Skip to content
Customer Experience

May 16, 2023

A complete guide on how to respond to positive and negative reviews

A comprehensive guide on how to effectively respond to positive and negative reviews to enhance your brand's reputation and customer relationships. Learn more at Feefo.

Providing excellent customer experience means listening to and communicating with your customers at every stage of their journey with you.

Responding to reviews, both positive and negative, can help to strengthen customer relationships, improve retention rates and promote your business to others.

However, there is some room for improvement when it comes to businesses responding to customer feedback. Our own research shows that close to half (43%) of consumers feel that companies have been less than effective at dealing with critical reviews.

Meeting customer expectations when it comes to responding to feedback isn’t as simple as providing a ‘copy and paste’ reply. Your response puts your brand’s customer service in the spotlight. While a great review provides an opportunity to thank your existing customers and attract new ones, a negative review can offer the chance to turn a potentially damaging situation around.

Opening a channel for honest feedback can seem daunting, but dealing with your negative feedback effectively can actually improve your reputation. This guide will help you and your team put together a solid strategy for responding to both positive and negative reviews, so you can provide the best possible customer experience and ensure you’re making the most of your customer feedback.

 

Positive reviews

Positive review writers are great promoters of your business. These people are likely to use your business again, and they’ll be making sure they tell their friends and family about you, too. By responding to your happy customers, you’re showing appreciation and extending their great experience with you long after they’ve received your product or used your service.

 

The importance of replying to positive reviews

It’s important to respond to your positive feedback – responding to reviews from happy customers can have a huge impact on both your customer relationships and your brand reputation, turning good experiences into great ones. Here’s how.

  • You’re speaking to your biggest cheerleaders

Positive reviewers are likely to be loyal brand advocates, who are more than happy to recommend your business to others. Interactions with these customers will strengthen these valuable relationships and ensure that these advocates speak highly of your business – both online and by word-of-mouth.

  • You have an audience of potential customers

All reviews are public – as are your responses. It’s important to show you acknowledge satisfied customers as well as those with an issue, to prove that you’re not just interacting with your customers when there’s a problem being aired publicly.

  • There’s always room for improvement

Positive reviews can still contain an opportunity to address an issue, however slight. Opening a direct line of communication with your loyal customers is an excellent way of discovering exactly how your business is doing, down to the minute details.

  • It encourages more feedback

Openly acknowledging and appreciating your customers’ reviews can encourage them to leave more feedback in the future, and more feedback means more insight for your business.

 

How to reply to positive reviews

An effective response to a positive review requires more than a simple ‘thank you’. Keep in mind that this customer has taken the time to say something great about you and your business, so your reply should reflect your appreciation.

1. Thank the customer

Perhaps the most important part of your response, your reply should open with a genuine thank you to the customer for both using your business and for taking the time to share their feedback. It sounds obvious, but appreciation goes a long way.

2. Identify opportunities

Pull out the positives from their review: whether it’s the fantastic service, the quality of a product or the assistance of a member of staff. It shows you’re listening, and not just giving an automated reply.

3. Leave a lasting impression

Show you value their review by telling them you’re taking action. Whether replying to say you will relay their comments to the team, or suggesting similar products they might like, this will assure your customer they did something worthwhile by giving you feedback.

4. Show your human side

Sign off with your name to make the response as personal as possible.

man-and-woman-looking-at-computer-min.jpg

Positive review response examples

Your responses to positive reviews will, and should, all vary. There’s simply no ‘one size fits all’ response to use when it comes to replying to your feedback, but using a similar format for each of your responses – no matter which member of your team responds, or the usual tone of voice of your company – will ensure that each one of your customers is receiving the best experience you can offer.

Here are some examples of effective responses to positive reviews.

Example 1:

‘Fantastic service, quick delivery. Perfect!’

I was really happy with the price, and the delivery arrived the day before the estimate. Ordering was hassle free, and I’ll definitely use you again.

“Thank you for your wonderful review. We’re delighted to hear you were happy with your purchase and that it arrived quickly. I’ve passed your comments onto the team, and we look forward to assisting you again in the future. Chris, Customer Service Manager.”

Example 2:

‘Aside from a website problem, everything else was great’

I kept running into an error when booking through the website which was frustrating, but a quick call to Rachel sorted everything out. She was polite, professional and booked my flights in no time – thank you!

Thanks for your review, Peter, and highlighting the problem with the website. Our technical team have now resolved the issue – sorry for any inconvenience. We’re delighted that Rachel could help – I’ve passed on your comments to her and the team. We’re looking forward to helping you with your flights in the future. Adrian, Head of Customer Success.”

 

Making the most of your positive feedback

Every positive review you have from a customer is an opportunity when it comes to your marketing activity. Negative reviews may highlight what areas of your business need some improvement, but positive reviews identify what you should promote. Whether it’s adding a testimonial to a social media post, a page on your website or on a paid ad, using feedback from your own customers is one of the easiest and most effective ways of promoting your business to new customers.

 

Negative reviews

No business can get it right every time, and sometimes situations beyond your control can result in an unhappy customer. Fortunately, if they have left a review, this is your opportunity to turn the situation around.

 

The impact of negative reviews on your business

Negative reviews can feel like the ultimate risk to your brand reputation and having them visible on a public platform might seem daunting, especially when potential customers tend to seek them out before committing to a purchase. While customers do sometimes search for bad reviews, it doesn’t mean they’ll be put off by them. A third (32%) said that seeing few or no negative reviews would make them delay their purchase, and a further 22% would be suspicious of all reviews about that company.

Customers are realistic and know that sometimes, things can go wrong. What makes the difference, though, is how businesses respond to those reviews from dissatisfied customers. Almost seven in ten people (69%) are happy to continue their purchase with a brand if they can see that a company has acknowledged a poor review, apologised and offered a solution. Here’s how to do just that.

 

How to respond to negative reviews

Having a plan in place that outlines the procedure for handling negative feedback is essential. Make sure that all staff are trained to use the relevant process and are prepared to respond in a calm and effective way.

1. Accept the review and take action

The initial reaction to receiving negative feedback is often to remove or ignore, until it’s out of sight. However, there are no hiding places online, and acknowledging your bad reviews shows complete transparency to your customers. Do not remove negative reviews from your site, unless they’re inflammatory or obviously unrelated to your product or service. As we’ve mentioned, if customers believe your reviews are genuine, they’re more likely to trust your brand. Conversely, they’ll be suspicious of businesses that only display positive reviews.

Ignoring a customer who has taken the time to leave a negative review or complaint will only make the situation worse. Rather than leaving the review unaddressed and the customer dissatisfied, responding to their feedback could stop the customer from telling other people about their negative experience with you.

2. Respond quickly and appropriately

Address the review as quickly as possible outside of the review platform. That way, when you come to respond to the review, you can discuss the solution – not the problem. The quicker you contact your customer about their issue, the faster you can respond to their feedback. You also reduce the risk of the customer venting their frustration through other channels, such as social media.

The initial review should guide how you respond. Whether formal or informal, make sure you mirror your customer’s tone in your reply.

3. Thank them for their feedback

Acknowledge their review by thanking them for leaving it. This shows you appreciate all feedback, whether positive or negative, and take it seriously.

4. Identify and empathise

Show you appreciate their concerns by highlighting the issues they have raised. Empathise with their situation and acknowledge their frustration. If they have provided incorrect information, correct them respectfully.

Always respect what your customer has to say, and no matter how much you disagree with them, it is important to leave out any feelings of frustration or anger. Be polite towards your customer and try to put yourself in their shoes to understand why they may be feeling that way.

5. Take action

If your business is at fault, apologise. If not, explain what has happened – but do not make excuses. Highlight any attempts to get in contact via phone or email, to demonstrate to other customers the lengths you are taking.

6. Leave the right impression

Demonstrate the steps you have taken to resolve the issue, and provide any further action that either you, or the customer, should take.

7. Learn and improve

As well as a chance to build customer loyalty, criticism is an opportunity to enhance your offering. Identify what went wrong, why, and make changes to prevent it happening again. Review your handling of the customer, and depending on what you find, either praise your service team or reevaluate your process.

business-people-discussing-min.jpg

 

Negative review response examples

By following these guidelines, you can provide an effective and respectful response to any negative feedback you receive. Here are some examples of how you can put these guidelines into practice, just remember, every response you provide should be completely unique to the situation at hand.

Example 1:

‘Rubbish. Order never arrived and customer services didn’t care.

I was initially impressed by the price and selection, but despite saying the order would arrive in 2-3 days, it never did. Customer services couldn’t trace the order and all I could do was cancel it. Complete waste of time.’

I am sorry to hear that your order never arrived, and that our customer care team couldn’t trace it. As discussed on the phone, this was due to a system error that did not alert you to the fact that the item was out of stock. I’m glad we were able to reorder, and I can confirm the problem has been resolved. Please do get in touch with any further questions. Alan, Customer Care.”

Example 2:

‘Only contains one, and it’s not as big as it looks.

The quality of the product is pretty good, but it only comes with one, and it’s not very big. It looks much bigger in the picture. Disappointed.’

Thanks for your time on the phone earlier. I’m glad you’re happy with the quality, although appreciate you thought you would get more than one. It does state the size and the quantity on our website, but as mentioned on the call, we will look at making this information more prominent. Please feel free to get in touch if we can help any further. Jane, Customer Services.

 

Dos and don’ts

As long as you keep these guidelines in mind, you can be sure you’re doing all you can to keep your responses professional, respectful and effective. Here are some other points to keep in mind when you respond to customer feedback:

Do

  • Use a standard salutation (Dear, Hi, Hello) and the customer’s name, if they have decided to display it
  • Try and keep your answers concise. Include all the details you need, but keep it brief and relevant
  • Ask questions if you need to, for example when a complaint is simply ‘not good’, or similar
  • Make it a dialogue. Reviews should be a two-way exchange of information, not a one-sided request
  • Make reference to any notes on the customer account that are relevant to the situation, demonstrating a unique response to their situation
  • When replying to positive comments, use your brand names and keywords where relevant to assist in search results
  • If a customer is untruthful, be sure to point out their inconsistency, such as if delivery has been attempted. Remember, other customers are reading

Don’t

  • Write a standardised reply to multiple reviews, or use any form of copy and paste text
  • Discuss events that have not happened yet, such as saying ‘I will call you shortly’, as opposed to ‘following our call…’
  • Say you are passing a complaint to another department or person. Instead, take responsibility
  • Fall prey to a personal exchange. Remain polite, professional and do not rise to counterproductive arguments
  • Appear overly formal, regardless of your brand. Consider how you would speak to the customer face-to-face

How to respond to reviews on Google, Yelp and Facebook

Often, a customer’s first port of call in the decision-making process is a quick search of your online reviews on the most popular platforms. A search for your business name and the term ‘reviews’ won’t just bring up any existing customer feedback, but your responses too. It’s a good idea to make sure your strategy includes reviewing the feedback across these sites regularly, so that you’re keeping on top of what your customers are saying about you across the most visited platforms, Google, Yelp and Facebook.

Ensure your team are prepared with the login details for each of your business accounts on these sites and know exactly how to reply to customer reviews on each, so they can respond to all of your reviews swiftly.

 

Google Reviews

Google reviews show up in two places: Google Search and Google Maps. To respond to your reviews, sign into your Google Business Profile Manager account (formerly called Google My Business).

Once you’re signed in, click the Reviews tab.

To respond, click on the ‘Reply’ button below each review. When you submit your response, it will go live immediately, and the customer will be notified that you have responded with an email about five minutes after it has been submitted.

 

Yelp

To respond to Yelp reviews, you will need to have claimed your business page on Yelp already and be logged into your Yelp for Business Owners page. Once you’ve signed up, just click on the Reviews tab.

From here, you will be able to respond to each individual review with a public comment or a direct message, which will be private. Although we would always recommend writing a response to your customer reviews, Yelp does include a feature that allows you to acknowledge the feedback instead via a Thanks button.

 

Facebook

Facebook reviews appear as an automatic feature on your page once you create your business account. You can respond to these reviews just as you would respond to a Facebook comment, or alternatively you can reply through your Facebook Business Manager account.

 

How can Feefo help?

To effectively manage and respond to your customer feedback, you need the following in place:

  • A clear strategy and set of guidelines for managing feedback, and for addressing criticism as constructively as possible
  • The capacity to engage your reviewers in a two-way dialogue in which you can have conversations with your customers
  • A robust review verification process so you know the customer insight you’re acting on is real

Feefo’s reviews and analysis platform supports you to treat your customers as individuals. From personalising review requests to responding to feedback directly, you can ask the right questions at the right time, so you can learn more about your customer, your business, and where you can improve.

With Feefo, you can be sure that you only ever receive genuine feedback from customers who have actually used your business. We only send review requests to verified customers, so you will never receive, or act on, fake comments about your products or your service.

To find out more about how Feefo can help strengthen your customer relationships and improve customer experience across every touchpoint, get in touch with our team.

Founded in 2010, Feefo is a ratings and reviews platform that collects reliable and constructive reviews for thousands of clients worldwide. We only send invitations to verified customers to ask them to leave a review, so consumers can learn how people like them feel about different products and services. And companies can truly discover what they’re doing right, and where they can improve. This allows Feefo’s clients to create transparent, trusted relationships and deliver exceptional services that their customers can depend on - every time.

Latest Articles

Consumer Behaviour Trends 2024
Business Insights

Consumer Behaviour Trends 2024

Discover the latest insights on consumer behaviour trends in 2024. Learn how brands can adapt to shifting expectations, enhance customer ex...

July 10, 2024

Three ways to improve your brand’s transparency
Customer Acquisition

Three ways to improve your brand’s transparency

Learn how to retain customers post-Black Friday with customer feedback and strategic planning. Discover tips to reduce returns and increase...

July 02, 2024

How Will the General Election 2024 Impact Consumer Behaviour?
Business Insights

How Will the General Election 2024 Impact Consumer Behaviour?

Discover how customer feedback can drive innovation in your business and prepare you for potential shifts in consumer behavior post the 202...

June 27, 2024

Speak to the team