How Should I Respond to Negative Feedback?

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We’ve all been there before… you received negative feedback about your business publicly. Maybe your displeased customer chose to vent their frustrations in a Yelp review, on your answering machine, or even in a comment on your Facebook Business Page.

Not to worry! We’ve collected some tips on how to minimize the damage and start turning the negative comments back into positive ones.


Apologize – Just say, “I’m sorry.” A simple apology can go a long way. Keep in mind that your customers can tell when an apology is forced. So be genuine.

Explain – Your customers want to know what happened. If you don’t provide them with an explanation as to why your plan went wrong, the negative feedback could continue. This will give you the chance to highlight your positive intentions.

Reassure – If they didn’t like it the first time, your customers certainly won’t want the mistake to happen again. Tell them what you’ve learned and how you’ll prevent the same situation from happening again.

Be available – Invite the customer to contact you directly and provide a phone number to avoid a public back and forth exchange. They’ll also feel like they have input regarding the long-term outcome.


Push back – Sometimes your customers will request an apology. While it might be uncomfortable to be told how to respond, keep your response professional (as opposed to making the situation into a bigger deal).

Defend yourself – Excuses have no place in a genuine apology. You might stand behind your work behind the scenes. But maintaining your positive reputation is more important than justifying your mistake.

Apologize too quickly – You need time to explore the problem and develop a solution, while your customers need time to express their thoughts. Only after you have all of the information can you craft an effective apology. Plus, extra time allows tension to deflate.

Forget to follow through – Your customers want to know that you keep your promises. If you told them in your apology that you would solve the problem, do it! Following through is the only way to maintain a positive reputation.

We know that you want the best for your customers. And mistakes happen. Commit to a positive response and promise that you’ll learn from the mistake. Now you’re fully equipped to respond to negative feedback effectively.

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