Handle Negative Feedback Like a Pro

Getting a small to medium company off the ground and keeping it there isn’t easy. When you’re struggling to build your business, a bad review can feel like the end of the world. Many business owners make the mistake of lashing out after a bad review or negative feedback, but this won’t help your brand at all. Does that mean you can’t respond? Absolutely not. In fact, with the right approach, you can turn negative feedback around to help you. How? Let’s take a look.

Accept the Inevitable

The first step in handling negative reviews is to simply accept they’ll be a reality from time to time. You can’t please everyone all the time. The sooner you face this fact, the easier life will be.

Find the Good

Once you’ve learned to accept the inevitable, consider the benefits of a bad review. When you’re searching for something new to buy, you probably check the reviews, right? What do you think when every review is glowing? If you’re like most consumers, your suspicious side is piqued. So many companies pay for good feedback—untrue feedback, of course—that a brand with all five-star ratings starts to look a little shady. Your bad review actually validates those good reviews. Potential buyers will know you didn’t fluff the ratings up unfairly.


Your next move is to apologize. Whether you or your product actually did something wrong is irrelevant. Even customers that simply love to complain will have nothing to say when you come back with an apology. Say sorry that your company did not live up to expectations. If mistakes were made, own up to them. A simple apology goes a long way toward repairing relationships with buyers. And sometimes it makes those who complain just for fun feel a little silly for making a fuss.

Make Things Right

You obviously have no responsibility to provide replacements or free services to those who complain for no reason. Those who have valid concerns might just change their tune if you ask for a do-over and knock it out of the park. If you really want to stand out, you should take that second chance every time. Maybe you’ll give away free stuff to people who don’t deserve it, but that’s a risk everyone takes. More often, you’ll mend your relationships with those who truly felt wronged.

What Not to Do

The most important thing to remember when you receive negative feedback is to stay silent until your initial shock and anger passes. Whatever you do, don’t engage in the following:

  • Social media sarcasm
  • Angry emails
  • Internet stalking
  • Public responses in review spaces

No matter what you do after any of these activities, you will never recover from the public relations disaster. Staying silent and never responding in any way is better than reacting in anger.

Remember, bad reviews are not the end of the world. Keep doing what you do, and the positive will always outweigh the negative. Even better, you’ll be able to hold your head high, knowing you took the high road.

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