How To Respond to Negative Reviews Online

online reviews

Sinoun Chea

Online reviews have a big impact on your customers’ purchasing decisions. Nowadays, buyers read reviews before they opt for a new product, service, or even when choosing a restaurant. 

But, how do you deal with negative feedback from clients?

In this article, we will share some tips on how you can respond to negative reviews online. You will learn about:

  1. The benefits of encouraging customers to leave reviews on your business 
  2. How online reviews are found by customers
  3. The best practices while handling bad reviews in the digital space

What are online reviews?

online feedback

Online reviews are feedback from your customers after they have purchased and used your products or services. They give power to consumers to share how they felt when receiving your products and using them. Reviews can be both good and bad.

Having an online reputation for your brand is critical for your business. We have experienced how e-Commerce sites and online purchases have increased during the pandemic. The competition is very high and most customers use reviews as a basis to decide where they should buy their items. 

“Your brand isn’t what you say it is — it’s what Google says it is.” – Chris Anderson, Head of Ted. 

Online Reviews help to grow your business

five-star rating

“When customers can’t experience the physical products, they turn to online reviews.” –

According to the local consumer review survey 2020, 93% of consumers used the internet to find local businesses and 87% read online reviews. 

Those statistics show how people trust reviews and think of them as being reliable sources before making a purchase. People are more likely to trust a brand or an online store if they have a lot of reviews. 

The benefits of online reviews can be summarized below: 

  1. They drive sales and help potential clients to make their purchases confidently. Online reviews are similar to recommendations, testimonials, and referrals from existing buyers. Their experience with your products boosts new buyers’ confidence to checkout. As per another study by Invespcro, 72% of buyers trust businesses more if they have positive reviews.
  2. Reviews are free advertising methods for your business! Digital review sites such as Google My Business, Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Amazon are all free to add your business on the internet. Make sure to use the right keywords so that potential customers can find you easily. 
  3. Having online reviews not only builds trust but also contributes to ranking your business on Google. SEO is important for any new company to appear on the top pages of Google. 

Where can customers see the reviews?

Your brand reviews will always show up at the front whenever someone is doing a Google search. There are 3 ways in which they can be shown on the search results: 

Google Knowledge Panel

GMB reviews


Google knowledge panel is found on the right-hand side of the search results whenever someone looks for a specific business. Google uses algorithms that take data from different sources and facts to come up with the knowledge panel of your business. It can be called a knowledge or information box. You will see in the screenshot below that the knowledge panel also provides the reviews.

Google Local Pack 

Google local pack

Google Local  3-Pack appears whenever someone makes a local and precise search. Also known as the Google 3 Pack or Google Map Pack, it is the SERP feature that appears showing where the local businesses are located along with their addresses and reviews. 

“Approximately 50% of users making a local search on phone will visit a nearby business concerning the query within 24 hours.” – Brightlocal, October 2021

For example, if you search “restaurants Atlanta GA”, Google will use the GPS tracking to show you the various restaurant available in this area. 

Third-party reviews 

third-party review

In 2016, Google introduced third-party reviews – “Reviews from the Web” in local search results. This shows how critical reviews are to a business. Google is actually encouraging customers to write their own reviews. Using schema markup is important when you want to appear in the search results.  

Handling negative reviews online for your business

Allowing customers to post their reviews online has both its benefits and drawbacks. There are risks associated with this, but the key is to use the appropriate strategy to tackle negative feedback. There’s no denying the fact that you will get unhappy customers once in a while who will leave negative reviews online. 

We have shared some tips below that can help: 

Do not panic and evaluate the situation first 

Every business gets a negative review and panicking will not help the situation. Take some steps back and do your research on the customer. You need to be sure that the review is real and coming from an actual customer. There are so many fake reviews online that may hinder your company’s reputation. Be sure to investigate that first and report a policy violation to Google if the review is a fake one. 

Be polite and respectful 

Address the reviewer politely and thank him or her for bringing it up to your attention. This shows a sense of professionalism and that you are ready to listen to the complaint. 

Be apologetic and take responsibility 

Apologizing sincerely to a customer shows that you can own up to your mistakes. Once you’ve apologized, contact the client personally and offer solutions to the bad experience that he or she had. It could be a discount offer, a refund or gift vouchers. Ignoring bad reviews will only make people lose trust in your brand. 

Respond in a timely manner 

Once a customer leaves a bad feedback, he is expecting a reply as quickly as possible. And, the more you delay in responding, the more the customer is reinforcing the bad image of your brand in his head and will not hesitate to share this with his family and friends. You can set up Google alerts or F5Bot where you can receive emails each time someone mentions your brand online. 

a graph showing how to respond to reviews

Image source: reviewtrackers

Online reviews represent a big asset to your brand reputation. Monitoring and handling them appropriately will only benefit your business! 

Do you need professional help in managing your brand’s online reputation? Contact us at ShiftWeb by sending a proposal or you can easily give us a call.


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Sinoun Chea

I help small businesses Do Better Online™. When businesses thrive, people also thrive. #morethanjustbusiness

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