This video is pretty long. At an hour and twenty minutes, it is filled with statistics about review sites, how consumers are influenced by reviews and what reviews – both good and bad – can do for your business. I also highlight a strategy that will help you acquire more reviews. Plus, there are some clever examples of reviews in the real world that are pretty educational and often kinda fun. If online reputation management is important to you, I highly recommend you take the time to watch the presentation in it’s entirety.

But for those of you who can’t get around to the whole thing, I’ve compiled these strategies on dealing with negative reviews.


There are consumers who live and die by their internet devices and would rather communicate via twitter or Facebook than simply pick up the phone and call you. If you don’t think like that, okay. But remember, some of your customers do. For their sake, and for the sake of those who read reviews before making a buying decision (85% of consumers read online reviews to determine if a local business is good or bad. Source: BrightLocal), you have to respond within hours or days. There is nothing worse than a negative review sitting there without a response from the business.


Whether you agree with the review or not, that reviewer had a reason for taking the time to write it. They may be looking to help your business get better with feedback you need to hear, or they may be looking to protect others from a negative experience. Either way, in their mind, they are doing the world a favor with their review. So thank them for taking the time to do it. Besides, it looks very professional and polite. You don’t want to be professional and polite, don’t you?

Negative Review Don't Try to winTHREE: DON’T TRY TO WIN

There’s nothing worse than seeing an argument between a customer and a business owner on a review site. Even if you’re right, potential customers aren’t going to take the time to weigh both sides of the argument and determine that because you were right, they want to do business with you. There are simply too many choices on the internet, so they’re just going to steer clear of an argumentative business owner.


After you respond publicly (Thank you for taking the time to write a review. I’ll be in touch privately to work with you on a resolution to this issue.), get in touch with them in private. Email them directly. No, better yet, PICK UP THE PHONE and call them. The sincerity of your voice is lost in an email and frankly it’s a lot harder to be a jerk to you when you’ve caught them on the phone. If you do email them, remember to still be nice. If they don’t like you’re response, they’re likely to copy and paste it into the original review and it could make things worse.

In the video, I talk about an example where a local restaurant contacted my wife privately after she left a negative review. He thanked her and offered her a free meal if she would give them another chance. Nicely done.


If you are willing to provide a refund or credit of some kind, be careful to do that in private. Offering this in public could generate new negative reviews from folks who are just looking for freebies. Also, you don’t want to lose money just because someone complains, especially if their complaint is unfounded.


If you work things out with the reviewer and make them happy, it’s okay to ask them to remove their negative review – or better yet, to update it. Watch the video from 50:20 to 53:30 for an awesome example of how one business owner turned a 1-star reviewer who said, “This place blows!” into a 4-star reviewer who “would not hesitate to shop at the stores [business owner] owns.”


Right or wrong. True or false. Accurate or lies. It does not matter. You are not responding for the benefit of the person who wrote the review. YOU ARE RESPONDING FOR THE BENEFIT OF FUTURE READERS OF THE REVIEW. This is so important. This is not about that one reviewer or that one situation. This is about all the hundreds of people who are going to read the review and decide if they want to do business with you in the future. So do everything you can to make that reader understand how serious you are about good customer service and quality of work and how hard you’re willing to work to work to make your customers happy.

No matter what the reviewer has said about your business (This guy is a crook!”), you can counter it in a way that makes people want to do business with you. (Thank you for taking the time to write a review. I’m sorry for what happened. I’d like to make it right. Please contact me so we can come to a resolution…) See what I mean? Do you see a crook? Or do you see a business owner who made a human mistake but wants to make things right? I’d do business with that guy all day long.

Do you have a great “online review” story you’d be willing to share? Tell us in the comments below.

Thanks for reading.

David McBee

Skip to your favorite section…

0:00 Opening

2:48 – Online reputation management. Is it worth your time? Tons of statistics that say, yes.

16:27 Find and evaluate reviews

20:19 How to get more reviews

39:24 Dealing with negative reviews

1:00:19 Things to avoid when getting reviews

1:04:04 Own page one

1:07:21 Action steps

1:13:34 Q & A