How to Avoid and/or Respond to Negative Online Reviews Image

Businesses embarking on their first social media marketing campaigns are often fearful of the threat of negative reviews and comments and the damage this can do to your online reputation. This can make or break your business as the internet is often the first place potential customers go to find out more about you.

Even the most reputable businesses get negative reviews. One thing to remember is that it’s not the bad review or complaint that defines your reputation, but rather how it is handled.

Here are 8 top tips on how to avoid and/or respond to those negative reviews…

Have a contingency plan

You need to have a plan for when things go wrong in general, don’t you? Otherwise, when someone does come along and post a complaint on social media for example, you wouldn’t be prepared with a response and the damage might be much worse.

Take these tips into account and consider forming a plan that is suitable and relevant to your business, and think about how you might like a business to respond to you if you were to complain online.

Be present & try social listening

Prevention is better than cure. There is no point creating social media accounts if you are not there regularly to update them and respond to your followers. You need to be listening to what your customers are saying anyway – and this means listening to the good and the bad!

Be there before it happens!

You may have not have created a Facebook Page for your business however, a “Facebook Page may exist for your business even if you or someone else from your business didn’t create it because of the reviews posted by your customers through various social media tools. Check your online presence!

Try using sites like Hootsuite or TweetDeck to source any conversation about your brand. So, even if someone doesn’t ‘@’ your business directly, if they are still complaining or saying something negative about your brand, you could actually get there first, surprise them, respond to them and try and do some damage control!

Or else be there quickly!

It’s all about crisis management – if it’s out there already and it’s gaining attention, that’s okay. A negative review is not the end of the world and it does not mean the end of your business! There is always something that can be done to rectify negative reviews. Don’t let your customer wait for days. According to a survey by Loudhouse, “52% [of customers] expect to get resolution within a day via social media, and 75% expect [a] resolution within a day via email.”

It wouldn’t be difficult to imagine what it’s like to be a consumer experiencing this because we are all “customers,” right? So, reply as quickly as you can, so they won’t complain about your lack of response!

Do not remove the negative consumer review

We know how tempting it is to simply ‘make it go away’ by deleting the negative comment. But we strongly advise against this. Deleting it will send a negative message to your customer.

On Facebook or Instagram, ‘reply’ to the actual post and on Twitter, save it as favourite so it doesn’t get lost in the sea of tweets. Make sure you determine if the comment/review is factual and investigate before taking action. If it is untrue then correct the statement in the comments section.

Offer a quick resolution

Knowledge about your product and service is good but a quick resolution to a complaint is supreme to a dissatisfied customer and can quickly turn the negative into a positive. This could mean offering a refund, a special discount, offering an exchange or simply offering an apology. Saying sorry and being upfront shows authenticity and honesty, and the modern customer appreciates that.

Go the extra mile

Offering to call the customer instead of telling them to call or email you is a great way to resolve the issue. This shows your initiative and shows you care about the customer and their problem. Speaking on the phone is also a great way to add a personal touch to your relationship with a customer.

Blog it, learn from it

You have to learn from your experience when it comes to online reviews. What improvements have you made since receiving that negative review? There are many businesses out there that can learn from your experience and it will show potential customers you are a business that responds positively to complaints.


So, make sure you have a plan, and don’t avoid social media just because you want to avoid bad reviews and negative comments. The internet today is a place where we cannot escape negativity, and there will always be complaints evident on every business page you visit. It’s all about how you handle the crisis – quickly, calmly, honestly, fervently and with a resolution ready to go.

If your company requires a professional online presence please Contact Us to discuss how we can help you, on Dungannon 028 3754 9025 or Belfast 028 9002 5050.