Devote Time to Read and Respond to Reviews of Your Business

Katie Fleming

Katie Fleming

Co-founder and COO of Owner Actions

A manager prepares to respond to web reviews

Businesses live and die by the reviews they receive. More than ever before, people are talking about their experiences online, sharing both praise and cautions, and others are tuning in for the feedback.

A recent study found that 87% of consumers read reviews as part of their purchasing process. Many are swayed by what they read, particularly when they see others having negative experiences.

Unfortunately, bad reviews can happen to any business. It’s important to have a plan in place to respond to these reviews. And, just as importantly, you’ll need a strategy for highlighting the positive reviews you see on various platforms.

The steps you take are essential for building confidence in your buyers and assuring them that a commitment they make to your brand will lead to a positive experience.

Let’s get started.


Where are my customers leaving reviews?

There are a number of places customers can leave reviews, but here are the three most common:

  1. Google
  2. Facebook
  3. Yelp


It’s easy for customers to make their voices heard through these platforms, and it’s just as easy for you to keep an eye on what they’re saying and respond to safeguard your business’s reputation.


How do I monitor these platforms?

You can set a weekly calendar reminder to visit your business pages on these sites. Or, you can work with a service such as BrightLocal that specializes in brand listening. This service—and others like it—will scan and report on new feedback that may warrant your attention.


What should I do if I receive a negative review?

First, don’t panic. Remember, nearly every business experiences a negative review from time to time.

Breathe, and take the following steps to mitigate its odds of impact.

If a negative review comes your way, let it sit until you can view it objectively and respond without anger or frustration. It will never benefit your business to show anger, blame, or unprofessionalism in any form.

Then, use the platform’s response tool to respond to the reviews. First, show your concern and care about the customer’s experience. Then, offer to make it right. You can experiment with the following template replies to counter the damage of a negative claim:


“Hi, [reviewer’s name]. This is [your first name], owner of [your company’s name]. Thanks for bringing this problem to our attention. What you’ve described isn’t the standard we hope to provide, and we’re sorry we fell short. We hope you’ll give us a chance to make it right. Email us at [your business’s general email address].”

“Hi, [reviewer’s name]. Thank you for sharing your feedback. We understand your frustrations, and we want to make it right. Email us at [your business’s general email address] so we can explore the next steps.”

“Hi, [reviewer’s name]. We’re sorry to hear about your experience. DM us to tell us more so we can solve this problem for you and make it right.”


Some, but not all, will respond to these requests. Those who do generally want to be heard and share their frustrations. You may be able to calm them by listening, empathizing, apologizing, and promising clear steps and courses of action to offset their negative experience. What will work best depends on your business and what you offer, but remedies could include:

  • A full or partial reimbursement of their expense.
  • A free redo of the service they received.
  • A replacement of a product they purchased with free expedited shipping.
  • A free upgrade for future services.
  • A discount code for a future order.


Remedies are helpful, but be sure you don’t skip by the first three essential steps: Listen, empathize, and apologize. First, let your customer vent, explain the pains they experienced, and share why the disappointment mattered to them. Next, tell them you understand what they’re feeling to validate their message. Here, you’ll need to show you’re sincere and not dismissive of their concerns. Then, offer a genuine apology for letting them down. Once those steps are taken, you can attempt to improve the matter by offering a remedy they’ll find meaningful.

Once you’ve taken all these steps, connect with the customer again and ensure they’re satisfied. Thank them for the feedback they provided through the process. Then, ask them if they might update their review to reflect any new thoughts they have about the business.

Don’t ask your customers to take their negative reviews down. It’s quite common for people to balk at the request and shift back toward a negative sentiment toward the business.

What should I do if the negative review stays up?

You can’t change the customer’s review, but you can update your response. Try appending a statement like the following to your review:


“Edit to add: [reviewer’s name], Thanks for allowing us the opportunity to make it right. Your business matters to us. We look forward to working with you again.”


This step is essential for two reasons:

  1. It shows review readers that you are willing to do what it takes to ensure their satisfaction.
  2. It pings the review poster of an update, which might be the cue they need to take the review down or revise their message.


Should I respond to good reviews?

Yes! Positive reviews should be rewarded with recognition and appreciation.

Experiment with the following statements to respond to great reviews:


“We love this feedback! Thanks for sharing it with us!”

“This made our day. Thanks so much for the feedback!”

“We hope every experience you have with us is just as great! Looking forward to working with you again soon!”

“We appreciate this. We appreciate you!”


Mix up your messages to make every response unique. Doing so will help you show that you value every piece of feedback. It may also encourage more reviews from people who want that kind of interaction and appreciation.


What’s next?

If reviews are slow to trickle in, there are steps you can take to gain more. Our article, Ask for the Reviews You Need to Help Your Business Grow, can help you get started.


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