How to Respond to Positive and Negative Reviews Online

How to Respond to Positive and Negative Reviews Online


If you’ve received some sort of negative comment, there’s no reason to despair. You even deserve congratulations, since someone cares about you enough to get in touch.

Don’t ignore the criticism (being ignored won’t make the user less nervous) and don’t delay in responding. It’s hard to answer wrongly if you follow four simple steps:

1. Apologize

Good apologies are specific – just saying “sorry” in response to a very detailed paragraph of criticism is not going to solve your problem. Already “sorry we weren’t able to do X and Y for you” shows that you’ve read the review and understood the complaints.

Good excuses use “I/we”, not “you”. Compare the two answers:

“I’m sorry you had a bad experience on our site” (this implies that the problem could be you, an annoying customer!)

“We apologize for not being able to provide a good experience on our site” (our problem).

2. Admit

Assume the problem is valid. Accept that the usability of the site is bad or the text is confusing or whatever the reason for the criticism.

We are usually hesitant to own up to mistakes, for fear of tarnishing our company and strengthening the competition. Or else, we think it’s worth trying to convey to the client the idea that this is not what he needs.

Related:   5 Tips to Improve Customer Interactions Through Digital Channels

In either case, it’s not worth rowing against the tide. Admitting you’re wrong gives customers confidence that you’ll try to fix it. They might even help you with that.

3. Ask

You’ve just won a great opportunity to learn more from your customer, don’t miss it.

Ask for clarity: To make sure I understand, was the problem X, or is it something else?

Ask for suggestions: We’d like to solve problem X. Do you have any ideas on how we can improve?

Ask for ongoing communication: Can I stay in touch and come up with demos and new versions when we make progress on fixing this issue?

Ask them to remain a customer: We hope you will continue to use our work as we improve Issue X and the product in general.

4. Give Thanks

Spend a little time going beyond “thank you”. Remember that the person didn’t just spend time criticizing, they spent even more time explaining exactly why they are unhappy.

Thank them for being the first person to report the problem, for describing in detail the sensations you felt, and for explaining why this is a problem.


In short, we hope your customer cares enough about your company to get in touch and complain. Respond well to it and put it to good use to make your product/service even better.

The Author

Oladotun Olayemi

Dotun is a content enthusiast who specializes in first-in-class content, including finance, travel, crypto, blockchain, market, and business to educate and inform readers.