you are sitting on a ticking time bomb. A single negative review may flare the sparks and other customers with slight grievances may also start posting negative reviews. It is a must to have a practice of responding to negative reviews so that your online reputation remains under check always. This way, you will be able to create a positive impact on your business on your current and potential customers.


Author ankitanand

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