How to reply to both positive and negative reviews
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Customers can leave reviews on many places online, including on your free Business Profile on Google, which customers can see on Google Search and Maps. Reviews are important to both businesses and customers, and offer a great opportunity for businesses to engage with customers and build loyalty.
This lesson covers best practices for responding to the reviews customers leave for your business online. If you want to reply to your reviews on Google, you can do so as part of your free Google My Business account once you’ve claimed your Business Profile.
Engage with your customers to build loyalty.
Why responding to reviews is important
As a business, you probably read online reviews to keep up with how customers are perceiving your business. You’ll also want to respond to some of them, both positive and negative.
According to consumers, businesses that respond to reviews are seen as 1.7X more trustworthy than businesses who don't (76% vs. 46%)1. Not only does responding to reviews support trust-building, it also gives you an opportunity to humanize your business, show customers you care, and demonstrates professionalism.
When responding, keep in mind that your responses are public for everyone to read. You’ll want to keep your message short and courteous (even if you disagree with the reviewer), and avoid getting too personal or being salesy by offering incentives or advertisements.
According to consumers, businesses that respond to reviews are seen as 1.7X more trustworthy than businesses who don't.1
1Google/Ipsos Connect, Benefits of a Complete Google My Business Listing, October 2016. A total of N=15,904 adults 18-64.
How to respond to good reviews
For positive reviews, you don’t need to reply to every reviewer, but a “thank you” is often appreciated. You can also use your response to share new or relevant information, but don’t make it too sales-focused — they’re already a happy customer.
Here are some examples to get you started:
- “Thank you! We hope to see you again soon.”
- “Thanks for sharing your experience.”
- “We’re thrilled to hear you enjoyed your experience.”
How to respond to bad reviews
Negative reviews can sting. While nobody wants a negative review, most businesses will receive one at some point. Here are some tips on replying to negative reviews:
- Respond in a timely manner. Customers will appreciate a prompt response.
- Stay professional and courteous. Never lash out and avoid taking the review personally.
- Understand your customer’s experience with your business before responding. If someone mentions a problem with a product or service, investigate to see what may have gone wrong. Be honest about mistakes made and steps you’ve taken (or will take) to remedy the situation.
- Apologize when appropriate but don’t take responsibility for things that weren’t your fault. Show compassion and empathy for the customer.
- Offer to talk it over. If this is the first you’re hearing of the complaint, invite the customer to email or call so that you can try to sort out the matter with them.
- Show that you’re authentic and genuine. Sign off with your name or initials to show you’re taking the matter seriously and that a real person is listening.
While you may want a negative review to disappear from your Business Profile, Google won’t remove a review unless it violates our content policy by including something like fake, illegal, or offensive content. If you feel it does, you can always flag it for Google to investigate.
Learn from your experience and show customers you care
In general, responding to reviews — positive and negative alike — shows you’re an engaged business owner who cares not only about your business, but about your customers, too.
We all want 100% of our reviews to be positive, but even the best-run, most customer-focused businesses will receive bad reviews from time to time. When a negative review comes in, use it as a learning experience for how to improve your business in the future and how to showcase your responsiveness. Respond calmly, honestly, and openly. The way you respond to a negative situation can reflect positively on your business, and a thoughtful post-review interaction can even encourage the customer to update their review.
Need more help getting started with responding to reviews on Google? Learn more.