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How to respond to a review

How to respond to a review
Author: Alicia Gartrell - Strategic Content Coordinator
Written On: March 16, 2018
Category: Online Reputation

Before a customer steps through the door, your reputation may be at stake. Here's "how" and "why" you need to respond to online reviews.

Positive Reviews

If a good customer leaves a glowing five-star review, it can't get any better than that, right? Actually, it can. Here's why you should always respond to a positive review:

  • • It's the polite thing to do. If the customer gave you a compliment in person, you would say thank you. It's only polite. And with an online review, the compliment is public. So be extra nice.
  • • Everyone is looking. Over 90% of consumers now read online reviews. The public, including potential future customers of the business, may read this review. Replying to the review is a chance to speak to these people, too, and do some subtle marketing.
  • It affects search rankings. By replying properly, you can improve the SEO ranking of the review, and help the review show up in search results for a business.


5 Steps to Responding to a Positive Review

Step 1: Thank the customer for the positive review and be specific. Ensure the reviewer knows a real person is behind your reply by thanking them for something specific they said "Thanks for leaving a review and mentioning our barista Marisa. You're right, she is always smiling!”

Step 2: Use the business name and keywords in your review response to the good review. Using the business name, category and location in your response will help the positive review appear in search results. "The team here at [business name] is thrilled to hear such good feedback, and we're proud to be one of the coziest [coffee shops] in [city name]."

Step 3: Add a little marketing to your review response. Your reply is public and will be read by others, including future customers, so throw in some marketing. Mention a behind-the-scenes reason they had a great experience, or a new feature or promotion. "Did you know we just started a free coffee card?”

Step 4: Invite customer to do something in your response. Ask the customer to return, to use an additional service or simply spread the word. "Next time you're here, you should try the [insert product here]! We hope to see you again soon...and bring a friend!"

Step 5: Share the review on social media. Share the review on Facebook, Twitter, or social media platform you received it on. You can even acknowledge the person who left the review by tagging them when you thank them. "Hi there [reviewer name tag], thank you so much! We are so happy to hear that you enjoyed your experience with us. The pulled pork nachos are a house favorite. When you come back, you should try the BBQ beef brisket!"

Here's an example of a reply to a positive review:

Negative Reviews

Unfortunately, you can't just ignore a bad review until it goes away. In fact, ignoring an unpleasant review can make things worse. Plus, properly responding to a bad review can turn it into a positive in the minds of potential customers reading the review. Remember:

  • • You're not replying to just the one reviewer. You're speaking to everyone who reads this review, including potential future customers.
  • • Replying is your opportunity to make things right. If a customer brought a complaint to you in person, you would try to make it right. The same goes for online reviews-despite the impersonal nature of online reviews, it's not over just yet. You can turn this thing around!
  • • Replying shows other readers you are not shady or neglectful to feedback, and have taken steps to ensure this problem won't happen to the next customer.
  • • Resist the urge to engage in an argument. Even if you know the details of a specific rule, policy or social norm—and that the customer is being unreasonable—never argue with them to get your point across. Remember, everyone who visits your page can see your response. It is always better to take the high road online. If you need to stand your ground, do so offline.

4 Steps to Responding to a Negative Review

Step 1: Apologize and sympathize in your response to the negative review. Acknowledge the customer's concerns, even if they are unfounded. Show sympathy that they had a bad experience. "I'm sorry to hear about your bad experience."

Step 2: Insert a little marketing in your response to the bad review. Explain what your customers usually experience. "We're well known for our exceptional attention to detail, and we regret that we missed the mark."

Step 3: Move the conversation offline. Provide contact info with someone at the 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 your experience further, please contact me at [phone number / email]."

Step 4: Keep your response simple, short and sweet. Don't go into too much detail or ask any questions. This will prevent saying something that might cause the upset customer to add more negative feedback by replying to the review. Three sentences for your whole reply is a good rule of thumb.

Here's an example of a reply to a negative review:


REMEMBER: DO NOT include the business name or relevant search keywords. You do not want this negative review showing up in search results!

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