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Responding to Google Reviews: Tips & Templates for Business Owners

Google reviews are a key touch point in customer research. Responding is a great opportunity to demonstrate that you are a caring and engaged business owner who is listening to their customers.

Google reviews are a really important part of the customer journey when researching whether or not they want to choose your business. They can make or break your reputation in no time. Regardless of how many stars you have, how you respond to your reviews can make a world of difference. In general, replying to your reviews demonstrates that you are a caring and engaged business owner who is listening to their customers, and open to feedback.

General Guidelines for Responding to Reviews

When responding to reviews, keep in mind that your replies are public for everyone to read. You’ll want to keep your message short and courteous (even if you disagree with the reviewer). Avoid getting too personal or being salesy by offering incentives or advertisements, you already have a happy customer and this is not the place to do that.

When responding to any review, remember these three essential tips:

  • Keep it Brief – Concise responses are as effective and easier to read.
    Stay courteous and polite – No matter what the review says, maintain professionalism.
  • Be Specific – Address the issues mentioned in the review. If they are negative, acknowledge the issue without being petty or confrontational.
  • Stay True to Your Brand – In other words, be yourself! Word your responses in line with your brand’s unique tone of voice. Whether that is formal or super casual and fun, allow your brand’s personality into your responses.

Handling Negative Reviews

No business is immune to the occasional negative review. Mistakes happen! However, the manner you respond can convert a negative into a positive. We’ve all seen those bad reviews where the business owner responds with a thesis-length rant.

Don’t be that business owner!

When responding to negative customer reviews, it’s best to remain courteous and polite. Begin by apologising and acknowledging any mistakes that have been made on your end, emphasising regret and inviting the customer to contact you directly, or to revisit to experience your regular standard of service (for ecommerce clients, that may be replacing the product or offering a one-off voucher code).

Try to:

  • Stay Calm, Honest and Open – Apologise for any mistakes, show understanding and make a genuine attempt to rectify the issue. This could include offering a product replacement, a discount voucher or an invitation to revisit your service.
  • Respond Promptly – Timely, thoughtful interactions can persuade customers to revise their reviews and display your commitment to customer satisfaction.
  • Understand the Issue – Look into the circumstances and make sure that you understand the customer’s experience with your product or service before you respond. Be open about any mistakes that may have occurred and show the steps you have taken to resolve the situation.
  • Avoid Lengthy Confrontations – No one appreciates a rant, especially not potential customers reading the review. Where possible, keep it brief.
  • Take it Offline – If it is your first time hearing of this complaint, offer to talk the issue over with the customer to find a resolution offline. Invite them to call or email you directly.
  • Add a Personal Touch – Show that you are authentic and genuine by signing off your response with your name or initials. This shows the client that a real person is listening and taking the complaint seriously.

Responding to Positive Reviews

Positive reviews are much easier to respond to. A simple thank you message will suffice and show prospective customers that you care about doing a great job. Avoid the temptation to add in promotional content – you are speaking to satisfied customers.

Here are a few examples of short, simple responses to positive reviews:

“Thank you! We hope to see you again soon.”
“Your kind words have truly made our day. Thank you for sharing!”
“Thanks for taking the time to share your experience, we really appreciate it.”
“We’re thrilled to hear you enjoyed your experience and look forward to welcoming you back soon.”

Even with short responses, for businesses with big teams sign your message off with your initials or as from “- The [Your Company] Team”.

Templates for Responding to Reviews

As you’ll have gathered from our advice, your review responses should be somewhat personal and tailored to each customer. This means avoiding too prescriptive a template. To get you started, however, here are two easy templates to assist your responses:

Positive Review Response Examples:

“Dear [Name],
Thank you so much for taking the time to leave us such a great review! We’re so glad to hear that you enjoyed your experience at [Your Business Name].
– [Your Name/Initials]”

“We’re delighted to hear you enjoyed your experience, [Name]. Thank you for choosing [Your Company Name]!”

Negative Review Response Examples:

“Dear [Username],
We’re sorry to hear that you had a bad experience with us. This is not the normal service we expect to provide our customers with and therefore we would like to learn more about your experience. Could you please email or call us so we can sort this out together? We value your feedback and are committed to improving our service.
Sincerely, [Your Name/Initials]”

Embracing customer feedback through proactive review management is a powerful tool to enhance your online reputation and build stronger customer relationships. Use these tips and templates to make this process easier and more efficient.

If you need help responding to your customer reviews, or even generating new reviews, get in touch with our team. Learn how we could help get your small business off the ground with bespoke digital marketing solutions by booking an initial consultation.

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