How Small Businesses Should Respond to Online Reviews

How Small Businesses Should Respond to Online Reviews

Online review management is a great way to show local patrons that your business is the best option for their needs. It is vital for companies, with the help of companies like Maxeemize, to manage and respond to all types of reviews to earn new business, protect online reputation, gain future clients’ trust.

Why is answering online reviews important?

  • More than 90 percent of consumers say that a negative review on Yelp, Facebook or Google My Business has influenced them to avoid a business
  • About 50 percent of clients expect a business to respond to negative reviews within seven days
  • Around 60 percent say that a business has never gotten back to them after a review
  • More than 40 percent of consumers say that they are more likely to go to a business that responds to reviews

The gist: your clients are more likely to drive away if you do not reply to reviewers.  


How to Respond to Bad Reviews

When encountering a negative review, it is important to maintain a sense of professionalism and control when constructing a response. Depending on the content of the review, it may be necessary to step away from the situation before responding in order to avoid presenting an unprofessional or aggressive presence. When creating a response to a negative review, consider the following:

  1. Personalize by Addressing the Reviewer

Begin your response by taking the time to address the reviewer, providing your response with a more personalized impression. Avoid alienating reviewers with blanket and impersonal openings, such as “Dear customer” or “Dear patron”.

  1. Thank the Reviewer

Even when a negative review is unsavory, it is important to show customers that your business appreciates sincere and forthright feedback. Utilizing frames such as “thank you for your review,” or “thank you for bringing this issue to our attention” helps show that your business cares about public perception and addressing any problems that may arise.

  1. Apologize and Show Sympathy Towards the Situation

Offering an apology towards a customer that had a negative experience demonstrates your business’ ability to take responsibility for its mistakes and shortcomings. Even if the situation was not explicitly someone’s fault, it is important to recognize that the experience did not go as expected. Without identifying specific persons, a response could include:

“We apologize that our service did not meet your expectations,” or “We apologize that your experience was less than satisfactory.”

  1. Take Responsibility for the Experience

It is important to recognize the experience of the reviewer. As stated previously, even if the situation or negative experience was not necessarily anyone’s fault, it is important to recognize its validity. In crafting a response, demonstrate a commitment to moving forward and holding all aspects of your business to high standards in future dealings:

“We regret that we were unable to meet your expectations and will ensure that this does not happen again.”

  1. Rectify the Situation

In moving forward, be sure to specifically address the issue stated, and communicate changes or improvements being made as a result of the reviewer’s experience and feedback. Avoid providing generic responses that don’t address the problem or that don’t provide a possible solution.

  1. Move Conversation Offline

The most straight forward way to address an issue is to speak directly to the reviewer. Because of this, providing contact information is vital in your response.

  1. Ask for a Second Chance

Rather than pushing negative reviewers away from your business, try to bring them back by extending an invitation to return or otherwise give your business a second chance to improve their perception. This provides an opportunity to regain business while also adjusting the conversation in your business’ favor.


How to Respond to Good Reviews

  1. Express Your Appreciation

Always show gratitude for the clients who got out of their way to share their good experience. After all, 5-star ratings and fantastic reviews serve as one of the greatest tool for attracting new customers, it helps them decide to go to your business instead of the competitor’s.  

You can say things like:

  • “Thank you very much for taking some time to write us a fantastic review.”
  • “We appreciate your kind words. Thank you for sharing your great experience with the community.”
  • “Your wonderful review made our day!”
  1. Give an open invitation

Let your patrons know that you would love to see them again. Make them feel welcome by giving an invitation for them to come back. This will turn them into repeat customers, and it will also show online readers that people love going back to your establishment.

  1. Highlight the Positive

Most great reviews talk about specific things that the reviewer liked to most about their experience. Highlight these specific things and mention them in your response. This allows you to market and hype that specific product or service.  

  1. Convey the Compliment

When a customer leaves a great review about a specific person, make sure that compliment reaches them. Answering reviews is a good way for you to share the great reactions that you get, but this can also be used to let your staff know when they are doing a great job and to call out the outstanding employees. It will boost your team’s morale and it will help you generate better outcomes.

  1. Talk About Other Products or Services

Take advantage of this opportunity to talk about another product or service. But be careful not to sound too sales-y.

Here are a couple response examples:

  • “We’re glad you liked our sushi bento box! Next time you visit; we think you’ll also like our special rolls that are 50% off during happy hour.”
  • “We are so delighted about your wonderful experience. Next time you visit us, try our hot stone massage therapy. It’s one of our more popular treatments.”


How to Respond to Neutral Reviews

Neutral reviews typically have a combination of positive and negative elements. Responding to these types of reviews can be tricky because you have to use various elements from the two previous sections.

Here are a few ways you can approach neutral reviews:

  1. Be Thankful

Always thank the reviewer for taking their time to write something about your business before writing out your response. This will show online users how much you appreciate your customers.

  1. Acknowledge the Issue

When getting a neutral review with some sort of bad feedback, address the specific concern the customer had with their experience. You can also write a brief apology and if necessary, give a short explanation on why it happened.

  1. Highlight Compliments

If the neutral review has a good feedback, make sure you highlight it by mentioning it when you respond. Even if the review has a negative aspect, make sure that the positive aspect is reinforced somewhere in the beginning of your response.

  1. Take the Conversation Offline

Try to take your conversation with the reviewer offline if you are trying to get more details about their experience. This will allow you to completely assess the situation while avoiding details of probable negative experience from becoming visible to other online users.


At Maxeemize, we ensure that your online review management investments are maximized for better ROI. We have the expertise, knowledge, experience, as well as creativity to deliver unique solutions that produce better results for your digital marketing strategy! Contact Us for a free review management consultation.


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