How To Handle

Negative Online Reviews

If you own a business which serves the public, you will encounter a negative review of your company someday. Social media has become such a dominant form of sharing experiences that it is inevitable that someone will be disappointed with some aspect of your company and they will share it with the world. Because it happens to every business, it is not devastating to your company; in fact, if handled properly, it can actually help you improve.

Here are some tips for handling unhappy clients who share their experiences:

  1. First, monitor all your social media feeds every week so that you know when a review has been posted.
  2. Respond to every review quickly, even the positive ones, so that readers know that you appreciate their input.
  3. Thank all responders for their input- even those with negative comments. If you view all input as information that helps you grow a stronger business, then your response will be genuine.
  4. Apologize to the reviewer for their sub-par experience. Avoid making excuses (even if you have one), and own the mistake.
  5. Ask the person who posted to continue the conversation by private message so that a solution can be reached.
  6. Respond to all correspondence quickly, and work fast to find a proper solution.
  7. Ask the reviewer to remove the negative comment once the solution has been found.
  8. If they refuse to remove the comment or no solution can be found, post your solution online to show that you did work to resolve the problem and also include a comment about how your company will change to avoid this mistake from happening again.

Responding to all comments and being active on your social media accounts goes a long way to showing readers how much you care about their experience. Critical reviews will happen, but you can turn them into ways to build a stronger company if you view them as an opportunity.


  1. We have only gotten one negative review and it was in regards to not giving a quote over the phone. I did as you suggest above – I tried not to make excuses etc. I know this subject is a big concern for many frame shops and our policy is: we will quote specific requests, glass, mats and even standard size Ready Made packages prefacing that these are only estimates until we actually have their art in front of us. Ending with, Our design consultation’s are free and we look forward to working with them. Even this does not quail some peoples frustration.
    I think a website would help, but how do your recommend dealing with these requests???

    • Good question Rene’ – and not an easy one to answer. First I’d like to say that just because social media makes it much easier to collect customer feedback, doesn’t necessarily mean that every disagreement with company policy needs to be changed. Phone quotes can be misleading and often cause problems once the customer actually shows up with the project. I personally happen to agree with your policy due to misunderstandings before adapting a similar position. I think the important part is to explain WHY you have the policy, not to necessarily change it based on one complaint. If you offer an explanation which is based on protecting the customer from being misquoted or over-charged due to a misunderstanding, most readers will understand why you have such a policy. If your explanation is written in a manner which protects the company instead of the customer, it may not translate well. By the way, any policy which serves the company more than the customer, probably needs to be rethought anyway. Hope this helps!

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