6 Pro Tips for Handling Online Negative Reviews

6 Oct
6 Pro Tips for Handling Online Negative Reviews

Negative online reviews are every eCommerce brand’s worst nightmare, yet, they happen to the best of us. If Taylor Swift is any indication, the bad press does not have to define us – our success, or in this case, our business’s success, is determined by how we respond to the haters.

Instead of eating a gallon of ice cream while hiding out until things blow over, follow our tips for handling negative feedback head-on.


6 Tips for handling negative reviews

When responding to negative customer feedback, you want to show the same dedication to customer service when you handle negative reviews as you do when you respond to positive reviews.

1. Answer quickly

Time is of the essence when it comes to responding to negative reviews. Customers expect a timely response, and a quick reply to a bad review demonstrates that you value their feedback and take their concerns seriously. Aim to respond to negative reviews within 24 hours, if possible. This shows potential customers that you are actively engaged with them and care about their experience.

Tula review response

2. Ask for a second chance

Rekindling the relationship and rebuilding trust after a negative review is actually easier than you might think! Kindly ask the dissatisfied or angry customer for a second chance to make things right. Express your willingness to address their concerns and offer a resolution. Great examples include store credit or a discount on their next purchase. Having empathy, humility, great customer service, and a genuine desire to improve their experience can turn an unhappy customer into a loyal one.

Lush review responses

3. Accept the issue and apologize

We all know that for an apology to really mean something, it must include genuine remorse and reflection upon how we would behave differently next time. And yet, as adults, many of us struggle with this process. Acknowledging the problem and offering a sincere apology can go a long way in defusing a negative situation. Avoid being defensive or dismissive, as it may escalate the issue further. Instead, express understanding and empathy for the customer's disappointment. Apologizing for any inconvenience they may have experienced shows the upset customer that you value their feelings and are committed to delivering customer satisfaction and a better experience in the future.

Tidy Cats review response

4. Take the right action to repair the issue

Here’s where the most important step of an apology comes into play. Mere apologies won't be enough to win back negative customer’s trust, action must be taken. Outline the steps you'll take to address the problem and prevent it from recurring. Whether you’re offering a refund, replacement, or additional service, be transparent about your solution. Your commitment to making things right shows potential customers that you take feedback seriously and are dedicated to delivering a positive customer experience, even if you do not receive forgiveness from this customer.

Hydro Flask review response

5. Stay professional and courteous

Lying down with dogs will make you just as dirty. No matter how challenging the review might be, always maintain a professional and courteous tone in your response. Whether the interaction is public or private, you should avoid getting into heated arguments or exchanging any negative remarks in order to protect your brand reputation. Keep in mind that your response is not just for the dissatisfied customer but also for future customers who are observing how you will handle negative feedback. Showcasing your professionalism and respect can leave a lasting positive impression on your audience.

Purina review response

6. Thank the customer for their feedback 

Keep your mindset positive by always expressing gratitude for feedback, even when it is less complimentary. Constructive criticism, although difficult to receive, can be valuable in identifying areas of improvement within your business. By thanking the customer, you show that you genuinely appreciate their input, even if it is negative. Demonstrating this level of humility can earn you respect and credibility with your audience while also improving your customers’ overall experience.

Brita review response

How to recover from negatives reviews

Managing online reviews, especially the negative ones, requires a proactive approach that involves swift responses, genuine apologies, and concrete actions to address the issues raised. Engaging with dissatisfied customers, offering resolutions, and showcasing your commitment to improvement allows you to turn negative feedback into an opportunity to rebuild trust and strengthen your online reputation. 

Now that you’ve responded to the negative review, you’re probably worried about how it affects your overall rankings. Negative feedback can harm your searchability and potentially prevent potential customers from doing business with you. While you can’t wave a wand and make the negative comments disappear, you can increase customer reviews by asking loyal customers to leave their feedback. Prompting customers to review your store after purchase, as part of a newsletter, or directly on your site is easier than ever with Sendlane. The best way to diminish negative reviews' impact is by learning from your mistakes and providing service that garners more wowed customers than disappointed ones. 

How to follow up on a negative review from an email

When handling negative reviews received via email, it can feel easier to ignore it since it is not public. However, a well-crafted follow-up message can significantly resolve the issue and turn a dissatisfied customer into a happy one. It can also prevent them from tarnishing your business reputation publicly, so you definitely want to take the time to respond to emails just as promptly as you would public reviews.

Step 1: Choose a clear and concise subject line that summarizes the main point of your email.

The subject line is the first thing your recipient sees and sets the tone for their initial impression of your email. A simple 'Re:' just won't cut it. Craft a clear and concise summary that shines a spotlight on the heart of your message.

Try using a subject line like "We want to make this right" or "Your feedback matters to us!" to set the right tone and encourage the recipient to open the email. 

Step 2: Start with a professional and friendly greeting

Kickstart your review response email with a warm genuine greeting. Don't forget to address the recipient by their name to add a personal touch to show them that their unique experience is valued.

A simple "Hello [Customer's Name]" or Thank you, [Customer's Name], for taking the time to share your experience" will show that you value their feedback and are approaching the matter with professionalism and sincerity.

Step 3: Remind the recipient of the context and purpose of your previous communication.

Given that the customer took the time to share their concerns in their initial review, it's crucial to show them that we value their input. Take a moment to acknowledge their feedback and kindly reiterate the context of their previous message. This not only assures them that you've thoroughly considered their complaint but also reinforces our dedication to resolving the issue.

For example: "Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts about your experience with us. We greatly value your feedback, and we're wholeheartedly committed to enhancing every customer's experience."

Step 4: Include a clear and specific call to action that tells the recipient what you want them to do next

To ensure a constructive and productive follow-up, apologize clearly and directly to unhappy customers, then offer action to make things right. This step will guide them toward a resolution and show that you're actively working to address their concerns.

For example: "We're really sorry to hear about the hiccup with your recent order! We value your feedback, and we're committed to resolving this matter promptly! Reach out to our awesome support team at [support email/phone number], and we'll resolve this issue for you ASAP. Thank you for bringing this to our attention."

Or, if the issue has already been resolved: "We are pleased to inform you that we've taken immediate action to address the matter you raised in your review. We apologize for any inconvenience caused and would like to extend our gratitude for bringing this to our attention."


How to monitor and respond to negative online reviews with Sendlane

With Sendlane, keep track of your emails, SMS, and online reviews in one convenient place. Be the first to know when you get a positive or negative review, and even utilize templates to make concise, personalized review requests and responses easier than ever. Kickstart your review strategy with easy, automated review collection, convenient monitoring with the reply center, and dynamically display reviews to sell more all within the Sendlane platform.

Interested in leveling up your review game? Talk with a member of our team today!

Tips for handling negative online reviews FAQs

How to offer compensation after a negative review?
What are the benefits of getting negative online reviews?
How to avoid getting negative online reviews?

Share article link

Subscribe to our blog!

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

The 2021 eCommerce
Email Marketing Playbook Part 2

Maximize revenue & customer loyalty in 2021

Mastering Customer
Acquisition & Retention in 2021

Tuesday, July 20

Better features. Better support. Better customer experience.

Get all the same features you need with a more intuitive UI you’ll love. Experience the difference.

No More Guessing; Make Data-driven Decisions at a Glance

Ditch the clunky UI; send high-converting messages with unified email & SMS data under one roof.

Find Hidden Growth Opportunities in your Shopify Customers

Build a retention-first strategy with real-time analytics and multi-channel automation.

Turn sales into reviews & reviews into more sales. All for free.

Collect, manage and dynamically display unlimited reviews all within one snazzy dashboard (and at no additional cost).

Uncover What your Customers Really Want

Get all the same features you need with a more intuitive UI you’ll love. Experience the difference.

Create Winning Campaigns Faster with Personalized Email Marketing

Spend less time building emails & more time creating experiences that drive your store growth.

Unified Email & SMS Marketing for BigCommerce

Send hyper-targeted email & SMS marketing that generates revenue with an easy one-click integration.

Uncover What your Customers Really Want

Get all the same features you need with a more intuitive UI you’ll love. Experience the difference.

Everything Your Brand Needs to Achieve Greatness with SMS

Build lasting, authentic relationships and tap into multi-channel revenue with all-in-one email & sms marketing.

Drive significant ROI for your
online store

Your eCommerce power couple - Unite your email & SMS marketing under one roof with Sendlane.

The Ultimate Guide to Maximizing
CLTV for Digital Retailers

Keep your store cruising onward and upward with these seven strategies to increase CLTV.

The Big Book of eCommerce Email Funnels

Boost your customer LTV & ROI with these 10 proven automated funnel templates.

The Definitive Guide to Abandoned
Cart Emails for eCommerce

Perfect your abandoned cart email funnel and recover those lost sales on autopilot.

The Big Book of eCommerce Email Funnels

Boost your customer LTV & ROI with these 10 proven automated funnel templates.

Your 2021 Guide to eCommerce Holiday Marketing

9 tried and tested omnichannel marketing strategies to crush holiday sales

The Digital Retailer’s Email Copywriting Handbook

A Marketer's Guide to Writing Killer Email Copy That Sells.

The Future of eCommerce
in 2022

Omnichannel strategies to drive revenue plus trends to watch in 2022 and beyond

The Digital Retailer's Guide to Modern SMS/MMS Marketing

10 Best practices to convert more customers where and when they’re active most with text messaging.

Increase Revenue and Retention by Mastering the Digital Customer Experience

A step-by-step guide to mastering the customer experience and building a base of loyal, repeat buyers.

The BigCommerce Experience: Omnichannel Marketing Strategies for a Post-Cookie World

The Shopify Experience:
A Merchant & Marketer's Guide
to Scaling eCommerce Growth

Get started with your free
14-day test drive!

All our PRO level features at your fingertips.

Try for Free