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Should Business Owners Appeal Negative Reviews?

Calling all Business Owners, Franchise Owners, Marketing Managers, CEOs, Operations Managers, Agency Owners, Administrators, well….you get the idea.

Attention, Everyone!

We communicate with you regularly about negative reviews since we all know how much they affect your online reputation; basically, your online reputation is your company’s reputation. We always encourage you to respond to these reviews but today, we’d like to get a little bit more personal. How many of you are actually taking the time to talk to the customer who posted that negative review of your business? Did you know that there’s a chance they might upgrade their review after resolution has been made?

Let’s say you notice that one of your customers has given you a 1-star rating on Google or Yelp and it’s the first review that people see when they visit your page. This doesn’t look good for your business, but you’ve learned to respond quickly so that others see you engaging with your customer and working to resolve the issues.

In addition to responding, have you ever considered reaching out to have a heart-to-heart conversation with the customer who reviewed your company negatively? It’s such a personal and meaningful, yet simple way to ask your disappointed client how you can do things differently and work toward a resolution together.  We highly recommend this strategy!

Forget the negative review for a minute and just concentrate on this client and their experience with your business. You know that both your company and your staff are amazing but for whatever reason, this customer did not experience the best that your business has to offer. Rather than defend and justify your position, listen to your client. Put yourself in their shoes and really try to understand why they felt compelled to review your company in a negative light.




If, after extending your most genuine apology and engaging in thoughtful dialogue, you are able to get to a good place with your customer, it is completely respectable to ask them if this conversation has altered their experience of your company. If so, it is perfectly fine to go a step further and ask them if they would be willing to consider removing or revising their negative review. We believe that it’s always worth asking.

Yelp Says:

“We encourage business owners to engage with their customers both online and offline. Ideally, these are friendly exchanges that are geared toward improving the customer experience. Occasionally, they turn uncomfortable, and more rarely, they can be outright inappropriate or harassing.” <<< Don’t be this person!


To the Reviewer, Yelp Says:

In all cases, we encourage you to stand behind your review or update it to reflect any new information that may be useful to other consumers. We don’t think the public wins when consumers are pressured or even paid to remove or alter their honest reviews, and it’s a violation of our Terms of Service to offer someone a refund in exchange for removing their review (and it’s a violation, too, to accept such an offer). In fact, we have a Consumer Alerts program to let people know about businesses that engage in this sort of activity.


In other words, you can’t incentivize your customer to remove or upgrade their review. But now that you’ve reached out to your client to make amends and have come to a resolution, you won’t need to offer your customer anything more than you already have. Satisfaction with your company is all they wanted in the first place and now they’ve got it.  

If a reviewer needs your assistance in helping them understand how to revise their review, here are instructions for doing so.

Google Logo



  1. On your computer, open Google Maps
  2. In the top left, click the Menu
  3. Click Your contributions
  4. Choose Reviews
  5. Next to the review you want to edit or delete, click More
  • To edit a review, click Edit review
  • To delete a review, click Delete review

Yelp Logo


To post a review update from yelp.com

  1. Go to the Reviews section of your account
  2. Select the review you’d like to update
  3. Beneath the text of your existing review, click Write an Update
  4. Write the new review and add a new star rating
  5. Click Post


To delete a review from yelp.com

  1. Go to the Reviews section of your account
  2. Click Delete Review (the trash can icon) below the review you would like to remove
  3. Click Confirm


At the end of the day, the negative reviewer wants to know that they’ve been heard. Put on your listening ears and smile while you speak (this really makes a difference!). Don’t just listen for facts, listen for feelings too—they can help you understand your customer’s experience. Once you’ve listened, ask questions such as “What can I do to make it better? What were you hoping for? How can we go forward from here?” This will go a long way in letting your customer know that you’ve really listened and now understand where they’re coming from. And who knows? They might just upgrade their review.