How To Make Negative Reviews Work For Your Company

Hi! My name is Hannah, I am an Account Success Coordinator with Ad Pages – someone who assists business owners with online marketing such as responding to reviews, social media, listings claiming and review management. My team and I respond to multiple reviews every single day on behalf of busy small business owners, and with my experience comes huge knowledge that we are now sharing with YOU.

So, here is my simple four-step process to answer “How do I respond to negative reviews?” By following these guidelines, you’ll too be able to take charge of those first six reviews that a whopping 73% of consumers form their opinion on, and earn more business in the process (BrightLocal).

Regardless of where the review is—be it Google, Yelp, Facebook, or a top directory—you can capitalize on a good review by responding to the negative reviews, thus minimizing the damage. Let’s see how!


Negative Reviews

Why respond to a negative review?

Unfortunately, you can’t just ignore a bad review until it goes away.  In fact, ignoring an unpleasant review can make things worse!


  • You’re not just replying to just the one reviewer. You’re speaking to everyone who reads this review, including potential future customers.
  • Replying is your opportunity to make things right. If a customer brought a complaint to you in person, you would try to make it right. The same goes for online reviews—despite the impersonal nature of online reviews, it’s not over just yet. You can turn this thing around!
  • Replying shows other readers you are not shady or neglectful to feedback, and have taken steps to ensure this problem won’t happen to the next customer.

How to respond to a negative review (4 Steps)

Step 1: Apologize and sympathize in your response to the negative review.

Acknowledge the customer’s concerns. Even if they are unfounded, show sympathy that they had a bad experience. “I’m sorry to hear about your bad experience.”

Step 2: Insert a little marketing in your response to the bad review.

Explain what your customers usually experience. “We’re normally known for our exceptional attention to detail, and we regret that we missed the mark.”

Step 3: Move the conversation offline.

Provide contact info with someone at the business so they can discuss the problem in person. “My name is [name] and I am the [Owner / Manager]. If you’d like to discuss this further, please contact me at [phone number / email].”

Step 4: Keep your response simple, short and sweet.

Don’t go into too much detail or ask any questions. This will prevent saying something that might cause the upset customer to add more negative feedback by replying to the review. Three sentences for your whole reply is a good rule of thumb.

BONUS: Don’t include the business name or relevant search keywords.

You don’t want this review showing up in search results!


How to Remove A Negative Review

Step 1: Resolve the issue with the customer.

Step 2: Politely ask the customer to update their bad review if the situation has been rectified.

Step 3: Get more positive reviews to “bury” the negative review.


Here is an example of a great Review Response!


Contact an Ad Pages Digital Manager to find out how we can help you respond to reviews today! Click Here.