Tips For Responding to Positive and Negative Online Reviews

Positive customer reviews provide a healthy competitive advantage for your business. That’s why we included testimonials in our list of 12 ecommerce website must-haves to win over new customers.

When a customer takes the time to write a review about your business – whether good or bad – it is important that you respond. In this article we provide tips for collecting positive reviews, how to respond to reviews and, in the case of a negative review, how to turn an unhappy customer into a happy one.

How to encourage customers to post positive reviews

Each happy customer is an opportunity to collect a glowing testimonial for your business. Make it a habit to follow up with customers and ask them if they wouldn’t mind sharing their experience in the form of a public review. This works even better if a customer provides unsolicited feedback and you ask them to simply share their comment in a public forum – whether on your website, Facebook or Google Business page for example. We recommend that you provide a link to the exact publishing location to make it super easy for your customer to post their review!

How to respond to a positive review

When a customer shares a review publicly, it is important to reply to them publicly even if you have been having a conversation with them offline. Here are some tips for responding to positive testimonials:

  1. Thank the customer
    “Hi Laura, thanks so much for sharing your experience – it means a lot!”
  2. Personalise your response
    “We’re glad to hear you love your Kiwiana wall art.”
  3. Include some new information about your business
    “We also just launched a new range of greeting cards which you might enjoy gifting to friends!”
  4. Keep it short and sweet
    “We look forward to hearing from you again – Kelly and the team at InspireArt.”

How to respond to a negative review (and hopefully turn an unhappy customer into a happy one)

Although you may be disheartened upon reading a negative review, try to view it as valuable customer feedback and an opportunity to turn the situation around. Here are our tips for responding to negative comments:

  1. Apologise and sympathise
    “Hi Laura, thank you for your feedback. We would like to apologise for your bad experience.”
  2. Avoid getting personal or defensive. Instead you could include something like, “we’re normally known for our fast and friendly service and we’re sorry that we missed the mark here.”
  3. Show that you care
    “We’d really love to be able to make things right.”
  4. Move the conversation offline
    “Please give us a call on [insert phone number] or email [insert email address] at your convenience.”

As your potential customers do their research online, they will no doubt come across your existing reviews. Remember this when you are responding to reviews – you’re not just responding to that one person, but everyone else who reads it. One common source of online testimonials is via your verified Google Business page. Collecting reviews on Google also helps to boost your search engine ranking. Here is some helpful information and guidelines from Google about reading and responding to reviews.

As you can see, both positive and negative reviews can have profound effects on building customer trust, especially when your business is solely online. How you respond to these reviews can make all the difference.

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