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Catherine Skellern
5 min read

How to Respond to Positive and Negative Reviews

Whether you’re responding to your own company’s reviews or on behalf of your client, it shouldn’t be a chore. In fact, it’s actually an opportunity - a chance to continue the conversation with customers to find out what you’re getting right, and how to improve where you’re falling short. 

Why are review responses important? 

Put simply, engaging with you customers when they give feedback shows that you care - whatever they have to say. It also highlights your interest in the customer, displays a proactive attitude and is also a chance to gather valuable information from the people who are actually using your products and services. 

If that wasn’t reason enough, engaging with reviews is also rumoured to be an algorithm factor for Google and social platforms alike. 

How to respond to negative reviews 

Stats from ReviewsTracker show that around 94 per cent of customers will avoid a business based on a bad review. 

Of course, there’s not much we can do to stop somebody writing a review - but how we address it can minimise the damage and show readers your side of the story. A good response will also exhibit an active interest in improvement and the opinion of your clients. 

So here are some top tips for responding to negative reviews in the best possible way. 

  • Don’t provoke: It’s not the time to start a fight with a negative reviewer. Stay professional, stay calm and handle the issue with the appropriate tone. Defend yourself, but don’t get defensive - always opt for clear, fair arguments rather than letting emotions fuel your response.  
  • Time it well: Leaving a negative review to languish isn’t the best way to enhance the reputation of your company. Prompt replies, when possible, shows that reactivity is a key trait of your company. 
  • The name game: Think about the last time someone used your name. It grabbed your attention, right? It felt personal. It engaged you. That’s the effect that using your reviewer’s name can have. 
  • Say thanks: Always thank the customer for their feedback - even if you don’t agree with it. 
  • Apologise when appropriate: The circumstances behind every negative review will differ vastly. Sometimes it’s obvious that you or the customer are primarily at fault, while other times it will need more investigation. Only apologise if you are genuinely sure it’s your fault. When apologising, remember to highlight the rarity of the fault. And if it’s not appropriate to apologise, still adopt a sympathetic tone of voice. 
  • Invite them to get in touch: Social media platforms can allow a back-and-forth to spiral between you and the reviewer. Instead, you should aim to take the conversation offline as soon as possible. So, after addressing their issue in a reply, finish the response by inviting them to get in touch for a further chat - this allows you to deal with them more effectively on a more one-to-one level. 
  • Consider tone of voice: If your company, or the company you represent, has a specific brand tone of voice, make sure to use it in your reply (if appropriate). 
  • Address negatives, highlight positives: Any review response should always address issues without sweeping them under the rug. But it’s important to reinforce your company’s positives and the fact that it’s a uncommon occurrence.  

How to respond to positive reviews

The first question might be why bother? After all, it’s the negative reviews that require time and attention to correct. Why spend precious minutes attending to positive reviews - surely they stand for themselves? 

Look at it this way - a positive review is a chance for celebration and to interact with a happy customer, building a relationship with them and encouraging them to return in future. 

So, here are the best ways to respond to a positive review: 

  • Say thanks: Simple but important. 
  • Reinforce the positives: Repetition is powerful. Did you get that? Repetition is powerful. And a positive review is a chance to parrot the reviewer’s comment, thus reinforcing the positive and highlighting it to anyone browsing. 
  • Invite them back: The reviewer is in a good mood and already on your side. So it’s the perfect chance to lay out the welcome mat for them to return. This doesn’t have to be in a pushy way. It can be as simple as ‘we can’t wait to welcome you back in future.’ It could also be done by letting them know about any upcoming offers they might be interested in.                
  • Short and sweet: We don’t want to waffle. Keep the response short and sweet.  

We hope you enjoyed our little review reply toolkit. And remember: every review is a chance to learn, grow and communicate - so embrace it. 

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