Review responses are replies to a customer’s online review, whether it was positive, negative, or somewhat neutral. A reply acknowledges the customer’s experience and often offers additional calls to action, such as offering a coupon or invitation to contact the business directly to continue the discussion.
In the past, product or service reviews were often in print with no way to respond instantly. Now, with online review sites like Google and Yelp, potential customers can see all the opinions that have been shared, but also how you respond to those opinions.
In this article, we’ll share why review responses are important, how to respond to positive and negative reviews, and what the best practices are for responding to reviews. We’ll also provide some examples for reference.
Why your review responses are important
Although the customer’s review is already written and posted, you still benefit from responding to client reviews. Here are three benefits of responding to reviews:
- Improve customer retention: Reviews provide an opportunity to connect with past customers and encourage them to return. They’re also a chance to offer customers relief from issues with the service or product you offered. With 87% of consumers reading online reviews for local businesses, responding to reviews offers one more platform for you to share and demonstrate your values.
- Raise SEO rankings: Review management is also valuable for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes. Google takes into account whether or not a business responds to reviews, and favors businesses that respond to reviews. When you respond to reviews, you’re likely to receive 12% more reviews, which gives you more opportunities to connect with potential customers and improve your business’s ratings.
- Build online reputation: Your responses can say a lot about your business and customer service, which attracts (or repels) prospective clients. If you respond cordially both to negative and positive reviews, clients searching for new businesses on Google Maps, for example, may view you as more trustworthy and choose your service.
How to respond to positive reviews and retain customers
You might not think to respond immediately to an upbeat review with a 5-star rating, but if someone were to compliment you in person, you’d likely thank them, right? The same goes for online compliments, also known as positive reviews.
A positive review response is key to encouraging customer retention. Acknowledgment makes the customer feel like they made the right decision, and your warm response could be the invitation they need to return as a repeat customer.
Tip: Don’t just let positive feedback sit idly on your website. Spread the word by sharing the review on social media, which extends the value of the positive review.
Best practices to follow when responding to positive reviews
Saying “thank you” is all well and good, but there are a few more things to keep in mind while responding to positive customer reviews. Follow these best practices when writing review responses for positive reviews.
1. Personalize the message
Avoid beginning your response with a generic, “Dear customer” if you can help it. Most online review hubs typically require a first name along with the review. Take advantage of this and start your response with the customer name. This shows that you genuinely care about who they are as a person, rather than seeing them as a walking wallet.
2. Thank customers
Thank the customer for their kind words and for taking the time to write a positive review. Go the extra mile by letting them know how it made you feel. Words like, “this made our day!” or “this was just what I needed today!” can humanize your business as well. Customers like hearing about the people behind the counter.
3. Invite them for another visit
Remind happy customers that you’d love to see them again. You can also offer them a discount or some additional incentive for their next visit. They may already know they’re welcome to return, but a reminder will make them feel extra valued as customers.
It also provides a chance to build a community around your business. Recognizing repeat customers demonstrates your dedication to the business and the people involved in it.
4. Pass on the positivity
Let customers know that you’ll share the review with your team. If, for example, someone compliments a specific employee, you can respond by letting the customer know you’ll pass on the message. Be sure to mention the positive review to your employee too!.
5. Share other products and services
If they liked you this time around, they might like you even more with a new offer — just be careful not to get too sales-y with this part. Your job is to gently encourage them to continue purchasing, not beat down their front door with more offers.
Try mentioning a new service you’ve started offering, a new product that might complement their past purchase, or upsell to your customer by suggesting a service for next time.
6. Be authentic
Copying and pasting the same "Thanks for your response!" over and over doesn't add any personality to your brand. Write a general template to save time, but add personal touches to each review. Don’t forget to sign off with your own name to prove you’re a real and authentic person behind the screen.
3 examples of how to respond to positive reviews
Here are some well-done positive review response examples that we’ve compiled from around the web. Notice how they use the best practices throughout the review responses. You can also use these as inspiration when writing your own responses.
1. Mercedes-Benz positive review example
This review thanks the customer by greeting them and using the reviewer’s name, including the company name, and inviting the customer back again. To make this response even stronger, the company could have signed off the review with the business owner’s name for an extra boost of authenticity.
2. Porsche positive review example
This response almost reads like a short letter, making this response very professional and thought out. The business owner sounds thrilled to hear about the positive experience and even says so in their response. This feeling gets passed on to not just the original reviewer, but also any readers who come across this review online, enticing them to visit.
3. Beauty Bar positive review example
This review response happily thanks the customer for their review, shares their pride in their work and lets the customer know they’re looking forward to seeing her again. All of these are hallmarks of a great review response that will encourage both previous and new customers to visit the business.
How to respond to negative reviews without losing customers
Receiving negative reviews can be disheartening at best and cruel in the worst cases. It can be hard to not get defensive, especially when a bad review feels like a personal attack. Enough bad reviews will damage your reputation, but this can be countered with positive reputation management.
Keeping your reputation in mind ensures you’re not jumping to defend yourself in response to a poor review. It also protects your offline reputation — you don’t want to be known as that business owner who responds to all criticism with angry replies. You can’t control what people say about you and your business, but you can control what you say in return.
One silver lining of negative reviews is that a few negative reviews prevent your business from coming off as "fake" for having only positive reviews. A balance of positive and negative reviews may seem more nuanced than 100% positive reviews.
Best practices to follow when responding to negative reviews
When writing review responses, many of the best practices for positive review responses also apply to negative reviews. However, responding to negative feedback may require more thought.
Follow these best practices to make the most out of your response to negative reviews.
1. Thank the customer
Should you thank someone for their negative, or even downright hurtful message? Yes, because any publicity can be good publicity. This offers you a chance to shine and become the hero with an honest and helpful response, so thank them for this opportunity.
2. Accept responsibility
An apology is the first step to taking responsibility for a customer's poor experience. Recognizing where someone or something went wrong can go a long way in assuaging an unhappy customer’s feelings.
Often, people leave bad reviews describing that they weren’t listened to by a manager when trying to share a concern. Take the opportunity to make it right by acknowledging the issue in your review response.
Still, watch out for overly apologetic responses. They can come off as too pleading or unprofessional. Instead, focus on solutions to the client’s discontent.
3. Be empathetic
After your appreciation and apology, take a moment to put yourself in the customer’s shoes. It's possible that your team wasn’t at fault and your customer was simply having a bad day and venting through a negative review. Still, if you can imagine how you might feel on a really bad day, you can hopefully empathize with the negativity and respond with the sort of kindness and compassion you'd like yourself.
4. Share your business values
When a customer is unsatisfied with your service, it’s important to reiterate your business values. This reminds the customer that the mistake is not a usual occurrence and they can expect better from you next time.
It also tells other readers what you typically stand for in your own words and lets you explain what your business stands for rather than letting the review tell others for you.
Don’t be defensive while stating your values. Maintain an apologetic tone and be sure to state that you failed to uphold those values in this instance.
5. Describe next steps
Share what you're doing to fix the problem, offer a discount code, or tell the reviewer a way to get in touch with you to discuss the issue further. This demonstrates your initiative to assist the upset customer and to communicate with them. Showing up to help someone who feels wronged adds trust to your reputation online.
6. Always respond
Responding to customer reviews no matter what shows online readers your dedication to your brand and reputation. Even when it seems like a negative review is coming from an online bully, it's good for a business to respond.
If the complaint was valid, a response improves your standing by acknowledging your part in the issue. On the other hand, if the complaint doesn't seem valid, potential customers can recognize that you’re taking the higher ground.
7. Don't take it personally
Remember that no matter how bad an online review is, a negative review response only damages your reputation online. Your customers don't know you personally, and people looking for your business online know you even less.
Make a good first impression on other clients by honoring your disgruntled customer and staying polite no matter how heated things become.
3 examples of how to respond to negative reviews
Here are some examples of responses to negative reviews that go the extra mile for past customers or clients. In these cases, take note of how the best practices are applied to understand and please the reviewer.
1. Mercedes-Benz negative review example
This example checks off multiple best practices, including thanking the customer and apologizing for their experience, along with offering the next steps for connecting personally with a manager to remedy the situation. This encouraging response demonstrates the confidence in their service and ability to fix what went wrong.
2. Mac Outpost negative review example
This longer response stresses the steps that the business is taking, along with its core value of keeping customers’ trust in the business specialists. For potential customers reading this online, they will see someone’s negative experience but more so the way that the co-owner goes above and beyond to apologize for the experience, share how it’s being remedied, and offer another opportunity to connect and discuss the issue with both a phone number and email.
3. Chatter negative review example
This review resembles the previous in that the message covers the business’s core values and admits that they made a mistake. The response from this business owner also explains the behavior typical of employees, so that other readers can get a sense of what should have happened.
Lastly, the response encourages the customer to get in touch to see if there’s anything else they can do to improve their experience.
How Jasper can help you write thoughtful review responses
It pays to write carefully created responses to reviews so that you can boost your reputation online and demonstrate your exceptional customer service. However, writing out responses for lots of reviews can get tiring.
Jasper is an AI writing tool created to help you write high-quality review responses and other content more quickly.
Ready to spend less time writing reviews word by word? Check out Jasper’s Review Responder template for instantly written responses that sound friendly, compassionate, and most importantly, professional.
Here are three review response examples generated by Jasper. We fed the AI three reviews: one positive and two negative ones. Jasper crafted three responses you can save as templates and tweak to customize for each customer.
1. Jasper AI review response to a positive review
Here’s a positive 5-star review for a marketing agency that Jasper responds to in kind.
2. Jasper AI review response to a negative review with an apology
Here Jasper responds with grace and patience to a negative review with thanks, an apology, and a commitment to better service.
3. Jasper AI review response to negative review
Here is a second negative review example that Jasper responds to with an earnest invitation to connect further, protecting the reputation of the business.
Jasper does more than write review responses. With 52+ templates designed to make writing easier and faster for everyone, you can create website copy, long-form content, video scripts and more with Jasper. Not sure where to start? Check out Jasper Bootcamp to learn the most effective ways to use Jasper.
Sign up with Jasper and start effortlessly writing your own review responses today.