How to Use PR to Overcome a Negative Review

Tara Figg
 Posted on 06, Feb 2023

Every business gets the occasional negative review or customer complaint that goes public. It might be a low score on Yelp or Google, an angry post on a company’s Facebook or Instagram page, or even a scathing video review on TikTok. Using PR to overcome a negative review involves proactively managing a company's reputation and responding to negative feedback in a way that demonstrates professionalism and a commitment to customer satisfaction. 

When a negative review is received, a company should respond promptly and address the issue, investigate the root cause, and take steps to prevent similar issues from happening in the future. A company can also use transparency and honesty in its response, highlighting what went wrong and what steps are being taken to resolve the situation. 

Additionally, a company can use media outreach to share its side of the story and provide context for the negative review, and engage with its online audience to show appreciation for positive reviews and respond to negative feedback in a professional manner. By using PR to overcome negative reviews, a company can protect its reputation, maintain customer trust, and ultimately improve its brand image.

Respond promptly and professionally

Responding professionally to a negative review is an important part of maintaining a positive image and reputation for your business. Begin by acknowledging the customer's issue and apologizing for the inconvenience they experienced. If the problem is due to a mistake made by your company, take responsibility and express regret. If possible, provide a solution to the customer's problem and let them know what steps you are taking to prevent similar issues from happening in the future.

Thank the customer for bringing the issue to your attention and for giving you the opportunity to improve your product or service. Regardless of the situation, it is important to remain professional and polite in your response. Avoid using negative or confrontational language and keep a positive tone throughout your reply. Always respond to a negative review in a way that shows your commitment to customer satisfaction and helps to maintain a positive image for your business.

Investigate the issue

Read the negative review thoroughly and take note of the specific issues mentioned. Investigate the situation by gathering information from relevant sources such as employees, customers, and data. Once you identify the root cause of the problem, develop a plan to address the issue and prevent it from happening again. This may involve improving processes, training employees, or implementing new technology.

Ensure that once you’ve put your plan into action, you take the time to monitor its effectiveness. In the meantime, follow up with the customer who left the negative review to show that their feedback was taken seriously and to provide an update on the steps taken to address the issue. 

Continuously seek feedback from customers and make improvements as necessary to maintain high levels of customer satisfaction. It's important to approach negative reviews with a problem-solving mindset and to view them as opportunities for growth and improvement.

Use transparency and honesty

Be open and honest about what went wrong and what steps you are taking to rectify the situation. Using transparency and honesty is an important part of resolving a negative review and building trust with your customers. By acknowledging the problem and being open about what steps you are taking to fix it, you show customers that you value their feedback and are committed to providing a high-quality experience. This can help to mitigate the negative impact of the review and potentially even turn a dissatisfied customer into a loyal one.

Being transparent and honest about your business practices, products, and services helps to build trust with customers, employees, and other stakeholders. Companies that are transparent and honest about their operations and performance are more likely to have a positive reputation and be viewed as credible and reliable. Transparency and honesty increase accountability and encourage a culture of responsibility and ethical behavior within a company. 

Transparency and honesty are critical for building trust, improving reputation, increasing accountability, supporting transparency, and enhancing relationships. By being transparent and honest, companies can create a positive image and foster strong relationships with their stakeholders.

Appreciate positive reviews/feedback

By responding to positive reviews and showing appreciation for them, you can not only acknowledge your customers' positive experiences but also encourage future business and positive reviews. This is how you can foster customer loyalty and build a positive reputation for your business. 

As with negative reviews, respond to positive reviews as soon as possible to show that you value your customers' feedback. Use the customer's name and mention specific details from their review to make your response feel personalized. Express your gratitude for the positive review and for the customer's business.Share your response to positive reviews on your business's social media pages or website to show that you value and appreciate positive feedback.

Consider a media outreach campaign

If a negative review has received widespread attention, a media outreach campaign can be an effective way to mitigate the impact of a negative review. Research relevant media outlets that cover your industry or business and have a large audience, and craft a clear and concise message that clearly explains your side of the story and addresses the issue raised in the negative review.

Personalize your outreach to each media outlet and journalist, making sure to mention why you think their audience would be interested in your story. Then respond promptly to any follow-up questions from journalists to demonstrate your commitment to transparency and honesty.

Keep in mind that a media outreach campaign should only be used in certain situations and after careful consideration, as it can also attract more attention to the negative review. However, if executed effectively, a media outreach campaign can help you to present your side of the story and show that you are taking the matter seriously.

Monitor your online reputation

This step is crucial for managing your business's image and ensuring customer satisfaction. You might consider setting up Google Alerts, which allow you to receive notifications whenever your business is mentioned online.

You may also want to monitor popular review websites such as Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Google My Business to see what customers are saying about your business. In addition, check your business's social media accounts regularly to see if there are any negative comments or reviews.

It’s always important to engage with your customers. Respond to any negative comments or reviews as previously mentioned: in a professional and timely manner. Address their concerns and show that you are taking their feedback seriously. By taking the steps to monitor your online reputation, you can stay on top of any negative comments or reviews and take quick action to resolve any issues. This can help you to maintain a positive image and build customer trust.

Implement a crisis communication plan

Managing negative publicity and ensuring a consistent and effective response includes the development of a crisis communication plan. Think about the types of events or circumstances that could negatively impact your business and plan for them. Consider your company’s team members, and clearly assign roles and responsibilities for communicating with the public, media, and stakeholders during a crisis.

Next, craft a template for statements that can be used during a crisis to provide consistent information to the public and media. Establish a chain of command by identifying the person or team responsible for making decisions and communicating during a crisis. Consider how you will communicate with different stakeholders during a crisis, such as through social media, press releases, or phone calls.

A blessing in disguise

Negative reviews can actually help a business in several ways, believe it or not. They allow you to identify areas for improvement, providing valuable insight into areas where your business needs to improve. By addressing these issues, you can improve the overall customer experience and increase customer satisfaction. 

Negative feedback or press also give you a chance to build customer trust if you respond appropriately, as it demonstrates your commitment to customer satisfaction and helps to build trust with your customers. This can make your business appear more authentic and trustworthy. A business with only positive reviews may seem too good to be true, while a business with a mix of positive and negative reviews is more honest and transparent.

Responding to negative reviews in a positive and helpful way gives you a chance to shine: it can demonstrate your customer service skills and show potential customers that you are committed to providing a high-quality experience. By embracing negative reviews and using them as an opportunity to improve, businesses can benefit in several ways and ultimately increase customer loyalty and satisfaction.

Imperium Group is an American public relations and marketing consultancy firm. Founded in 2016, it specializes in guaranteed placements, creating utmost transparency for its clients. Imperium Group generates over 15M impressions a month for its clients. Its team is based out of New York, Dallas, and Los Angeles.

For more information about Imperium Group, please see


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