How to Answer to Negative Reviews + 5 Free Templates

Are you looking for templates to help you answer negative reviews? Hi, my name is Francisco, and I am the owner of Planet Marketing, a Digital Marketing agency. My company specializes in Google Ads, Facebook Ads and Online Reviews. In the years that I have been in business, I have seen a lot of companies struggle to deal with negative reviews. So, I have decided to help you by giving you 5 templates that you can use for your business. This article covers the following areas;

Why do Negative Reviews Matter? 

Read Mackenzy C.‘s review of San Tung on Yelp[tcb-script src=”” type=”text/javascript” async=””][/tcb-script]Read Lauren B.‘s review of Hilton San Francisco Financial District on Yelp[tcb-script src=”” type=”text/javascript” async=””][/tcb-script]

Negative reviews are a part of life. Yes, you heard me right! No matter how good you may be as a business, there is always going to be someone out there who you will rub off in the wrong way. It happens! The next thing that you will know, that irate customer will be rushing off to Yelp or to Facebook to leave a scathing review for your business. What do you do then? How do you deal with negative reviews?

Remember that online reviews are very important. A fall of one star on Yelp can translate into a loss in sales of up to 9%, as an example. So, reviews are not just a gimmick. In fact, I have covered this topic quite a lot on this site. One point that I am always noting is that, today, up to 90% of people will first check out online reviews before making a purchase.

So, you need to take reviews seriously. But what do you do when you get negative reviews? As noted earlier, negative reviews are a part of life. You are going to get them whether you want to or not. The difference is how you handle yourself when you do get your first negative bit of feedback. The following tips should help you respond to negative reviews in a way that does not harm your business; 

Don’t lash out at the customer

Don’t give in to the temptation to lash out in response to a negative review

Lashing out tends to be the intuitive thing that you wish to do when you get a negative review. If you check online, you will come across quite a number of instances of people who have engaged in slugging matches with irate customers. That’s not the right approach. If you do this, you will only be making the situation worse. The customer has nothing to lose. But you, as a brand, have everything to lose.

Use the formula for responding to reviews

Did you know that responding to reviews actually has a formula? Or there is a certain way through which the big guns out there do it. Responding to reviews, particularly negative reviews is not just haphazard. The following are some of the things that you need to include in your response to online reviews;

  • Thank the customer for giving you feedback (either negative or positive).
  • Mention your team and how you always strive to give the best in terms of service.
  • Give the customer contact details so they can reach out to you directly. This applies most for negative reviews.
  • Show that you are responding to person’s concerns (in the case of a negative review).  
  • Apologize
  • Promise to address the situation.

Always include your name in your reviews

One tip for those looking for templates to answer to negative reviews is that you should always include your name in your response. Remember your response will appear in search results. Yelp results even appear in Google. Including your name in every response to reviews, both negative and positive, is therefore, a good SEO strategy.

5 Templates to help you answer to negative reviews

Is there a proper way of responding to negative reviews? The answer is, yes! Though each situation is going to be different, there are some things that will be universal in the way in which brands should approach dealing with adverse feedback. The following templates should help you answer negative reviews the proper way.

Template 1: Ask the customer to contact you

A negative review may leave you fuming, but you should never show that anger to the customer? Why? Well, some people may consider it fair to fight fire with fire. However, one thing that you need to know is that the internet is enduring. Way back, the only type of review that you would get was the word-of-mouth type.

That quite literally flew with the wind, so you were relatively safe. You always had the chance to turn things around. After someone had told their neighbor and a few friends that such and such a business was terrible, the tide would simmer down.

Today, things are a bit different. Online reviews are a lot more enduring. If someone gives your brand a negative review, that review will be available 5, 10 or even 20 years into the future. The internet is not forgiving, in this regard.

So, you need to be careful how you answer people. Otherwise you will live to regret your anger. Instead of lashing out, why not thank the customer for reaching out? A review is a review after all. Whether written in anger or not, it tells you something useful about yourself. It’s a chance for you to grow. So, you need to be thankful.

Below is the first of our templates for responding to negative reviews;

Dear [Angry customer’s name]. Thanks’ for reaching out to us. We at [your business’ name] always strive to give our customers the best possible experience. Your feedback is valuable to us. Please contact us on [your business’ email and phone number] so we can resolve the issues that you raise. 

What are we doing in the above template? 

Remember the formula for responding to reviews that we gave at the top? Well, it’s what we have tried to follow in this template to answer to negative reviews. Please note that you do not have to use everything that appears in our template.

In the above example we began by referring to the customer by name. This shows that we are concerned about them as an individual. Such a strategy works well in email marketing. If you have ever received emails from companies such as Amazon and eBay, you will have noticed that their templates refer to you by name. Personalization can be a useful tool when responding to negative reviews. 

From there, we went on to thank the customer for their feedback. Remember what we said about feedback being useful, no matter how negative it may be? So, you always have something to be thankful about, even when somebody has lambasted you in public. Thanking the customer helps tone down their anger.

We also expressed regret at the fact that the customer was not satisfied in their dealings with our business. Again, the aim is to tone down the customer’s ire. Rather than turning the negative review into a shouting match, we are exhibiting maturity by trying to be accommodating to the customer.

We also gave them a means through which they can reach us. Often a negative review is a shout for attention. People think that by leaving negative reviews, they will force a business to capitulate. And guess what? That strategy actually works. If you leave the response given above, it becomes possible for you to resolve the customer’s issue. From there, you can convince them to go back and change their review.       

Template 2: Use the experience as a learning curve

Okay, so not all situations can be resolved. Perhaps the customer has since told you to … off and they have found another company with which to do business. So, what do you do in that case? You know very well that you can no longer resolve the issue with the said customer.

In that case, it still pays to be polite. Remember that the argument with the customer is now in the public sphere. Your response is directed not at the angry customer, but at others who may be checking your business out. The following is a template of how you can approach this situation;

Dear [Angry Customer]. Thanks a lot for reaching out to us. We, at [your business’ name] regret that you encountered problems while dealing with our business. We have since taken steps to ensure that similar incidents do not occur in the future. If there is any way in which we can be of help, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. 

In the above, you will notice that we are a little bit contrite. That’s one way of turning a negative review into a positive. By keeping your cool, you ensure that you become the logical one, even if your business may have been in the wrong in its dealings with the customer.

The contrite part comes from stating that the issue has since been resolved. People who read that review will have assurance in their minds that they are going to find redress in the event that they encounter similar issues.

And here is an important fact; people out there expect all reviews to have sprinklings of negative feedback. If your profile on Yelp or on any other platform only has positive reviews, people will think that it is fake!

Template 3: Offer to resolve the issue in private

Silence the angry customer by offering to resolve the issue in private

Having public slugging matches with irate customers is not the way to go, as we have already noted. In fact, that tends to be a recipe for disaster. Everything that you say will remain online well into the future. It’s important, therefore, when you encounter negative reviews, to try and take the discussion offline. That’s probably the best way to answer negative reviews.

Give the customer a means through which to reach out to you away from Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google, Facebook or any other platform on which they may be venting their anger. Once they have done this, you can then try and resolve the issue. In the event that you succeed, the customer can always go back to modify their review. If you check online you will come across a lot such reviews.

And in the event that you have resolved the issue but the customer still refuses to change their review, you can go back to Yelp or wherever to state the fact. Again, the aim is for you to appear cool-headed in the minds of people who may be reading the review at a later date. The following is a template of how to do what we have just been describing;

Dear [Angry Customer)! Please reach us on [email or phone number]. We will be very happy to discuss and resolve the issue. Update: We have since resolved this issue with the concerned customer! 

The last section will presumably be produced when you have actually resolved the issue to the customer’s satisfaction. Don’t write it if the customer still remains unsatisfied! Otherwise they will come back and contradict you, which paints you as a liar in the eyes of all your potential customers. Now, that’s really bad for business.

Template 4: Do some marketing in your response to negative reviews

This is another method that you can use to answer to negative reviews. Marketing is marketing, and you should seize opportunities wherever they spring up. Even with negative reviews, you can throw in something in your response to promote your business.

Don’t be brazen about it, however. Otherwise people are going to be turned off. Rather, start by responding to the concern that was raised by the customer. From there, you can throw in a few lines promoting your business. Below is a good example of what we are talking about;

Dear [Angry Customer]. We, at [Your Business’ name] always strive to give our customers the best possible service. We would be very happy if you could reach out to us on [you phone number] or using our email address [email]. Did you know that we now offer a 10% discount on all our products? We hope you will come back to do business with us! 

Okay, it’s debatable whether or not an angry customer will be willing to come back to your business. They will probably only do so if the issue has been resolved. But the important thing here is that you have marketed your business. Others reading that review and your response will think less about the negativity.  They will probably be more concerned about the discount. We all love deals and promos, right? 

Template 5: Dispute the review

You will inevitably receive reviews from people who you have never met and who have never done business with you. Some people are just trolls. If you are sure that some of the negative reviews that you have received are fake, you can reach out to Yelp or Google to have them removed. However, that’s not an easy process.

One thing that you can do is to respond by pointing out that the writer of the negative review is a complete stranger. You should be sure about this though. Otherwise they will come back with evidence that they are your customer. The following is a template covering what we have just been talking about;

Dear [Customer Name]. We, at [your name] have checked our records and they do not indicate that you have done business with us at any point in time. We have also tried reaching out to you in vain. Please note that you can be prosecuted for leaving malicious reviews. We hope that you will take down your review soon. 

Okay, maybe we have done what we have been advising against doing. But we are human too. There is only so much that you can take as an individual. If you are sure that negative reviews on your page were left by trolls, then by any means, be as firm as is possible!


That’s how to answer to negative reviews! Hope this article will be useful to you. Generally speaking, you need to keep your cool when responding to negative reviews. Otherwise you will only make the situation worse. Try and resolve the issue with the angry customer.

And if you are still looking for the best platform to handle online reviews for your business, check out Shopper Approved? We have referred over 300 people to that company over the years.

Once you have signed up, they will install their software on your site. From there, you will be able to gather reviews as people buy from you. And the best thing about Shopper Approved is that they get you Seller and Product Ratings in Google Ads and in Google Shopping.

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