Turning Criticism into Opportunity: A Guide for Merchants to Deal with Negative Online Reviews

As a business owner, negative reviews on your product or service can be distressing and damage your reputation and revenue, regardless of whether you are a beginner or an experienced entrepreneur with multiple exits. The key is to remember that when properly wielded, negative reviews can also provide valuable feedback that can help improve your business. Upon receiving a harsh or negative review, there are seven things I would encourage you to emulate and implement.

1. Remain calm.
Negative reviews can be emotional, but avoiding getting defensive or aggressive is essential. Take a deep breath and approach the review calmly and professionally. Remember that your response will be visible to other customers, and it’s crucial to maintain a positive tone.

2. Respond promptly.
Promptly responding to a negative review can show that you take customer feedback seriously. Try to respond within 24 to 48 hours of receiving the review. By responding to negative feedback, you demonstrate your company’s commitment to taking customer input seriously, giving the reviewer a sense of being heard.

3. Thank the customer for their feedback.
Acknowledge the customer’s experience and thank them for taking the time to provide feedback. Expressing gratitude for feedback can indicate to customers that you hold their opinions in high regard, which can make a positive impression and demonstrate the value you place on customer feedback.


4. Apologize if necessary.
If the customer had a negative experience, apologize for any inconvenience or dissatisfaction they may have experienced. Apologizing can go a long way in showing that you take responsibility for any shortcomings and are willing to make amends. A sincere apology can also help to defuse the situation and win back the customer’s trust.

5. Offer a solution.
To address the customer’s concerns, consider providing a solution, such as offering a refund, a discount on a future purchase or an opportunity to speak with a manager to resolve the issue. Offering a solution shows that you are willing to go the extra mile to ensure customer satisfaction and are interested in making a sale and building a long-term relationship with your customers.

6. Keep it professional.
Maintain a professional and positive tone when responding to negative reviews, and avoid getting into arguments or using defensive language. It is important to remember that responding to negative feedback can help resolve issues and demonstrate to customers that their opinions are valued. Keeping a composed and optimistic demeanor makes you more likely to achieve a positive outcome.

7. Follow up.
If you’ve offered a solution to the customer, follow up to ensure they’re satisfied with the resolution. Following up shows that you are committed to ensuring customer satisfaction and are interested in maintaining a positive relationship with your customers. It also provides an opportunity to obtain additional feedback and improve your business processes.

Find Ways to Improve by Identifying Recurring Themes

Although the feedback from negative reviews can serve a purpose, it’s even better to stop those negative experiences from occurring at all. After you have received feedback on a certain issue, the goal is to resolve that problem so it does not happen again for other customers. Should a negative review pop up again and again, there is likely an overarching issue with your brand or product that needs to be addressed. By analyzing negative reviews and using the feedback to improve your products or services, you can turn a negative into a positive and drive expansion in your company.

Here are some tips for auditing negative reviews and leveraging them to grow your business:

  • Determine if customers are consistently complaining about the same issue: If this is the case, it may indicate where you need to focus on improving. Look for patterns in the feedback and use them to identify areas of your business that need improvement.
  • Ask yourself if improved communication is the solution: Are there common issues that customers are experiencing that could be resolved with better communication or more responsive customer service? Try to identify which customer complaints can be reconciled by making changes to your offerings. When you receive negative feedback, view it as a chance to enhance your product or service and provide a better experience for future customers.

Using a Mobile App to Enhance the Shopping Experience

A mobile shopping app can provide a range of benefits to a merchant, including the ability to mitigate or prevent negative reviews. By offering a seamless and convenient shopping experience, merchants can improve customer satisfaction and reduce the likelihood of negative reviews. Personalized product recommendations can also increase the likelihood of positive reviews by helping customers find products they are more likely to purchase. Faster customer service through the app can result in quicker resolution of issues, further reducing the likelihood of negative reviews.

Additionally, loyalty programs can incentivize customers to continue purchasing from the merchant, increasing customer loyalty and reducing negative reviews. Push notifications can keep customers informed of sales, promotions and new products, leading to increased engagement and repeat purchases. By leveraging these features, merchants can create a positive relationship with their customers, which can lead to more positive reviews and higher customer satisfaction.

Remember that when harnessed as an opportunity to improve, negative reviews can provide valuable insights that can help drive growth in your company. Take a step back and consider what you might be able to do to turn those negatives into positives, or at least take the feedback and improve your business. Doing so can help reassure your customers that they will be taken care of and help you earn their trust so they return again and again.

Alex Rosas-Maxemin is a seasoned Marketing Manager at Tapcart with over five years of experience in B2B SaaS. As a creative strategist at heart, she specializes in developing holistic branding strategies from design to voice and tone. Rosas-Maxemin has a brand-first mentality and uses her expertise in social media, email, digital ads and sales collateral to create scalable processes that align with the target audience’s persona and customer journey.

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