​What do I do if I get a negative review?

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Reply to critical reviews to win respect and credibility, show off your customer service, and demonstrate that you care about your customers.

Negative reviews are no reason to panic - we all know you can’t please everyone all the time! What you can do is use critical feedback in a positive way to learn and improve, and reply to critical reviews to build trust, fix problems, and win more business.

Why bad reviews can be a good thing

At Trustpilot, we sometimes get asked:

  • Should I reply to negative reviews? Even if I disagree with what’s written?
  • Can I win over unhappy customers and boost my brand with a good response?
  • Will the odd negative review make people trust my reviews more?

The answer to these questions is usually: “Yes!”. Businesses are often surprised to learn that bad reviews can have positive effects, such as giving them the chance to respond to feedback and show they care. Strategically replying to reviews - especially critical reviews - can benefit significantly.

Keep a cool head and reply

We recommend responding to negative reviews in a positive and professional way that’s in line with your brand. Our tips for replying to all reviews include keeping responses polite and brief, thanking the reviewer for their feedback, and inviting a more in-depth discussion offline if necessary.

The best replies address the unique situation at hand, so tailor them to be relevant and personal.

Turn negative reviews to your advantage

Each and every one of your less-than-perfect reviews can be an opportunity. You can use bad reviews to: 

  • Help you win respect and loyalty - and returning customers.
  • Show empathy, and show off your service by responding in a thoughtful and polite way. This can even boost sales.
  • Signal authenticity and credibility (people tend to be suspicious if a business only has 5-star reviews).
  • Give you the chance to solve problems and follow up on complaints - which can impress everyone and convert unhappy customers to returning customers.
  • Provide learning opportunities: You may get valuable insights to improve your business.

Avoid flagging bad reviews

It’s never easy to receive criticism. We understand wanting to make bad reviews disappear. But flagging 1 or 2-star reviews is rarely the best option.

First of all, a negative rating alone isn’t a valid reason for flagging a review on Trustpilot! Reviews should only be flagged if they breach our Guidelines for Reviewers.

Second, it can add insult to injury if the reviewer feels they’ve had a bad experience and then had their voice silenced.

Finally, flagging bad reviews means you lose all the benefits above.

What if they're not true?

Even if you believe a reviewer’s version of events is incorrect, it often pays to briefly and politely respond with your side of the story. You may not be able to win over every unhappy reviewer, but people reading reviews are often savvy enough to see through unreasonable complaints.

Businesses also have to comply with our Guidelines for Businesses, which require replies to be family friendly. It’s not only a bad idea to be impolite, it’s also prohibited to post anything harmful, hateful, discriminatory, defamatory or obscene - regardless of how unfair the original review seems.

How do I respond to reviews?

To respond to reviews, log in to your Trustpilot Business account and go to Manage reviews > Service reviews > Inbox. Find the review you'd like to reply to, type in your reply, then click Post reply.

Up next For which reasons can businesses flag reviews?

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