What To Do When Someone Leaves a Negative Review About Your Business

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So, you’ve taken our advice and started paying attention to your Google listing and other places where people might leave a rating or review about your biz. Great!

But… wait.

What’s that one-star review doing there?


Don’t panic! There are things you can do about negative reviews. Instead of wallowing, let’s turn this into an opportunity.

First, ask yourself: Is this customer right?

Don’t immediately assume that a negative review is wrong. If this customer wrote something about your business or your services, do your due diligence and see what’s going on internally that needs to be addressed. If it’s a problem with one of your staff, go talk to that person and get their side of the story. If you run a solo operation, review what happened and see if you’re the one at fault here.

Don’t let it sit; respond with class.

If you’ve figured out what the problem was, use this as an opportunity to try and make it right. Respond to the unhappy customer (most platforms let you reply directly if you’ve claimed your profile) and either explain how you’re going to fix it, or apologize for what happened and offer them a discount or gift card for next time.

There’s nothing better you can do than take ownership!

Now, if it wasn’t your fault, or if this person is just being nasty for the sake of it, you can respond and argue your case calmly, professionally, and politely. Don’t instigate further, but there’s no reason you can’t stand up for yourself, and if you’re calm and polite others will see your response and realize what’s really going on here.

Once the situation’s been resolved, you can follow up with that customer and ask them to edit or remove their review.

If it’s spam or trolling, report the comment.

Most of these review platforms have reporting tools built in, so you can flag comments that are spam or abuse and hopefully get them removed. Look for a little flag icon, or look in the Help section to figure out how to do it. But remember that there’s no guarantee that this will always work (and it’s really difficult to remove comments on Facebook).

On Facebook, you can hide your Recommendations section entirely.

Follow these instructions if you don’t want anyone to see your Recommendations. This is helpful if you’re getting spammed a lot with fake reviews, or if you don’t think you need them at all. However, that doesn’t prevent reviews and ratings from showing up on other platforms!

Reach out to your happiest customers and fans.

If you’ve tried everything else and that one-star rating is still just sitting there, staring at you, call in reinforcements. Reach out to your customers who leave glowing comments on your Instagram, your friends and family who support your business, and anyone else you can think of, and ask them to leave you some reviews on that platform.

It’s okay to have a couple of negative ratings; it happens to everyone! But getting those good reviews in there can balance it out for the better.

Just don’t get the idea to start leaving your own fake reviews, or asking your staff to do it; it’s surprisingly easy to tell that reviews are fake, and planting that seed of doubt in someone’s mind can be just as damaging for your reputation as that initial negative review. Plus, it’s super against the rules!

Make it a habit to encourage your customers to review you.

After a happy transaction, a successful business engagement, or anything else, make it a habit to ask your customers to review you. It shows you’re not afraid of it, and if they really loved working with you, they’ll do it.