Responding to Google reviews, good or bad, is one of the most important, and often neglected, practices of a small business owner. Once a routine has been established it is not that difficult or time-consuming and lets potential new customers know that the owner is concerned about their online reputation. Reviews, and how the business responds, can make or break any business.

Tips For Responding To Good Reviews

*Yes, you should reply to good reviews as well as bad reviews. Think about it like this.

Have you ever held the door open for someone and they not say thank you? Isn’t that irritating? Let them know you appreciate them taking the time to write the review. This is an opportunity to build a relationship with your customers. 

*It needs to be clear and concise and don’t get personal. Remember, the whole internet is watching. 

*It is a good idea to respond to past reviews no matter how many you have. A response to an old ignored review will also be a reminder to that former customer how you filled their needs or solved their problem in the past.

*Potential customers who scan reviews notice that courteous attention to detail and it may be what separates your business from the competition.

Tips For Responding To Bad Reviews

*It goes without saying but let’s go ahead and say it. If you have more bad reviews than good reviews then you have bigger issues to address and how you respond to those bad reviews is merely window dressing. 

*As a business owner, you have to look at a bad review as an opportunity to improve. If you handle a bad review correctly it can turn into a positive impression of your business. Remember, potential customers will read what your response and if they see that you responded quickly and with an honest effort to rectify the situation, no matter the outcome, they know you will do the same in the future. 

*Never post any personal information of the reviewer. Always ask them to contact you via email or phone to discuss the matter. Many times a positive interaction can help clarify the issue and lead to a resolution. It could be something as simple as a misunderstanding. Often a reviewer will update the review after a positive conversation.

*Be honest and apologize if mistakes were made but never take responsibility for something that was out of your control. For example, if a project was canceled because of bad weather then explain politely that you will check the forecast before rescheduling. 

*Do not offer a discount or a settlement in a public forum. Such an offer could open the door for scammers to target your business by writing bad reviews expecting free products or cash settlements. It is perfectly acceptable to do whatever you feel is best for your business behind closed doors but make sure to keep it out of the public eye.

*Make it personal by adding your name or initials in closing. This helps to show that you are being genuine.

*Always be polite and professional. Be careful to not get critical or use abusive language in a fit of anger. If your customer gets a screenshot of that abusive tirade you may never live it down. One moment of anger could resurface again and again for years.

*Respond quickly to let your customers know you care how they feel about the service that was provided. The longer you wait the more the negative experience will have solidified.

If the review is misleading, profanity-laced, or is a hostile customer lashing out it can be flagged as inappropriate. If it violates guidelines it will be removed.