The moment you see a review come in, you should do far more than simply read the review. Whether the review is positive, negative, or even neutral, responding to reviews is important. In fact, Google states that responding to your customer reviews will help to build customer trust. Additionally, the more engaged you are with reviews, the better chance you have of outranking local competition in the area for important keyword searches.
Knowing that you should respond to reviews is only half the battle. Many business owners and managers are uncertain of how to go about responding to reviews via Google. We’ll take a look at three different scenarios your business might commonly encounter — a positive review, a neutral review, and a negative review. Paired with each review category, we’ll provide tips and examples for how you can respond. The result is that you can become better equipped to manage your Google reputation.
Before You Respond
There are a few things to note before you dive in and start responding to Google reviews. First, make sure you own your Google business listing. If you aren’t managing your listing, you will not be able to respond to reviews.
You can use our Step-by-Step Guide for Claiming Your Business Online to get started.
Next, once you have claimed your business, make sure you have clearly defined roles about who will be handling the responses. Responses can come from the business owner, manager, or even a customer service representative. Make sure that the person in charge is aware of their responsibility and has a clear understanding of the expectations of how quickly they need to respond. Generally, it is best to aim for a response within at least 48 business hours of a review being left. The faster you can respond, the better.
Finally, establish a brand voice. Having a consistent brand voice will help ensure that your responses reflect your company values and that you establish a recognizable brand image.
#1: A Positive Review
A customer had a great experience, and now they want to tell the world about it. When a positive review hits your Google listing, it’s cause for celebration. Positive reviews help earn you future business, which is why, rather than simply patting yourself on the back when one rolls in, you should take the time to respond to your happy client. Positive reviews are often overlooked when it comes to responding to customers because it can seem at first that there’s nothing more to say. However, you can gain a large amount of value when you engage with happy customers, making responding to these reviews well worth your time.
- Say thank you: A positive customer review should result in gratitude. Make sure that you always say a big thank you to a customer who took the time out of their day to leave you a good review.
- Mention loyalty programs or upcoming promotions: One of the best things you can do is use a positive customer review to encourage future business. After saying thank you, let a happy customer know about a loyalty program your company offers or about an upcoming promotional deal. This is a great chance to provide added value and encourage repeat business.
- Be personable: If someone took the time to leave you a positive review, make sure you take the time to acknowledge them by name and to throw any extra personal touch you can into the response.
Positive Review Response Example 1:
Thank you, Kaylee, for taking the time to leave us a review. We were delighted to hear about your positive experience with us, particularly about how Sera went above and beyond when helping you diagnose your vehicle’s ongoing issues. We feel privileged to have both incredible staff members like Sera and wonderful customers like you as part of our community. We look forward to continuing to provide you with outstanding service, and if you ever need anything, please don’t hesitate to give our team a call!
Positive Review Response Example 2:
Billy, thank you so much for taking time out of your day to share your recent experience with our team. We are happy to know that our service techs met your expectations. With the fall season just around the corner, we also wanted to let you know that as a loyal customer, you’re eligible for a free furnace tune-up. Feel free to call our team to schedule this service, and we hope to continue to be your trusted HVAC provider.
#2: A Neutral Review
In some cases, a customer will leave you a review that is neither positive nor negative but comes across as neutral. These are the 3-star ratings on the internet.
A neutral review can take a few different forms. In some cases, the customer leaves a balance of good and bad feedback. They might complement one aspect of your business while expressing that they are unhappy with something else.
In other cases, they might simply leave a mediocre review, citing neither a positive nor a negative experience — think, underwhelmed or “the service was ok.”
Either way, a neutral review gives you the chance to turn it into a positive future review. Many customers who are on the fence about your business are easy to win over, and a personal response is the perfect place to start.
- Be courteous: While they might not have left you a glowing review, be sure you are still courteous and say a quick thanks for the time they took to let you know about their recent experience. Even something as small as being polite can go a long way in establishing a positive relationship down the road.
- Acknowledge anything negative: If the review included anything negative, don’t simply gloss over this information and focus only on the positive. Make sure you take the time to let them know you have heard their concerns.
- Look for opportunity: Neutral reviews are often the perfect place to convert customers into long-term loyal brand ambassadors. If they had a mediocre experience, invite them back and highlight how your team will go above and beyond to ensure that their next experience is outstanding.
Neutral Review Response Example 1:
Thank you, Jamie, for leaving us a review. We value our customer’s feedback and appreciate the time you took to provide us with details about your recent visit. First, we are thrilled to hear that Stephen provided you with quality customer service. We appreciate his hard work and are happy to pass this compliment on to him. Secondly, we are sorry to hear that your experience with your wait time was less than satisfactory. We always strive for 100% satisfaction during any customer visit. As the store manager, I’d like to personally help resolve this issue and ensure that your next experience is a positive one. Please contact me, Krysta, at (Phone #), so we can get this taken care of!
Neutral Review Response Example 2:
Thank you for taking the time to leave us a review. At ABC HVAC, we strive to ensure that our customers have a positive experience and are 100% satisfied with our service. As the company owner, I’d love to hear more about your recent experience. Please feel free to contact me, Phyllis Vance, at (Phone #), so I can find out how we can make your next experience above and beyond.
#3: A Negative Review
For business owners, receiving a negative review can feel like a true blow. In many cases, seeing a negative comment can even lead to feelings of anger and frustration. However, negative reviews don’t have to be a cause for alarm. Responding to negative reviews helps future customers see that you listen and care about issues. This goes a long way in creating trust early on and prevents your business from seeming inflexible or impersonal.
By responding in the right way and using the information from a negative review to improve your company, you can turn around the situation and potentially even increase future business.
- Address issues head-on: Don’t dance around a customer’s complaint. Keep your response short and acknowledge their issue immediately.
- Follow-up one-on-one: Rather than trying to solve the problem via Google, take the time to follow up with unhappy customers through a phone call or email. It is often easier to resolve an issue when you can actually speak to a client than through a series of replies on a public platform.
- Keep your cool: Never respond to an unhappy customer when you are angry. Keep things civil, no matter how much you might disagree with their take on a situation.
Negative Review Response Example 1:
Hi Patricia, this is Krysta, manager of ABC Home Services. I’m sorry to hear about your recent negative experience with your AC service. Our goal is to ensure that our customers are 100% satisfied with the work we perform. I’d like to personally speak with you to ensure that we can resolve this issue. Please contact me at (phone #) or by email (email address) at your earliest convenience. Thank you.
Negative Review Response Example 2:
Thank you, Mark, for leaving us a review. I’m sorry to see that you were not 100% satisfied with the service you received. As manager of the location you visited, I’d love to learn more about your experience and work to resolve this issue for you. Please contact me, Myra, at (phone #) or by email (email address).
Contact J&L Marketing
Managing your online reputation is key to improving future sales. When a potential customer lands on your Google business listing, you want the reviews they see to establish trust with your business. And responding to your reviews can go a long way in taking back control of your digital presence.
If you are interested in learning more about how to manage your online reputation and improve your digital reach, contact our team at J&L Marketing. We have years of experience helping small businesses build their online reputation and leverage their reviews to gain more traction with potential customers.
Whether you have a slew of negative reviews to deal with, or you are simply looking for ways to increase your positive reviews, we’ll be happy to help. We look forward to becoming your trusted digital marketing partner.