Freelancing 101

15 Tips on How to Respond to Negative Feedback as a Freelancer

Team Pepper
Posted on 1/02/226 min read
15 Tips on How to Respond to Negative Feedback as a Freelancer

Table of Contents

  • 15 Ways to Reply to Negative Feedback
  • Key Takeaways
  • Conclusion 
  • FAQs 

Reviews influence customers’ perceptions of your brand. Your reputation is formed not only by what you say about the company but also by what customers comment on online review websites. Customers rely on these reviews to decide whether or not to use your services. 

Negative feedback can put a dent in your online reputation, but there are strategies to keep negative criticism to a minimum. According to a 2013 survey by Zendesk, 88% of the respondents said bad reviews affected their purchasing decisions. You must learn how to reply constructively to negative feedback. In this article, we will provide you with some steps on how to respond to negative feedback effectively.        


15 Ways to Reply to Negative Feedback

1. Listen carefully to understand the real problem

To fix any issue, you must first grasp what the problem is. Pay great attention to the words used, the tone of the voice, and body language. Read between the lines to determine what is being said and what is not being expressed. Rehearse what you heard to ensure clarity. You will be better positioned to manage the complaint if you know its origin.

2. Do not react

While it is natural to be irritated about negative reviews, it is essential not to lose your cool or feel compelled to retaliate. Rather than being defensive or dismissive, it is better to understand where they are coming from. Do not let your emotions influence what you write in reply to a bad review. Instead, maintain a professional demeanor and respond calmly.

3. Sympathize with the client

Put yourself in the client’s shoes. If they were unhappy enough to write about it, you must figure out why. Someone who wrote a negative review is deserving of your sympathy. Make sure to tell them you understand their feelings to make the conversation go more smoothly.

4. Give a timely response.

Even if you do not have an instant answer to the situation, at the very least, apologize and express your wish to make amends. The sooner they hear from you, the more genuine your comments will appear to them. It is essential to reply to the negative feedback as fast as possible. If the customer was angry enough to leave a review for your company, you should prioritize a reply to their bad reviews.

5. Apologize to the customer

You may believe that it is inappropriate for this consumer to leave a bad review. They may be in a terrible mood. In any case, you must apologize to them. Saying sorry demonstrates that you care about your consumers and are not too proud to admit your faults. It is an excellent opportunity to build and reinforce trust between your company or brand and the customer.

6. Make your response personal and authentic.

Customers can easily detect dishonest behavior from a company, leading to a loss of credibility. Since bad reviews have a significant impact on your business, you should take the time to personalize them for the reviewer. Do not forget your salutations. When you respond with, “We are sorry that you feel that way,” it appears that the company is blaming the customer and making them feel as though their expectations were unreasonable. Put up a concerted effort to resolve the problem.

7. Take responsibility

Do not make excuses. When replying to bad reviews, you should take a customer-centric approach. Accept responsibility for the problem and commit to resolving it by developing a strategy. Acknowledge the client’s experience and reassure them that you take your customer’s complaints seriously and that customer satisfaction is integral to your company’s values.

8. Ask questions

In many cases, asking questions might clear up any misunderstandings. Furthermore, it might provide you with a better knowledge of what steps you can take to prevent the problem from recurring with future clients. Ask open-ended inquiries like, “What would you like us to do to help you?”

9. Keep it short

The last thing you want to do is ramble on and on in your reply to the negative feedback. What is important is that your customer is dissatisfied. If it was your fault, apologize sincerely. If not, express sympathy. In either case, a lengthy response is not ideal to justify the negative review. Conflicts get exacerbated by denials and accusations. The shorter the communication, the better.

10. Provide evidence of improvement

Let the customer know if you can immediately remedy the problem in your initial answer. It will lessen the impact of the negative review. Otherwise, list down the measures you will take to rectify it.

11. Take action to make it right.

It is one thing to say you will solve the problem; it is quite another to solve it. Avoid responses that do not resolve or address any specific issues stated in the negative feedback. If the problem can be solved, solve it. If the consumer is worthy of a refund, try providing a complimentary service or product to compensate him.

12. Take the conversation offline.

While you should respond publicly to any negative reviews on the platform where it was posted, you should also continue the conversation on your terms. That involves switching to a private platform. You do not want all of your customers to be present throughout the discussion. You can contact them via another platform, whichever is more convenient for your customer. Alternatively, you can ask them to contact you directly via phone or email. It avoids further embarrassment on your part and prohibits involvement from outside parties.

13. Find a silver lining.

Negative feedback can be turned into an opportunity by proving that you care about client satisfaction. You may not be aware of a problem in your company until someone complains. Negative feedback is never good, but it is better than losing consumers without knowing the reason. Do not be discouraged by negative feedback. Instead, utilize them to communicate with your customers and fix the issues to maintain your good reputation. It can be a helpful tool for identifying areas for improvement.

14. Ask the client to change the bad review.

You should inquire whether the problem got resolved and, if so, whether you can obtain public feedback on their experience. Seeing someone change from being furious enough to post a negative review to give a testimonial or referral speaks volumes about your company’s values. Do not ask about it in public or be too forceful about it. If the client appreciates your effort after giving it another chance, they will change it themselves.                   

15. Know it is impossible to please everyone

It is unreasonable or impossible to satisfy clients’ requests in some situations. It is sometimes acceptable to correct a customer or decline a request. However, you should reply with grace, apologize, and concentrate on obtaining more positive feedback rather than changing negative ones.

Key Takeaways

• Social evidence like testimonials is essential for marketing.

• Acknowledging negative feedback of the customer and expressing concern can go a long way toward making them feel like your company is on their side

• Restate the problem in your own words so that they know you understand what is going on and why it is an issue.

• If possible, present a solution in your first chat so that clients can be satisfied soon.

• You can offer a private conversation over the phone, email, or chat to get to the bottom of the issue.


Negative feedback is inevitable. It will always come no matter how wonderfully the show is run. However, negative feedback can improve your future client communication. You can enhance your brand’s reputation by replying to bad reviews, getting to know your customers better, and increasing their engagement and loyalty.


1. How should you address the client?

By using their name and referring to their comments, you demonstrate that this is not an automated scripted response and that they are speaking with someone who will take care of their problem.

2. What questions may you consider asking?

Here are a few examples: Would you be willing to allow us to fix this problem? Do you have any suggestions for how we might improve this situation for you?

3. How do you research the incident?

Read the bad review, distribute it throughout the company, and ask questions. Discuss the matter with the people concerned (internal team/vendor/shipment firm) to avoid making the same mistakes again.

4. How to respond if you do not have an immediate solution?

Maintain communication even if it takes some time to resolve the issue. Inform the client that you are investigating the problem and will contact them as soon as possible.

5. How should you acknowledge the problem of the customer?

Accept and apologize for your fault, and acknowledge the inconvenience it may have caused the customer.

6. What can be an immediate and handy solution for the problem at hand?

Depending on the severity of the problem, consider providing a freebie or a discount.