With 92% of consumers now reading online reviews, it’s imperative your business takes the proper steps to ensure your online reputation is squeaky clean. One of the easiest ways of doing this is to appropriately manage negative reviews.

If we quickly break down a basic customer journey (i.e., every touch point a potential customer has with your business), we can quickly conclude how important a positive online reputation via online reviews actually is.

Let’s walk through a quick customer journey for a consumer looking to buy a new car.

Touch Point #1: The Consumer decides on the make, model, and appropriate budget and performs a Google/Bing search for dealerships in their area and is served up local dealerships along with their star ratings representing online reviews.

Touch Point #2: Being that a couple of the car dealerships carry the exact car at the same price, within similar geographic proximities, the consumer defaults to the online reviews to decide with which dealership with which they should first engage.

Short customer journey, I know – but, you’d be surprised at how many clients we have that say the customer journey just presented, is a common one.

Why is this?

Because consumers now have endless amounts of information accessible to them which results in educated decisions based off of historical and previous customers’ experiences.

This accessibility is great for consumers. But, as I said, if businesses don’t take the appropriate steps to garner a positive online reputation, it can be detrimental. Being that nearly every business has at one point had a negative review, we’ve put together 3 tips to help you fix that negative review problem.

Tip #1: Right Any Wrong By Responding To The Negative Review

Regardless of whether or not you believe your company did anything wrong, your business should respond to any and all negative reviews. By responding, you give your company a voice and a chance at redemption. Just be sure not to respond emotionally or defensively. Rather, take a solution-oriented approach where you offer next steps for rectification.

If done correctly, your business can effectively show life and personality within your business and show that you care about your customers’ experiences. Follow the steps below for basic guidelines on responding to negative reviews.


In time, you’ll naturally see negative reviews disappear. Often times people who leave the negative review will remove it once your business rights any wrong that they feel has occurred. If they don’t remove the negative review, go ahead and politely ask them to remove or alter their review to reflect the updated customer experience you have provided.

Tip #2: Drown the Negative With the Positive

One of the easiest and most sensible solutions to fixing negative reviews is to bury them with positive ones. I’m not talking about buying reviews (read this article to learn why you shouldn’t buy reviews). I’m talking about improving business processes and making it a focus to get more positive reviews on sites like Google, Yelp, and Facebook.

In order to effectively dilute the concentration of negative reviews, you’ll need to put an online review strategy in place. The idea is to get new, relevant online reviews that accurately reflect your business. If you have a few negative reviews on Google, then you should focus on getting new positive reviews on their online review platform. If your business has negative reviews on Facebook, focus on getting a few positive reviews on Facebook’s platform. Whatever the platform and wherever the negative review, fix it with new, positive reviews.

If you are looking to take this approach, you’ll benefit most by employing an online review management platform. An effective platform will allow you to easily and quickly generate real, authentic, reviews from your actual customers.

With Google searches containing “near me” (e.g., car dealers near me) in the query increasing by 34x since 2011, you’ll want to quickly fix that negative review problem. The longer you wait, the more customers your potentially lose who are searching for businesses like yours online.

Tip #3: Beat Customers to the Punch with an Effective Review Management Platform

This tip has two parts:

  1. Give potential negative reviewers a chance to steam privately versus on a popular review site.
  2. Give potential positive reviewers the easiest and most efficient way possible to leave you a review.

The first part (addressing potential negative reviewers), is a good way to gauge your customers’ experience before they go online and leave you a scathing review. By getting a gauge via a net promoter score (or something comparable), you can immediately and privately address any concerns they have and put out the fire before it even starts. All of this can allow you transparency into areas that you may not be familiar with and provide you actionable insights into improving your business.

The second part (addressing potential positive reviewers), is a great way to boost the likelihood of your happiest customers leaving positive reviews for your business on the most popular sites like Google, Yelp, and Facebook.

For the best results, it’s important to understand what devices your customers are using, which sites they often visit or have accounts for, and the best time to remind them that online reviews help your business provide the excellent service to which they have become so accustomed.

The easiest way to accomplish all of these things is through an effective online review management platform.


Addressing a negative review problem isn’t the easiest task. But, if you take heed to the 3 tips in this article, you’ll be well on your way to getting far more positive reviews than negative.

Responsibility responding to negative reviews (even if you don’t agree with the review) is one of the easiest ways to turn around negative reviews. Remember to approach the review with a solution-oriented mindset and offer next steps to right any wrong they believe you have done.

Another sensible solution is to bury negative reviews with positive reviews. That is, fix whatever business processes are causing the discontent and begin collecting reviews that accurately reflect your business. In time, you’ll see more relevant, positive reviews surface and be visible to potential customers.

Last of all, look into employing an online review management platform. An effective one can help you better manage negative reviews, reviews from multiple sites and help you generate new, positive reviews.

What other suggestions do you have for fixing a negative review problem?

For more information about online reviews and how they can impact your business, download our free eBook: The Complete Guide to Online Reviews.