How to respond to a bad online review about your home improvement company

The sales guy was a jerk!! He was rude to my wife and we asked him to leave the house!! They charged us a ton of money and the installation job was horrible. Now, they won’t return my calls. DO NOT USE THIS COMPANY.

Wow, that stings. You and I both know there’s more behind a bad online review than meets the eye. Maybe you tried to resolve the problem, but the customer wouldn’t call you back. Or, maybe they’re just completely unreasonable. Or, maybe, just maybe, your crew did screw something up. Regardless of the backstory, you still need to respond. And you need to respond quickly. Here’s how:

Step 1: Stay positive and keep calm.

If you have a hard time getting past your emotional response to reading how terrible your company is in all caps, go read this.

Now, let’s go back to being positive. Don’t take this personally. Focus on the specific criticism, not the reviewer.

Step 2: Let the reviewer know they’ve been heard.

Acknowledge your customer’s concerns. You may be surprised just how effective it is to let someone know their voice was heard. Everyone wants to feel validation. And sometimes that simple validation can diffuse the situation, at least enough to keep an angry reviewer from moving on to the next online review site.

Use neutral terms like “disappointed” or “not as expected.” For example, you can simply say, “We’re sorry to hear that your experience didn’t live up to your expectations.”

Step 3: Keep it simple, short and sweet

Don’t go into too much detail or ask any questions. The last thing you want is to engage in a back and forth public conversation thread on a review site.

Say enough in your response to show other readers that you’re engaged. This demonstrates that your management team is responsive and genuinely interested in solving problems.

Step 4: Move the conversation offline

Provide contact info for someone at your business so they can discuss the problem in person. “My name is [name] and I am the [Owner/Manager]. If you’d like to discuss this further, please contact me at [phone number/email].”

Step 5: If possible, Insert some self-promotion

Explain what your customers usually experience. “We’re normally known for our exceptional attention to detail, and we regret that we missed the mark.”

BONUS TIP: Don’t include the name of your company in your response. You don’t want this bad online review showing up in search results when new prospects search on your business name or products.

Want to learn more?

Get our Complete Guide to Online Reviews. Just fill out the form below.


Janet is FatCat's Founder & Managing Partner. She covers business ownership, including tips on how you can get your business off the ground and keep it running strong.

Blog Categories

What if you could get an entire marketing department for less than one new hire?

You can! Take advantage of result-driven digital marketing services, customized to your needs, all for a flat monthly fee. 

Free Resources

Check out our library of free tips, tools and downloadable eBooks.

More from our blog

See all posts