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How To Handle Negative Online Reviews (Sample Templates Given)

How To Handle Negative Online Reviews

Have you ever had to deal with a negative review? What was your response?

A negative review is something every business has to worry about at one time or the other. I mean, we can’t be perfect all the time.

Even if you do everything perfectly, one or two customers might think you could've done a better job. They might even leave a bad review.

Why Do Negative Reviews Happen

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Negative reviews in the nail industry are not uncommon. As a nail technician, you may have experienced the frustration of receiving a less-than-glowing review.

But why do negative reviews happen in the first place?

1. Poor Communication: Usually, the reason for negative reviews is poor communication between the owner and the client. Unclear information about nail preferences, design ideas, or even appointment details can lead to let down.

2. Quality Issues: Another reason for negative reviews is when clients feel that the quality of the nail service or products used is subpar. This can include issues like chipped polish, uneven nails, or even allergic reactions to certain products.

So whether you are running a small business on the last block down a street in Alaska or you are the CEO of a beauty brand smackdown in the heart of New York, responding to negative reviews is a must.

This video on how to effectively handle negative online reviews shows how you can easily respond to unsatisfied customers.

Is Responding to Negative Online Reviews Necessary?

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Why am I being very so particular about this? Recently, I had a 3.4-star rating amidst 5-star ratings. Worse still, the client left a ‘not so great’ public comment and this discouraged me as I had worked really hard to build my profile.

My first response was that I wanted to chat him up and blast him or rant about how we had a long-term relationship, how I explained to him the reason I couldn’t get the job done, and so on.

Perhaps yours was a client that was unsatisfied with the particular shade of purple you used for her nails, or her nails broke 2 days after getting it fixed and the blame was laid at your feet.

Well, in this article, I am going to be showing you how to handle and respond to negative reviews because whether you admit it or not, they have a lot of impact on your online presence.

Negative reviews can have a significant impact on a nail technician's business and reputation.

Effects of Negative Reviews

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In today's digital age, online reviews hold a lot of weight, with 84% of people trusting them as much as personal recommendations.

So, it's crucial to address negative reviews effectively. Here are some of the negative effects of negative online reviews:

Damage to Reputation

Negative reviews can tarnish a nail technician's reputation. Potential clients often read reviews before booking an appointment, and a few negative reviews can make them think twice.

It's essential to manage your online reputation proactively.

Loss of Business

Negative reviews can directly impact a nail technician's bottom line. A study found that businesses risk losing 22% of customers when just one negative review is visible in search results.

This loss of business can be detrimental, especially for independent nail technicians.

Bad online reviews have many downsides but you can also look at the silver lining of these comments to improve your business.

Bad Reviews Are Not All That Bad!

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It’s easy to give up and bemoan your fate when you receive bad reviews. It might be a hit to your confidence as a professional or a business owner.

Questions like: Can I really do this? Begins to pop into your mind.

But when you realize that a bad review is actually an opportunity to instill trust in your prospective clients, you will not be scared of one or two negative reviews.

  • Negative reviews can be used to highlight the positive ones. 
  • When handled properly, negative reviews build trust in the brand. The truth is, many people tend to be wary of businesses with perfect 5-star ratings. They begin to suspect whether the reviews are fake. By leaving it out there, they see that you are transparent and have nothing to hide.
  • That’s probably why 68% of customers trust businesses with mixed reviews. By leaving it out there, they see that you are transparent and have nothing to hide.
  • Reading negative feedback help customers make informed decisions. Meaning, they will be able to compare the advantages and disadvantages of your product/service before paying for it. This amounts to fewer refunds and even fewer negative reviews.
  • Provides room for improvement. So how should you as a business owner respond to negative reviews and make the situation favor you? Here’s how! 

14 Tips on How to Handle Negative Online Reviews

1. Step Away

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The instance you read that negative review, step away from the situation. The truth is that as a business owner, negative reviews are going to hurt. And you might be tempted to respond in a like manner, with all the emotions you’re feeling right then.

The point I am trying to make is that responding to negative reviews based on emotions is a no-no. So the first thing you must do is to step away from the situation.

Get some objectivity, do not address it as a personal attack. If this is too difficult for you to do, I suggest you ask someone more objective, a friend or employee to do it for you.

2. Never Get Personal

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When faced with a difficult customer, it's essential to remember not to take things personally. People can have bad days, and their frustration may not have anything to do with you.

Instead of reacting defensively or getting upset, stay calm and composed. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that your goal is to provide excellent service and ensure customer satisfaction

3. Answer Quickly With A Personalized Response

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No one liked to be presented with some generic response. While you can have a format you use to respond to negative reviews, you should make it personalized to each person and their complaint. By doing that, you are satiating their ego.

“The CEO of the company apologized to me!” That sure sounds nice. One way to do this is by mentioning the person's name at least once in your response.

In the age of instant communication, customers expect quick responses to their inquiries or concerns. Whether they reach out to you via phone, email, or social media, make it a priority to respond promptly.

A study by SuperOffice found that 41% of customers expect a response within six hours, while 36% expect a response within an hour. By addressing their queries or complaints in a timely manner, you show that you value their time and concerns.

When responding, personalize your message to make the customer feel heard and understood. Use their name, acknowledge their specific issue, and offer a solution that addresses their needs.

This personal touch goes a long way in building trust and a positive customer experience.

4. Be Kind & Keep It Appropriate

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No matter how challenging a customer may be, it's vital to maintain a kind and professional demeanor. Treat them with respect and empathy, even if they're being rude or unreasonable.

Remember, your goal is to resolve the issue and leave them feeling satisfied. Avoid arguing or getting defensive, as it will only escalate the situation.

Keep your language and tone appropriate at all times. Avoid using slang or jargon that the customer may not understand.

Use clear and concise language to ensure effective communication. Remember, kindness can diffuse tension and help turn a difficult customer into a loyal one.

5. Be Thankful & Appreciative

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After gaining control over your emotions, the next thing you should do is acknowledge the client for leaving a review.

Do not forget to say thank you. This shows that you think highly of your customers and value their opinion.

You can say;

“Dear (inserts name), thank you for letting us know about this” Or “Dear (name), thank you for your feedback…”

Expressing gratitude can go a long way in building strong relationships with your customers. Whether they give you positive feedback, refer someone to your salon, or simply choose your services, always express your thanks.

Simple gestures like saying "thank you" at the end of an appointment or sending a personalized thank-you note can leave a lasting impression.

6. Apologize And Empathize

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Saying I'm sorry seldom fails to diffuse a tense situation. It makes perfect sense that you should use it here. An apology should be included in your response whether or not the fault is yours.

At this point, you have to be the bigger person and express how sorry you are for such an unsatisfactory service.

However, you do not have to sucker up to every customer who leaves a negative review. When the fault is merely perceived or caused by unrealistic expectations, you can say;

“We apologize that our product/service failed to meet your expectations” or
“I am sorry to hear that you were not completely satisfied with our services.”

7. Ask For A Second Chance

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We've all had clients who weren't completely satisfied with our work. It happens, we're only human! But instead of letting their disappointment fester, use it as an opportunity to turn things around.

Reach out to them and offer to fix any issues they have. This not only shows that you care about their experience but also gives you the chance to impress them with your stellar customer service.

Once they're happy, kindly ask if they would consider leaving a review about their updated experience. You'd be surprised how many people are willing to give you a second chance and leave a positive review afterward.

8. Provide A Brief Explanation

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Refer to the problem being put forward. You do not have to write a full defense but one or two sentences will be perfect. At this point, you might want to contrast the client’s negative experience with what your customers usually experience.


“We’re usually known for our outstanding customer service and we regret that we didn’t live up to those expectations here.”

Another trick is to highlight whatever compliment was paid in the review.

For example:

“Dear (name), thank you for leaving feedback. While I am glad to know that you loved the color of the nail polish, I am sorry to learn that it didn’t last as long as you expected…”

9. Offer Compensation for Hardship, If Necessary

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Offering compensation should only follow valid reviews. If you’ve never been trolled before, you are incredibly lucky. But when you realize that your service/product was not top-notch, you should try to compensate that client.

Perhaps a free pedicure session to compensate for their fungal infection. Or a 50% off coupon for a massage, etc.

Compensation could also come as a refund, especially in cases where money-back guarantees are made. When this happens, you can ask the dissatisfied client to confirm that he/she has received the reimbursement.

Depending on the situation, you might want to only hint at compensation without stating in public exactly what you would offer the dissatisfied reviewer.


“… we would like to make up for our poor service to you. Do expect a detailed email from us within the next 2-5 working days.”

10. Take It Offline

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When responding to a negative review, you shouldn’t make every detail of the conversation public. You should take the discussion offline to avoid any complicated scenarios with obstinate clients, etc.

This doesn’t mean the inability to handle a confrontation. On the contrary, it is a testament to your professionalism not to hash out every detail in public.

One way you can do this is by leaving your contact information in your response. You can say,

“We would love to know more details about your experience. You can reach us @ (email) or speak directly to someone by calling (customer care line). Please allow us to resolve this issue. Thank you.”

11. Follow up With Negative Reviewers

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Once you've resolved the issue, don't stop there! Go the extra mile and follow up with the customer. A simple email or phone call to check if they're happy with the resolution can make a world of difference.

By doing this, you show that you value their feedback and are dedicated to ensuring their satisfaction. Not only will this help repair the relationship with the customer, but it may also encourage them to update or remove their negative review.

12. Understand How Reviews & Rating Sites Work

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To effectively navigate the world of online reviews, it's essential to understand how review and rating sites operate.

Familiarize yourself with popular platforms like Yelp, Google Reviews, and Facebook Reviews. Each platform has its own guidelines and policies that dictate how reviews are handled.

By knowing the rules of the game, you can better manage negative reviews and protect your online reputation.

13. Request Fake or Misleading Reviews Be Removed

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Unfortunately, there are times when negative reviews are unjustified or even fake. If you believe that a review is misleading or fraudulent, don't hesitate to reach out to the platform where it was posted.

Provide evidence to support your claim and request that the review be removed. Remember, maintaining the integrity of your online reputation is crucial, and platforms are often willing to investigate and take action against fake reviews.

14. Take The Extra Step

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We all know that word-of-mouth is one of the most powerful marketing tools. That's why it's essential to go above and beyond for your customers, especially after a negative review.

Offer a complimentary service or a discounted future appointment to show your commitment to making things right.

By taking that extra step, you not only salvage the relationship with the customer who left the negative review but also show potential customers that you genuinely care about their experience.

Tips for Improving Online Image

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Prevention is better than cure, right? Stay on top of your online reputation by monitoring review sites and social media platforms regularly. 

Monitor Your Online Reputation

You can set up Google Alerts for your business name and monitor social media mentions.

By staying informed, you can address negative reviews promptly and prevent potential issues from escalating.

Remember, a quick response shows that you're attentive and dedicated to providing excellent service.

Monitor Your Online Reputation

After a client has visited your salon, follow up with a personalized thank you message. Express your gratitude for their business and let them know how much you value their feedback.

Include a friendly request to leave a review if they had a positive experience. Personalization goes a long way in making your customers feel valued and more inclined to help you out.

While Responding To Negative Reviews, Here Are 4 Tips You Should Not Forget!

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  • Less Is More:

     Keep it as brief as you can while passing the right message across. Do not ask follow up questions to prevent the reviewer from adding more details and negative comments to an already bad situation. 
  • No Traceable Marketing:

     Agreeably, you can use your response to negative reviews to highlight the excellent part of your business.

    You must be careful not to include keywords in your response or anything that will make that negative review pop up on search engines. 
  • Do Better:

    One good thing about honest negative reviews is that they show you where you need to prove as a business.

    Maybe you need to change the chairs in the reception area or offer your customers more colors of a product to choose from.

    Or perhaps you need to talk to your staff about politeness and customer care. There’s no better time than now! 
  • Respond On Time:

    There is no point waiting a week or month before responding to a negative review. Factually, the best time frame is within 3 days.

    When businesses respond to negative reviews quickly enough, the reviewer tends to go back and change the review or drop a good one.      

Templates You Can Use To Respond To Negative Online Reviews

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There are several other templates you can use to draft a response to a negative review.

Depending on the situation. Sometimes a mere “Thank you for your feedback. We are sorry to hear that you were not satisfied with our service. Please contact (email) so we can fully assess and address the situation” will suffice.

Other times you may need a more detailed one like: 

Hello (name),

On reading your feedback, we understand your disappointment and we are deeply sorry that you had such an experience.

Our company prides itself on 100% customer satisfaction and we would like to resolve this issue as soon as possible.

We ask that you allow us to make this right.
Please give us a call at (phone no) so we can discuss this further.

Thank you for your support.

Yours Sincerely,


Dear (insert name),

Thank you for leaving your feedback. We sincerely apologize that you weren’t satisfied with our product (e.g. our DIY nail kit).
We pride ourselves in caring for the total well-being of our clients and it is quite a surprise that (e.g. the package was not sealed).

As you said, this is unacceptable and we would love a chance to set things right. You can reach out to me directly via mail at *** or call ***-***-***.

Please bear with us.

Yours Sincerely,
(insert position)

Final Thoughts

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Negative reviews don't have to be the end of the world. By responding professionally, embracing imperfection, identifying fake reviews, continuously improving, and encouraging positive feedback, you can turn negative reviews into growth opportunities for your brand.

Remember, every review, good or bad, is a chance to learn and evolve. So embrace the feedback, take it in stride, and keep striving for excellence in your nail technician journey.

Did you find this article helpful? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. And don't forget to share this article with your fellow nail technicians to help them navigate the world of online reviews.

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