Negative reviews happen to everyone

It’s going to happen eventually. Nobody enjoys it, nobody wants it, but eventually… it will happen. Eventually, no matter how good your product is, no matter how customer-focused your marketing strategy, there will be someone who leaves you a negative review. But! It doesn’t have to be the end of the world. There are plenty of ways in which a negative review can actually help your business and your marketing strategies. 

It all depends on how you, as a company, respond to these negative reviews. Here are five potential strategies for dealing with negative reviews.

1. Say ‘Thank you’.

Trust me, I know. It sounds weird. Someone says something negative about your product or business and you’re supposed to thank them for it?


But think about it this way. Even if the review isn’t written in the most constructive manner, they’re still (even inadvertently) helping you grow your business and product. They’re providing you with feedback that you might never have thought you required. So, say thank you for their feedback, and see if you can work with the reviewer for a solution.

2. Respond to each complaint in a public stream

Today’s internet and social media culture demands that comments and complaints be addressed and documented publicly. That doesn’t mean that any and all details have to be hashed out publicly, but an acknowledgement that the negative reviews have been heard and will be addressed with speed, ease, and positivity.

Simple things like, “I’m sorry you weren’t happy with our product. I’m looking forward to helping you find a solution. Can you DM (or email) me more details?”

Make your comments section and reviews approachable and easy to deal with.

3. Wait a while…

It’s human nature to get defensive over something that you’re proud of, especially if it’s something you created, like your business. So when someone gives you a negative review, or negative feedback… it’s almost automatic. You’re going to get your hackles up and want to respond in anger or frustration.

Instead, step back.

Wait a while.

Walk away from the computer, or if you can’t do that, tab away from that screen.

Don’t look at the negative review. Just… wait.

After a while, go back to it, look at it again. Is the review really that bad? Or is it some helpful feedback, like we discussed in point 1.

4. …But not too long.

While waiting until you’ve cooled down a bit before responding is highly recommended, you can’t wait too long.

Studies show that social media commentators expect responses in less than two hours. Those same studies show that the faster a company’s response time, the more approachable and likable the company is viewed in the eyes of the customer. The response doesn’t have to be essay-length.

It just has to be one of understanding and reaching out. Much like the one I show in the first point.

“I’m sorry you weren’t happy with our product. I’m looking forward to helping you. Can you DM me (or email me) more details?”

5. The ‘Grandma Test’

I generally use this rule in everyday life as well as in internet commenting. The ‘Grandma Test’ is quite simple. Whatever you’re thinking of responding, picture repeating it out loud to your grandmother.

Does the thought of saying it to her make you cringe? Don’t write it.

Does it sound too stilted? Maybe tone down the technical language.

Does it sound too vague, too aggressive, too formal?

All of these things can easily be adjusted and allowed for with the ‘Grandma Test’.

And there you have it! Five simple strategies for handling negative reviews. And perhaps, using these five strategies and your own marketing know-how, you might even be able to turn these negative reviews into positive ones and eventual repeat customers.

Good luck!

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