5 tips on how to handle negative customer reviews

Published: November 30, 2017 | Last updated: April 5, 2023
This is how to turn negative feedback into a real trust booster

The last time you were excited about the 5-star review and praise, but today an ill-tempered customer leaves a negative review with a harsh review on your profile? Stay cool and plan your reaction carefully. The golden rule definitely applies: Answer each review, be it positive or negative, with a comment or without. Even if your customers simply leave stars, he or she is still taking two minutes of their time for you or your product. This should be recognized on its own, even if „only“ with a short, concise "thank you". In addition, your reaction is visible to others and may improve your image, independent of the type of review. But how can you confidently confront a negative review, and what are the stumbling blocks to avoid? We've illustrated the 5 most important tricks in an infographic for you.

1. Treating negative feedback offensively

First, it's important to make clear whether the criticism is at all justified or not. You should never sweep negative reviews under the rug! Not everything that shines is gold, and your customers know this. A review profile with exclusively positive ratings raises suspicions of having censored or embellished ratings. Have courage to face the truth! Potential customers enquire by looking at negative reviews and how you handle a complaint. As a rule: Dig deeper to ask what led to the customer's dissatisfaction. Stay friendly and keep in mind the effects of your words on others. A review average of 4.5 stars appears more authentic than 5 full stars. Look at negative reviews as a chance for improvement and an additional chance to have a positive interaction with your customers.

2. Unjustified negative criticism by trolls or fakes

You can't trace the negative review, or the reviewer isn't even a customer of yours? The comment even tries to personally insult you and make you lose your cool? The ingredients for success in this case are composure and communication. Think of what others can assume of the situation looking from the outside in, whether the criticism is to be taken seriously or not. It should be enough to answer with a short, friendly comment, pointing to the review guidelines. This serves to make it clear to the readers that you have an objection and can validate it. This signals to potential customers that this is unjustified criticism. Finally, report fake reviews and insults to our support so that we can check them and possibly delete them.

3. Unjustified criticism arising from a misunderstanding

Sometimes it's all just a misunderstanding. The easiest thing to do in this case is to get rid of it by communicating. You provide your customers an opportunity to pick up on the matter again and can even request that they correct their review.

4. Justified criticism

The negative review stems from an actual mistake on your part? Of course this is aggravating at first. But as bad as it sounds, mistakes are there to learn from. Excuse yourself for the error, and accept the responsibility, showing your customers that you're only human and can be wrong. It is possible that you can even correct the mistake after the fact and create a bond between the customer and your business. This also brings you on the same level level as you customer and builds a connection between you, creating another opportunity for them to correct their review.

Depending on your flexibility and the industry, you can also offer a discount or voucher. This not only lets you improve your great service, but also significantly raises the probability that the customer will return to redeem the voucher.

5. Forward feedback

Perhaps you've already noticed that your customers' voices greatly contribute to the dismantling of operational blindness. Sometimes customer reviews contain exciting insights into customer perspective and provide helpful connection points for future improvements, which you wouldn't have otherwise thought of. Negative feedback should be internally evaluated and used to optimize processes.

But even positive feedback is valuable for our internal use. Continue communicating openly and forward the information to us. Positive customer feedback significantly contributes to higher worker motivation!



Want to take control over your reputation? Manage your reviews with ease on ProvenExpert now.

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ProvenExpert is the online platform for qualified customer feedback and review aggregation. A tool that enables business owners and service providers of all sizes to actively seek customer reviews with industry-specific survey templates, bundle existing customer reviews in one location and present the overall score in a way that makes it more effective. Already more than 270,000 entrepreneurs and service providers of all sizes benefit from ProvenExpert.