You got a bad review online? Some tips on how to handle it

Save Story
Leer en español

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

NEW YORK (AP) — Negative online reviews may be hard for small businesses to avoid — even companies with many happy customers can get panned. Marketing consultants, who help companies keep a positive image, say owners should never ignore a bad review, and instead use their best customer service skills to mitigate the damage:

Some tips for dealing with negative reviews:

— Expect that at some point, you're going to get a bad review. "Somebody's bound to have a negative experience," says Ryan Goff, chief marketing officer with MGH, a marketing firm. "Accepting that affects how you deal with the customer."

— Consider negative reviews as marketing information — the feedback tells you that something about your product or service needs to be changed. And by responding to bad reviews and trying to resolve the problem, a company shows prospective customers that it would be responsive to their needs. "They watch us and know that we're going to take care of issues and not leave customers hanging," says Angie Stocklin, co-founder of, an online seller of reading glasses.

Some owners also welcome occasional less-than-stellar reviews because some people become suspicious when they see only glowing reviews and think they're fake.

— Always respond to the unhappy customer on the review site and encourage them to contact you by phone or email to try to resolve the situation offline. If they contact you and you're able to agree on a resolution and the customer is satisfied, ask them to amend or delete the review. If they're still unhappy, move on, says Rex Kimball, owner of marketing firm Mirex Marketing. "Sometimes customers just can't be satisfied and other rational people will recognize that," Kimball says.

— Be proactive about your online reputation. Before a customer leaves your restaurant, store or other business, ask for feedback, Kimball says. If it's good, ask them to post an online review.

— If a review is libelous or false, contact the review site and ask them to investigate it. You may also want to talk to your attorney, Kimball says.


For more small business news, insights and inspiration, sign up for our free weekly newsletter here:


Follow Joyce Rosenberg at . Her work can be found here:

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Most recent Business stories

Related topics

Joyce M. Rosenberg


    Get informative articles and interesting stories delivered to your inbox weekly. Subscribe to the Trending 5.
    By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

    KSL Weather Forecast