Why (and How) You Should Respond to Customer Reviews

Responding to customers shows you’re listening and care about their experiences regarding your service, products and business.
Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo.

Author: Cassie Scott

Do you want an easy way to help build trust and strengthen relationships with current and future clients? Assuming you said yes, here’s a simple way to start: Respond to customer reviews on Yelp, Google and social-media sites.

Why Responding is Important


Responding to reviews improves relationships and helps you increase conversions and generate new business. Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo.

Responding to customers shows you’re listening, and that you care about their experiences regarding your service, products and business. It improves relationships, builds your clientele, and generates new business. Responding also strengthens your brand, controls the message, and educates customers about upcoming sales, events or contests.

Besides, customers expect it. ReviewTrackers found that 52 percent of customers expect a response from brands within seven days of writing an online review, particularly one that’s negative or critical.

Teresa Johnson, the Archery Trade Association’s senior director of communications and administration, said open online dialogues are constructive for small businesses.

“Responding openly and honestly is critical for businesses that want to inspire loyalty,” Johnson said. “You don’t just want customers. You want loyalists who will go out and recommend your business to others.”

Rules for Responding

Monitor your social channels for comments a couple minutes, twice per day. If you post anything on Facebook that could be controversial or spark a negative comment, it’s wise to monitor the post more often the first few days. Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo.

Johnson recommends responding to all reviews – positive and negative – to show current and potential customers you’re engaged and interested. Their opinions matter to you. She said it’s important to stay aware, consistent and level-headed.

Monitor your social channels for a couple of minutes twice daily. However, if you post anything on Facebook that could spark controversy or negative comments, monitor the post more often the first few days. You can monitor Yelp, Google or other review sites less often, but at least twice weekly. Some sites let you set up notifications that alert you to reviews. Notifications help you respond promptly, and present another opportunity to win a customer’s loyalty.

How to Respond to Positive Reviews

An easy response can be something along the lines of thanking the customer for the positive review and being specific to their comment. Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo.

Vendasta, a branding and marketing firm that helps business-to-business companies craft marketing strategies for local businesses, explains its four-step response to positive reviews:

1. Thank customers for their review and be specific about their comment.

2. Use the business name and keywords in your response to boost search-engine results.

3. Add a little marketing to the response by highlighting something to attract future customers.

4. Invite customers to help spread the word and visit again.


– If the person’s name is visible in the response, address them by name.

– Your response is an opportunity to market your business and inform customers about sales, specials, classes and events.

– Limit responses to three to five sentences to use your time efficiently.

Example: “Hi Kathy! Thank you for the great review. We’re glad you had a positive experience at [Business Name]. We were excited to hear our certified archery instructor, Jeremy, helped you correct your shooting form. Jeremy teaches ‘Advanced Archery’ classes on Wednesdays at 5 p.m. We hope to see you there!”

How to Respond to Negative Reviews

In the case of a negative review, keep it simple. Showing sympathy and apologizing, moving the conversation offline, and include some marketing to explain what customers may usually experience will help the customer feel like their concerns are heard. Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo.

It’s important to show customers your business corrects problems to ensure situations described in negative reviews don’t happen again. Vendasta also has a four-step response to negative reviews:

1. Apologize to and sympathize with the customer.

2. Include some marketing to explain what your customers usually experience.

3. Move the conversation offline and ask them to contact you privately.

4. Keep the response simple, short and sweet.


– Keep the dialogue positive. Take the high road.

– Don’t get defensive. Focus on solutions.

– The customer is always right (even if they’re wrong).

– Don’t include your business name or relevant keywords. You don’t want the review showing up in search results.

Example: “Hello Mark. Thank you for taking the time to share this feedback. I’m sorry you didn’t have a positive experience. We’re known for exceptional attention to detail. We’d like to make this right for you. Please contact our store manager, Tom, at _____ so we can find a solution.”

Final Thoughts

ReviewTrackers offers eight additional examples of responses to reviews.

If a customer becomes abusive, argumentative or posts spam, report it. You might also want to check TripAdvisor to see if your business has been reviewed.

If you spend more time social listening and responding to reviews, you’ll likely increase online interactions and in-store customers. To further your efforts, read our seven tips to improve your customer service, and you’ll dazzle customers in more ways than one.

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