How to respond to negative reviews

Has someone posted a negative review about your business online?  Watch this video before you start answering it and it could save the reputation of your business.


Video transcript

How to respond to negative reviews

Hi Everybody,

In today’s video you’re going to learn how to best respond to negative reviews disgruntled customers post online about your business, how to use negative reviews to your advantage and where to go to respond to Google Reviews, Facebook reviews and Yelp reviews.

I’m Luc Durand, the founder of Ranking,  the place where small business owners turn for higher local rankings, more traffic to their website and more customers to their stores.

Today  I am going to talk to you about one of the most crucial aspects of online marketing for any local business owner, online reviews, more specifically negative online reviews,  and why it can make or break your business’ reputation, so keep watching.

Have you ever bought anything on Amazon or eBay? Yes? What do you check before clicking on the “Add to basket” or “submit bid” button? Product reviews?, seller’s reputation?. Most probably.

What about booking a hotel? Ever made a little detour via trip advisor and read a few reviews so you feel reassured you’re making the right choice? Absolutely.

This behaviour has become such a huge part of our online habits it is no longer exclusive to these online pioneers and has spread to all businesses large or small.

You can now rate your local dentist, your local hairdresser, plumber, lawyer and pretty much any and every industry using Google reviews, Facebook reviews and Yelp reviews.

There are even websites which business model relies exclusively on rating specific verticals. specialises in rating tradespeople,  specialises in the beauty business,  in, …do I need to say more.

Reviews are so important that Google is using them as part of its algorithm to rank local businesses in its local pack results and now includes Facebook reviews and other specialised rating services in its knowledge panel.

For potential customers, this is simply brilliant. Not only it helps them make an informed decision about dealing with a new business, or not, but also the ability to review them afterwards.

For local business owners like you,  it’s a bit of a different story. Online reviews can work wonders and help generate more customers as long as the reviews convey a positive message. If however your business receives negative online reviews then the picture is going to be vastly different.

A majority of small businesses have only a few reviews. Although this is gradually changing with time, it is not unusual to see local businesses with anything between five and ten reviews at most.

Let’s imagine for second that your business averages a very decent  4.4 star rating  with  five existing reviews  (that’s three  4 stars and 2 5 stars) then suddenly a very unhappy customer gives you a 1-star rating. Your average will suddenly drop to 3.8  and you will also be left with a nasty comment. Not great for business.


How do you respond to a negative review

Step 1: Do not ignore it.
Ignoring a negative comment or review will show that you don’t  care much  and send the wrong message to anyone else checking your business profile online.

Step 2: Take a deep breath before responding.
If you are a proud business owner like me and always try to give your best, receiving negative comments may make you fell angry. Do not respond in an angry state or it may backfire.

Step 3: Be timely
If you want to be effective you mustn’t wait too long before responding to a negative review. The quicker you respond the better. Your unhappy client will likely be pleasantly surprised. And it will reassure any prospective clients reading your response that you care about your customers

Step 4: Accept full responsibility.
Acknowledge their frustration and their disappointment and be apologetic. Do not try to shift the blame on anyone else.  DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT blame the client, ever. Blaming your client is the worse thing you can do. Although this may sound like common sense I have seen it time and time again.
Finally, remain polite at all times

Step 5: Be personal
Do not use copy and paste pre-written answers to save time.  Each response should be unique and specific to the complaint you are handling

Step 6: Offer a solution
Although the damage is done it’s never too late to make things better. Offer a solution to the issue they are facing or potential compensation. Alternatively you may want to ask them if they could suggest something themselves.

Step 7: Brag
Use this as an opportunity to highlight  why your business is great, Things such as “established for 25 years…” , “Pride ourselves in customer satisfaction”, “take our reputation very seriously etc…. work very well

Bonus step:
If you can, sign your response including your name, title and phone number. It will show you can be trusted.

That’s it. If you are  interested in seeing some great examples of business owners responding to negative reviews go to, There are some great examples there if you need inspiration.

For your local business to be found online these days it is important you make it visible on multiple platforms,  all of which come with review facilities. There are too many to list here but the most popular ones are Google my business, Facebook and Yelp. If your business is not listed on these yet I suggest you quickly watch my “start napping” video where I explain how to do it.

For everybody else, let’s have a look at those three and how to practically respond to reviews for each of them starting with Google

How to respond to Google reviews:

Surprisingly some business owners don’t even know about reviews that have been posted about their business although they have a Google my business profile. Let’s checkt how it’s down.

Step 1: Go to Google and search for Google my business

Step 2: Login with the Gmail account details  you have used to create your GMB profile

Step 3:  Scroll down to the review section and click on “Manage reviews”

Step 4: Select the review you want to manage and click on view and reply.

That’s it.

If you are on the move you can also access your GMB profile via the “Google my business app”.

Moving on to Yelp

Yelp is a very important actor in the online  local business industry for two reasons:

A)     It has a huge database of local businesses with tonnes of reviews

B)      Reviews from Yelp are used on the Apple app which is installed by default on all iphones.  So without further ado lets’ have a look at:

How to respond to Yelp reviews:

Step 1: Go to google and search for Yelp for business

Step 2:  login to your Yelp account using the Yelp account details you used to register your business.

Step 3:  On the left hand side of the screen click on the “reviews” option

Step 4: Locate the review you want to respond to and select the “add public comment” option

type your answer and preview your response. When you are ready, post your comment

Finally let’s have a look at Facebook. It is important to consider Facebook for your reviews because

A)     There is a huge amount of traffic on Facebook

B)      Google now displays Facebook reviews as part of its knowledge panel. For more info on this topic you can watch this video

So let’s have a look at

How to respond to Facebook reviews:

Step 1: Login to your personal Facebook account

Step 2: Choose your Facebook business profile

Step 3: On the left-hand side menu select the “reviews” option

Step 4: Scroll down to the review on which you wish to post a comment

I’m only covering the main three platforms here and if your local business is listed elsewhere such as review sites specific to your trade you should follow the same principles I have just described.

This is it. Up to you now to respond to any negative review you may receive. Remember there is no set rules and my advice should be used as guidelines only.

The importance of Online reviews have grown exponentially and will continue to do so. Ignoring them is a big mistake and you should have a dedicated  online review strategy for your business

If you like this video, make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel right now. Just click on the subscribe button right here. Also, if you want exclusive techniques to drive more traffic to your site that I only share with subscribers, head over to ranking and sign up for the newsletter, it’s free. Now, over to you, let me know how you got on with handling your customers’feedback by leaving a comment below.

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