How to Respond to Every Review Type

blog graphic responding to reviews

The feeling is familiar, you see a notification light up, your page has a new review or recommendation! You automatically wonder if it’s good or if you’re going to have to do some major damage control. What your customers have said about you, and the way you have responded say a lot about your company. Your company’s review strategy should be an integral part of your social media plan. 

Why You Should Respond to Reviews

The best part about social media is allowing potential customers to see what kind of company you are. If they are looking for information what you don’t say, sometimes says more than what they do. Replying to any review shows the customer you care enough to say something. If it is a positive review then they will be glad to know their review was appreciated, if it was negative, they will be glad to know their concerns are being addressed.

If possible, reply to all reviews yourself. However, as a business owner, you may simply just not have the time. If your company has somebody who is able to respond to all reviews, then appoint them as the person to do so. This ensures that all reviews are responded to in a timely manner. This system works especially well for positive reviews. 

For negative reviews, especially if they are incredibly upset, you as the business owner may want to respond personally. If not you, then a manager or somebody who will be able to help them solve their problem quickly.

But that’s not the only reason why you should respond. Did you know:
(Compiled by Social Media Today)

  • One out of every three customers posts online following inadequate customer service, sharing comments about your brand to their network and beyond. (New Voice Media)
  • 88 percent of people read reviews to determine the quality of a local business. (Bright Local)
  • 87 percent of people say that a business needs a rating of three to five stars before they will use them.
  • 52 percent of customers expect to hear back from brands within seven days of giving an online review, particularly one that’s negative or critical. (Review Trackers)
  • 72 percent of consumers say positive reviews make them trust a local business. (Bright Local)
  • When a brand responds to a customer on social media, 65 percent are more brand loyal. Similarly, 25 percent of customers are less likely to go somewhere else or post negative things if responded to appropriately. (Sprout)

Positive Review or Recommendation

Positive reviews are great! You always want to see those types of reviews. It is reassuring as a business owner that your customer is happy and things are going well. Here are a few things you or a member of your team needs to do, to be sure to do when replying to positive reviews. 

  • Use their name
  • Thank the customer for their review. Let them know you appreciate them taking the time to review your company. Tell them you are glad they had a great experience with your company
  • Mention something about your company in a genuine way
  • Add who is replying to the review and their title

 “Taylor, thank you so much for your fantastic review of Heritage Marketing Co! We appreciate you so much as a loyal customer and are so glad you are enjoying your brand new website! Please, remember if you have any questions we are always here to help. -Emily, Owner

Once you have responded you may want to add this review to your website or other marketing materials where appropriate. However, generally, I would suggest asking for permission to do so, especially if you are saying who posted the review and their photo or any other information they may not want to be released. A lot of people may be more comfortable with just a first name rather than their whole name for example. Remember, they did you a favor by reviewing, asking if it’s okay to use it in other areas is the least you can do in return.

Neutral Review or Recommendation

These are probably the hardest to respond to. They’re not overwhelmingly one way or the other making it hard to know where the customer stands. And if they provide little information on why they weren’t completely satisfied it is even harder to know exactly what to say.

  • Use their name
  • Thank them for reviewing your company, this is the best way to start with any review you get. Let them know you are glad they took the time to tell you about their experience.
  • Acknowledge the good things they said about you. This is often the part right before the BUT….. Ex. Service was great but the wait took way too long. 
  • If their negative comments have an explanation that you are aware of, ex. Service took so long because a machine was down, state the reason why. Just be sure to not get defensive, be honest why and let them know you do apologize for the inconvenience. 
  • If it is something that there isn’t a good explanation for, ex.  A rude employee asks if they can get in touch with the owner directly to discuss exactly what happened. Or alternatively, they can send you a direct message detailing why they are upset with the company. Let them know you do look forward to helping them make it right. 
  • Add who is replying to the review and their title

“James, thank you for your review. Customer feedback is very important to us. We are so glad you recently visited our dealership for a service appointment but are sorry to hear your oil change took longer than expected. Unfortunately, we had a lift malfunction and could not get it serviced until Monday. I apologize nobody notified you it could possibly be a longer wait time than our usual 30-45 minutes. We hope to make it up to you by having a loaner vehicle available for your next service appointment free of charge. Please contact our service manager directly at (555) 555-5555 if you have any questions.

Negative Review or Recommendation

These are always the worst to read. They mean somebody was not only upset by your company but upset badly enough to write a poor review. No matter how badly you want to ignore the review you should never do that. Writing a reply may be the only way you can save the situation or keep it from escalating.

Make sure you are calm enough to reply without being overly emotional. If that means stepping away from the computer for a couple of minutes then that is entirely okay.

  • Use their name
  • Sincerely thank them for letting you know about the situation
  • Apologize to the customer, even though you may have had no control over the situation.
  • If they had anything positive to say about your company, state that in your review. 
  • Ask if they can send you a direct message or call you to further discuss what happened. The last thing you want to do is to keep a discussion going in the comments where everybody can see. 
  • If they have been to your business before reminding them this is not the normal experience.
  • Do what you can to make it right
  • Add who is replying to the review and their title

“Ashley, thank you for letting us know our server did not treat you well when you visited our restaurant. I am so sorry you did not have a good experience with us. Can you please send us a direct message with a few more details? We want to make this up to you! Thank you! Emily, Owner. 

Having a negative review isn’t the worst thing in the world. To some potential customers this shows you don’t pay for reviews, or just have your employees and friends give you outstanding reviews. Remember that there are some people you can just never please and try not to take it personally. 

Fake or Mistaken Review or Recommendation

Has this ever happened to you where the review you were given has nothing to do with your company? Maybe even mentions a name you don’t have working there and never have? This sometimes happens, especially with businesses that are similar. It’s simply a case of mistaken identity. There are a couple of options that you have depending on the type of review left. 1) you could try and have it taken down 2) you can reply to the customer to see if you can help them. Either way, it is important to make the customer aware that you are doing the best you can to help them but they do possibly have the wrong location.

However, it is important to do some research on this. If they are a past customer, then it could be they got the name of your sales associate wrong. If so, no big deal and it isn’t worth pointing out and making them feel embarrassed. However, if you are 100% sure they are not a customer and have never been try the following:

  • Use their name
  • Ask questions regarding their visit
  • Ask them to send you a private message with more details
  • Close with your name and title

Example Mistaken Review:
 “Jimmy, thank you so much for the review! However, we are a little confused. The sales associate you mentioned doesn’t work with us or at any of our locations. Can you please send us a PM with a little more information?”

Responding to any type of review or recommendation can be intimidating, however, with these simple tips you should be able to meet each and every type of review head-on. 

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