How to Respond to Google Reviews – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (with Templates)

by | Sep 6, 2022

Getting reviews is the first step, knowing how to respond to google reviews is the second.

In life, there are some things that are simply out of our control. One of which is the inability to control what other people say about us. 

In business, this also rings true, especially when it comes to what people say about your business on Google. 

While you may not have control of what customers say online, you do have the power to control the impact these reviews have on your business. 

How? Well, that’s simple… by taking the time to respond to reviews

Why you should respond to Google Reviews

You might be asking yourself, why do I need to respond to reviews? 

THE ANSWER. 

Responding to reviews — the good and the not so good — shows your customers and potential new customers that you’re an engaged business owner that actually cares about your customers.

Let’s have the real consumer stats do the talking so you can see just how powerful a response to a customer review can be; 

  • 79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
  • 97% of consumers who read business reviews also read the business’s responses to those reviews.
  • 40% of consumers expect a review response within 24 hours or less.
  • Businesses that respond to reviews are perceived as 1.7X more trustworthy than businesses that don’t.

It’s also important to understand that Google itself has communicated to businesses that responding to reviews – good and bad – increases your Google ratings. 

What does this all mean? Ultimately, responding to reviews is going to give your business a big head start when it comes to retaining and finding new customers.  

How to respond to Google reviews in Google My Business

Whether you get a positive or negative review on Google, the best thing you can do for your business is respond

HERE’S HOW YOU DO THAT! 

  1. Sign in to Google My Business
  2. On the left sidebar, click ‘Reviews.’
  3. A list of your recent reviews will come up. Find the review you want to reply to.
  4. Click ‘Reply.’
  5. A message box will open for you to write your response.
  6. Click ‘Post reply.’

Now you might be asking yourself, ok great, I now know how to use Google My Business to respond to my customer reviews; but how do I find the right words to respond!? 

Before choosing your words, we’ve got some simple tips below to help you reply to both positive and negative reviews alike. Because at the end of the day, it’s all about showing you are engaged and listening to your customers; replying to reviews is your opportunity to showcase this! 

Responding to Positive Google Reviews

Many businesses will solely focus on putting out fires and only respond to negative reviews. And while this does make sense, a positive review is also a great opportunity to strengthen your business’s relationship with its customers – and build new customer relationships too! 

According to research, over 97% of people who read reviews will read responses as well – so it’s time to get responding! 

  1. Respond In A Timely Manner
    While you may be inclined to sit back and soak up your positive customer reviews, we recommend jumping on replies quickly so you can share in your customers satisfaction. Not only are you showing customers that you are engaged and grateful for their feedback, but you may even have the chance to start a real time conversation with the customer. This is your chance to obtain even further feedback by asking more specific questions around their experience which can garner you even more positive customer sentiment.
  1. Get Personal; Use Your Customers Names
    This may seem like a given, but you’d be surprised to find that many businesses will respond to reviews with a very generic response – Think along the lines of a “hey there…” People’s attention is activated when they hear their own names. By ensuring that you address your customer by their name, you’ll be peaking their attention and showcasing that you care about their individual experience with your business. 

    “Thank you, Sarah. We really value the positive review and are happy to hear that you found our staff so helpful” 
  2. Express Gratitude For The Great Review 
    You’ve got to give a little to get a little! Expressing gratitude reaffirms that your business is truly about providing the best customer service/experience possible. It also lets readers know that you value and invite customer feedback.
  1. Give Back To Your Happy Customers
    A thank you is great, there is no doubting that. But let’s talk about how you can turn a happy customer into a returning customer. It’s actually quite simple; find a way to provide them with additional value in your review response. What does additional value mean? Well it’s anything they can get value out of. You can think outside of the box for this one based on what your business offers. 

    Say you’re a florist and a customer leaves a very happy review that you were the only florist they could find that had a certain flower they had been searching for… Let this customer know that you can personally message or email them the next time you order these same flowers so that they will be one of the first to know. 
  1. Encourage Happy Customers To Advocate For You
    If a customer has taken the time to provide you with positive feedback you should grab the opportunity to have them further advocate for you with both hands! All you need to do is ask! Whether you ask if they would be willing to share their review with others, or if you can post their review to your website or social media channels. Sharing their stories is a great marketing tool for customer acquisition.
  1. Get Personal, Again; Sign Off With Your Name 
    Let your customers know that they are talking to an actual human being and sign off with your name to personalise the response. It’s a simple step, but it really goes a long way in showing that you are a customer facing business who are appreciative of feedback and want to take the time to communicate directly with their customers. 

Responding to negative Google reviews

While no business likes to be told they’re not providing a great service, a bad review is a great chance to reflect and improve! 

  1. Assess & Evaluate the Feedback 
    Give yourself time to properly assess the negative review and avoid any rash responses. It’s important that you respond in a positive way that makes the customer feel that their concerns have been heard and taken on board. Take the day to contemplate and draft your response, but don’t take too long. BrightLocal claims that 20% of those who leave negative reviews expect an answer within 24 hours.
  1. Use a Review Response Template 
    It’s likely that you are going to feel frustration at the customer for their bad review which might cause you to respond defensively – we totally get it! So, a great solution to combat this from occurring is to use a negative review response template. By utilising a template that addresses the customer concern and your path forward as a business, you can be sure that you have done your best to remove friction and retain a customer. Check out our template below. 

    “Hi [first name],
    Thank you for taking the time to leave us a review. Your feedback is important and we rely on hearing from our customers to ensure we’re doing a great job. 

    As you shared in your review, this was not the case for you and for this, we do apologise. Our customers are the heart of our business and we understand you’re feeling disappointed about [specific issue] given [what happened]. 

    Please know we’d like to make this right for you. We’ve sent you an email and if you’d like to chat further, we do hope you will give us another opportunity to earn your business. 

    Thank you, again, [optional first name] for taking the time to share a review with us.”
  1. Publicly Respond to The Review 
    Apologising is key, and apologising publicly on the platform where the review was left is going to make your business stand out from the rest. By addressing the issue on your Google My Business, you’ll be showing your customers and potential new customers that you’re proactive with your customer service; it also shows transparency and that you really do care about your customers’ experiences. 
  2. Customise Your Responses
    By acknowledging each customer’s feedback with a personalised response, you are showcasing that you are taking feedback on board. Be sure to call your customers by their names, thank them for taking the time to leave you a review and ensure that you respond to the specifics – ie. if they call out something that was not to their satisfaction, note that you are looking into the specific issue. 

    “Hi Joe, we were really disappointed to hear that our technician didn’t arrive on time for your AC installation. We are looking into why the technician was not on time and will endeavour to ensure this doesn’t occur again.” 
  1. Own Your Mistakes
    Don’t hesitate to apologise or admit fault. As a business owner, apologising to your customers makes you a human being, and not a business person that only cares about the numbers. 
  1. Be Solution Oriented 
    So you’ve taken the time to acknowledge and empathise with the customer’s bad experience; now it’s your chance to showcase that you are a solution oriented business. By providing the customer with a solution or actionable items that your business can implement moving forward, you’ll be showing your customers that you have really taken on board their feedback. And that’s a big tick for future customers who are reading your reviews. 
  1. Reach Out For a 1:1 Conversation
    Customers want to be heard, and by reaching out directly to the customer that has left a bad review (after you have replied publicly) shows that you are all ears and ready to help provide a solution. The review has done its job by highlighting the poor experience for your business. Now it’s your chance to showcase your readiness to listen and take action to solve the problem across trusted customer support channels like phone, live chat, and email. 
  1. Try and turn the negative into a positive
    If you’ve successfully taken a bad experience with a customer and turned it into a positive, you should see if they will remove the negative review from your public profile.

    Let’s say George, ordered something for his friends birthday, and the present didn’t arrive on time. George then left a negative review saying “these guys dont deliver when they say they will etc..”

    You’ve responded publicly, taken the conversation offline.

    You check the order, and you find that the postal service delivered outside their promised time.

    You inform George that the problem with delivery was outside of your control and that usually XYZ post delivers within the time stated on your website/in-store.

    George is hopefully understanding that this is not your fault. If he has, ask him if he can remove the public review as it is detrimental to your business.

    Saying something like:

    “Hey George, 70% of customers now read a Google review before making a purchase decision. Having negative reviews really impacts our reputation and getting new customers. As we’ve discussed the problem was really outside of our control. Would you be open to removing your review from our profile?

    Boom…review removed… you did it

Help! I’ve received a fake Google review 

This is the worst. And we feel for you, it sucks and is usually a competitor.

Thankfully you can get these removed (with effort) we’ve written this guide that will direct you on how to remove google reviews.

AND FINALLY…Whether Good Or Bad; Keep A Record Of Your Reviews 

Think of reviews as an opportunity for your business to learn and grow. 

Your customers’ positive reviews showcase what it is you are doing right and what you should keep doing to retain your customers. 

Through negative reviews you can pinpoint the immediate problems with services, products or customer service and the ways in which your own customers think you can fix these. 

By recording all reviews, discussing them with staff, doubling down on what works and avoiding what isn’t working, your business will undoubtedly grow.

Until next time,

Get responding!

What you should do now

Whenever you’re ready…here are 4 ways we can help you grow your local business:

  1. Sign up for a free 14-day trial If you’d like to rapidly grow your Google reviews and use those reviews to make more money — Start a FREE trial here
  2. If you’d like to learn the exact strategies we use for free, go to our blog or visit our resources section, where you can download in-depth guides, and more.
  3. If you know another business owner who’d enjoy reading this page, share it with them via email, Linkedin, Twitter, or Facebook.
  4. Get in touch with us if you would like a demo of everything goodreviews has to over – contact us here
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