Online reviews are critical to the success of a local business, with 93% of consumers saying online reviews impact their purchasing decisions, and that the minimum rating they’ll engage with is 3.3 stars. Responding to online reviews is another critical piece in not only building a positive online presence, but also in encouraging other consumers to leave their feedback and engage with your business.

How does a business respond to online reviews? Do positive online reviews need to be responded to at all? How do you respond to a negative review? All these questions and more are covered here so you can leverage your online reputation to grow your business.

Managing Positive Reviews

Responding to positive reviews is just as important as responding to negative reviews. However, many businesses wonder why.

Why respond to a good review?

If a good customer leaves a glowing five-star review, it can’t get any better than that, right? Actually, it can. Responding to a positive review is an easy way to engage with happy customers that benefits both your brand identity, and your one-to-one relationship with that customer. Remember, online reviews and review sites are public, so the positive conversations that happen about your brand here can do wonders for your business!

Here’s why you should always respond to a positive review:

  • It’s the polite thing to do. If a customer gave you a compliment in real life, you would say thank you. It’s only polite. And with an online review, the compliment is public. So be extra nice!
  • Everyone is looking. 90% of consumers now read online reviews for local businesses. The public, including potential future customers of the business, may read this review. Replying to the review is a chance to speak to these people too, and do some subtle marketing
  • Actively creating, and engaging with, positive online conversations about your brand and the local community can encourage others to participate in that conversation, and generate more buzz and visibility for your business
  • It affects search rankings. By replying properly, you can improve the SEO ranking of the review, and help the review show up in search results for a business

How to respond to a positive review:

  • Thank the customer for the positive review
  • Use the business name and keywords in your review response to the good review.
  • Add a little marketing to your review response.
  • Invite customer to do something in your response.

How to get more positive reviews

A great way to build trust and visibility with your business online is to cultivate a strong, positive online presence. How? Through positive reviews!

The more positive reviews you have, the less detrimental negative feedback will be on your brand when you do receive it. (We all know you can’t please everyone!)

Ultimately the best way to get more reviews is to ask! People love sharing their opinions, and happy customers will take the time.

The key is timing. If the business asks when the customer is most pleased with the product or services, the reviews will have the best chance of being very positive.

ASK IN PERSON: You can place a review reminder on the receipt, or at the checkout, or on the delivery slip. You can give a reminder card to the best customers. You can even hand out cards at the till that encourage customers to leave a review of their experience.

ASK ONLINE: You can encourage customers to leave feedback online through email, text, and more.  There are online tools that give businesses the power to gather authentic customer experiences and generate more online engagement about their brand.



Managing Negative Reviews

Negative reviews can be crippling to a local business—especially if the business has few reviews to begin with. Even worse? Negative reviews that go unresponded to. Don’t let those online wounds fester! Dealing with negative reviews doesn’t have to be hard, and it can even be leveraged as a marketing and branding opportunity.

Why respond to a negative review?

Unfortunately, you can’t just ignore a bad review until it goes away.  In fact, ignoring an unpleasant review can make things worse!


  • You’re not just replying to just the one reviewer. You’re speaking to everyone who reads this review, including potential future customers.
  • Replying is your opportunity to make things right. If a customer brought a complaint to you in person, you would try to make it right. The same goes for online reviews—despite the impersonal nature of online reviews, it’s not over just yet. You can turn this thing around!
  • Replying shows other readers you are not shady or neglectful to feedback, and have taken steps to ensure this problem won’t happen to the next customer.

The best thing to do when you receive a bad review is react quickly and strategically. Here’s how your business should respond to negative reviews, and make the most out of a less-than-pleasant situation:

  • Apologize and sympathize in your response to the negative review.
  • Insert a little marketing in your response to the bad review.
  • Move the conversation offline.
  • Keep your response simple, short and sweet.

BONUS: Don’t include the business name or relevant search keywords.

You don’t want this review showing up in search results!

The power of negative review response

The best thing you can hope for when responding to negative reviews is to have that unhappy consumer revise their initial review when their complaint is dealt with.