How do I respond to a negative review?

by | Jul 12, 2023 | Headlines, Customer reviews

Responding to a negative review can be a challenge for businesses, as it can have a negative impact on their e-reputation. However, knowing how to handle these comments is crucial to maintaining a positive image and showing potential customers that you're responsive and care about their satisfaction.


Why respond to a negative review?


Maintaining a good reputation


Responding to a negative review is essential for managing your e-reputation and maintaining a good brand image. Indeed, with the advent of social networks, negative reviews and comments can spread rapidly, damaging the reputation of an establishment or company. A good e-reputation depends on the accumulation of positive reviews. These are the proof of a satisfactory customer experience that makes you the talk of the town.


Minimize impact on new customers


Poor ratings, negative reviews and customer dissatisfaction can be found on various sites and platforms, such as Google Reviews, your Facebook page or TripAdvisor. These comments can have a significant impact on potential customers, who consult them before making a purchase or visiting an establishment. Today, nearly 81% of customers who go on to make a purchase consult customer reviews beforehand. So it's vital to respond to negative feedback constructively and courteously.


Asking for a second chance


A professional response to a negative review shows the dissatisfied customer that their opinion is being taken into consideration. It shows that you care about their satisfaction and want to put things right. An empathetic response to negative customer reviews can therefore be the starting point for asking for a second chance. The customer may then be prompted to modify his comment to improve his rating.


Increase visibility and drive-to-store


The algorithms of location search engines such as Google, TripAdvisor and TrustPilot take customer reviews into account. They also pay attention to your responsiveness and to changes in customer ratings. Responding to every bad review helps you improve your visibility. This places you higher in the search results and increases the number of customers visiting your store.


A few examples of responses to recurring notices


Every field of activity has a list of negative reviews that recur regularly. To be empathetic and responsive, you need to build a reliable response strategy. To do this, you need to develop a list of responses to the most common negative reviews. Here's a list of recurring reviews based on your business sector.


Responding to negative restaurant reviews



Example:negative tripadvisor review restaurant reception Empathetic reply: "We regret to hear that your experience was unsatisfactory. Your satisfaction is a priority for us and we take your feedback very seriously. We apologize for the reception and service you received. However, we hope to have another opportunity to serve you in the future."


Table service

Example:negative opinion catering serviceAppropriate response: "Hello [first name], we apologize for the slow service and lack of water or good order. This is not normal for us and we want all our customers to be satisfied. We will take your comments into account and make improvements so that this does not happen again."



Example:negative comment noise restorationAdapted answer: "Hello [first name], thank you for sharing your experience with us. I apologize to hear that it did not live up to your expectations. Indeed, on busy evenings, the bar can quickly become noisy, and we do our best to adjust the volume so that every customer can have a conversation without raising their voice too much. Unfortunately, this was not respected that day."


Negative reviews in Hotels & Airbnb



Example:hotels negative customer rating Adapted answer: "Hello [first name], we understand your disappointment about the remote location of the calanques. In addition, we regret that the public transport service did not meet your needs. Our staff are in touch with the city's transportation services and can call them for you. We'd be happy to offer you a ride if you'd like to give us a second chance."


Services and options

Example:hotel booking negative opinion servicesPersonalized reply: "Dear Mr. [first name]. We appreciate your feedback regarding your stay with us. We apologize for the unsatisfactory service and performance, and please accept our sincere apologies. Please know that we strive to provide you with the highest quality service during your stays, so your feedback is very valuable to us."



Example:bad comments hotel cleanlinessEmpathetic response: "Thank you for sharing your experience. We are delighted that you enjoyed the quiet atmosphere. Please know that we are sincerely sorry to notice your dissatisfaction with the general hygiene, the dirty sofa bed and the smell of microwave cleaner. We take these issues seriously and will investigate promptly. Our teams are also aware of the lack of parking spaces and are working to improve them. Your feedback is valuable to us and we hope to welcome you back in better conditions."


Negative comments on Location Auto



Example:google business car rental reviewEmpathetic reply: "We are very sorry for the inconvenience you have experienced. Your comment highlights serious problems that in no way meet our service standards. We regret that the car was not ready at the agreed time. I will pass on your comment to our customer service department so that we can offer you a discount on your next booking."



Example:negative customer reviews car rentalReassuring response for other customers: "We're sorry you had difficulty reaching our call center. We value your opinion and thank you for informing us of this problem. We'll be doing more to promote our free main telephone line. If you would like to contact us, please call us on [phone number]. We're also responsive on social networks if that's more convenient for you."



Example:negative customer feedback invoicePersonalized reply: "Hello [first name], first of all thank you for taking the time to write a comment. I would like to sincerely apologize for the inconvenience. I will personally take care of better understanding what led to this additional billing. May I ask you to contact our agency by email, phone or private message to give us the details of your booking. Please know that we are doing our utmost to improve the transparency of our rates in order to avoid this kind of situation in the future."


How do you respond to a negative review without comment?


It's sometimes difficult to respond to people who don't leave a comment. However, responding to these reviews helps to moderate the negativity they bring out. So don't hesitate to comment on these reviews to improve your image.

  • This sends a signal to your future customers that all opinions count.
  • A response also assures the platform (often Google Reviews) that you're active and paying attention to the establishment's reputation.
  • Last but not least, it also invites discussion, so that you can ask the customer about the reasons for his or her dissatisfaction.


Example:negative assessment without comment Appropriate response: "Hello [first name], thank you for taking the time to review our service. We are very sorry that you have left us a negative review. We would like to be able to help you and better understand your reasons for leaving a 1/5 rating. Please feel free to contact us via any of our social media channels with any comments, concerns or suggestions."


Some tips for dealing with negative customer reviews?


Here are a few tips on how to respond effectively to bad reviews on online customer review platforms.


Don't be defensive


First of all, when you receive a negative review or comments, it's important not to react defensively or aggressively. Always remain courteous and professional, even if the customer seems unhappy. Step back to understand the problem and prepare a thoughtful response.


Thank the customer, even if it's a negative review


When you respond, start by thanking the customer for taking the time to leave a comment. It shows you appreciate their feedback, whether positive or negative.


Prove your commitment


Show that you take their Google review seriously by specifically addressing the points raised in their review. This could relate to poor service, a faulty product or any other aspect of their experience that may have disappointed them. Don't forget that a prompt response is also a sign of commitment.


Apologize and show empathy


Once you've identified the problems, apologize for the customer's dissatisfaction. Be sincere and show that you understand their frustration.


Show that you will solve their problem


Assure them that you will take steps to improve the situation and solve the problem.


Offer a solution


It's also important to offer a solution or compensation to rectify any mistakes made. This could be in the form of a refund, a product exchange or a special offer for a future visit. It shows that you're willing to go the extra mile to satisfy your customers and rectify any mistakes.


Be transparent


When you respond publicly, it doesn't just concern the unhappy customer, but also all those who consult the reviews and comments. So you need to be transparent and professional. All the more so in the case of a negative review.


Don't give out personal information


Avoid revealing personal information about the customer or criticizing them publicly. Bear in mind that other potential customers are also evaluating the way you handle negative comments.


How do I delete a negative review on Google?


Moderation is also important when it comes to deleting or responding to inappropriate or abusive comments. If a troll leaves unpleasant or inappropriate comments, it's best not to respond to them publicly. Simply delete these comments to avoid conflict and preserve the positive atmosphere on your page or account.


What types of negative reviews can be reported?


Reviews that do not reflect the customer's experience, and abusive comments, are generally not tolerated on review platforms. It is therefore very easy to have a defamatory review removed. Here is a non-exhaustive list of reviews for which you can request deletion:

  • False content or content that does not reflect the actual experience.
  • Spam (a spam is a negative comment published repeatedly with no real motivation) left by trolls who want to harm your company.
  • Off-topic content, whose content is not related to your offers or services.
  • Comments encouraging sales or directing customers to a competitor.
  • Vulgar, defamatory or degrading content. Any content that specifically attacks a member of the company.


How do I report an inappropriate comment to Google?


  1. Click on the 3 dots to display the review on your Google page.
  2. Click on "Report as inappropriate".
  3. You can easily follow the current procedure from your Google Business account by clicking on "Check the status of a negative review I previously reported".
  4. The alert can then be marked as awaiting decision, validated or refused.
  5. If the report is refused, you can appeal this decision by going to "Appeal eligible notices".


How can you analyze negative reviews to improve the customer experience?


Distinguish between each verified negative review


In order to analyze customer reviews correctly, all reviews should be taken into account. However, verified reviews can carry more weight. These reflect the experience of real customers.


Pay attention to the number of reviews


The number of reviews, whether negative or positive, is also a key indicator. If an establishment receives a large number of negative comments, this may reflect a recurring problem or general customer dissatisfaction. In this case, you need to react quickly and constructively. The number of reviews is also an indicator of the reliability of the analysis. The higher the number of reviews, the more reliable the analysis and the more it should be taken into account.


Don't overlook specific advice


The analysis of negative reviews should also take into account the more specific comments left by customers. They can reveal specific problems encountered, and thus highlight obstacles you might not have thought of. They are all the more important as meeting a specific expectation often requires only minor improvements.


Reuse content from positive reviews


Positive reviews are sometimes overlooked, but they are a source of satisfaction and encouragement for your teams. Don't hesitate to use the content of a positive review to highlight what's working well. The content of positive reviews can easily be shared to attract new customers.


Ask yourself the question of the notification manager


Understanding and analyzing the content of every customer review can be time-consuming and off-putting. That's why review management platforms come in handy. Take a look at the customized reports provided by our tool. We also automate the classification of reviews into broad categories to give you a better understanding of the customer experience. Find out more about our customer feedback management tool on our website.




In short, responding to a negative message requires patience, courtesy and moderation. Take the time to understand the problem, apologize and propose a solution. By acting responsively and constructively, you can reduce the negative impact on sales and maintain a positive reputation for your company.


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