Rules of Response to negative online reviews for business owners

This post was written by Ashley Berges

How to correctly respond to negative online reviewsIs your business or establishment suffering from negative reviews on social media and review sites? Whether you’ve had one negative review or ten, you can recoup your loses and make these reviews work for you and not against you. My books are sold on Amazon and iTunes and on both of these sites; an obvious purchase must be made in order to write a review. Even when a person purchases a book or set of books on one of these sites, the buyer must wait 48 hours to give a review. Trip Advisor, Yelp, and other review sites do not have these types of regulations. When it comes to TV show/gossip reviewing and comments, these areas can become absolutely brutal. The use of false identities makes people feel as if they can write absolutely anything. I remember one night randomly on the internet, I ended up finding a comment section on a TV show I had been on, and these reviews not only require a tough skin but they require you to see past them. Some reviewers have gone to extremes of being hateful and malicious, in their comments. They do this with the knowledge no one will ever find out it was them. Hiding behind false identities is easy for some and allows them the liberty to act however they choose. Freedom of speech is a quality I agree with but I think some people are taking it to an extreme.

Today, I walked into one of my favorite restaurants to pick up food to go. One of the owners asked me if I had a few minutes to give him some advise. By sitting down I assured him I was ready to listen. He said that last night a couple came into his restaurant, and he knew their had been a few problems with their service. The waiter told him he was late entering the ordered drinks into the computer and the happy hour prices were not reflected correctly on the bill. He also knew their drinks went out late after the appetizer. He went to the table and asked if they needed anything and how he can make it up to them? They told him about the drink price difference and he corrected that immediately. He asked about the quality of the food and the couple said it was amazing. He again asked if there was anything he could do and they said no it’s great.

Rules to responding to negative reviewsAn hour after the couple left the restaurant they wrote a scathing review on a high-traffic review site. The author of the review titled the review: Disappointing for $50. He went on to say the meat was too tough, the server was rude, the bill was too expensive, and not worth the price. He also commented about the drinks and how they were served late. The owner told me he would like to respond but didn’t exactly know how.


Rules of Response to online reviews for business owners:

1. Remember most people don’t read the entire review. When you are crafting a rebuttal your first and last sentence need to be positively directed to the other reviewers who wrote stellar reviews. The last sentence should show the strength or longevity of your company. Within the body of the review is where you can direct it towards that particular negative review. Include in your response what you did at the time to try and make it better and how you specifically asked them what you could do. Also include how you appreciate their business and will take care of them if they decide to come back. Stress the fact that this situation could have been rectified the night they were at your establishment.

2. Rewarding people who create negative reviews is not the way to go. Rewarding those who create smart, positive, and depth-oriented reviews that encourage new business is the correct way of doing business. Bullying comes in all forms and these types of reviews are an act of bullying.

3. If you’re experiencing too many negative reviews you should begin to give incentives for your customers to write reviews. No bribery, however encouraging the happy customers to review is priceless. There are incentives you can give and people will follow through. This can help to off set the negative reviews.


A few negative reviews aren’t going to kill your business. Just remember these easy steps and you will offset much stress and anger. People have the right to their option and so do you. Next week, I will be delving into social media and how to create a positive persona on those platforms.

business owners and negative online reviews

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