How To Reply To Google Reviews

Good & Bad Google My Business Reviews

By Trenton Erker


Published August 13, 2019

Reviews provide trust. Usually, to get a sale, people have to go through the process of knowing you, liking you, and trusting you. How can they know and like you when they’re making a split-decision on who to contact or purchase from? 


Reviews give businesses the opportunity to bypass the typical marketing process and jump straight to trust. That’s why it’s so important to utilize them anyway you can, and as often as you can. Find out all of the ways to utilize Google My Business to grow your business.

Seem too intangible and not practical to reply to reviews? Then you should know that Google has declared that responding to reviews actually helps local rankings. So if for no other reason, reply to reviews on Google for the sake of your business’ visibility.

To learn how to post your reply to Google reviews and scroll to “Desktop” and “Mobile”.

Figure Out What To Say In Your Reply To A Review

Say you get a good review on Google, do you just thank them? Do you give a nice long glowing reply about how much you appreciate the person and their business? What if you get a negative review? Do you ignore it to prevent further damage, put the person in their place, or recap the entire experience so people can see what really happened?

Trick questions, don’t do any of that.

General Review Response Tips

  1. Don’t get personal – This is a good business tip, life tip, and review response tip. Taking things personally never improves any situation.
  2. Be nice – Another practical platitude that is good in any business and life situation. This is easier when you follow tip 1 first.
  3. Respond to all reviews publicly – Google actually says not to respond to all reviews publicly, that you can thank good reviewers privately unless there is new or relevant information to make public. Their reason is that each review reaches so many people. As a business, that’s the exact reason you will want to respond to all of them – they reach a lot of people. What a great way to get free impressions and remind people that you’re there.
  4. People do business with friends – Another old adage, “people buy from people they like” is a cornerstone in business relationships and sales. Be a friend to the reviewer, and not a salesperson.

How To Respond To A Good Review

    1. Use their name – Can’t much more genuine than using someone’s name. “Hey there” is not how you create good connections.
    2. Research – You will want to make these personal – the good kind of personal, not the bad kind of personal – so do some research if you don’t remember who they are.
    3. Appreciation – Obviously, thank them. If you can, add a short note or word your thank you in a way that demonstrates genuine gratitude. Customize it for the person who you are speaking to. 
    4. What else can you do for the reviewer? – If the customer enjoyed a particular aspect of the business, offer to let them experience it again or differently. Hubspot uses the example – “If your customer left a good review about how much they love the new feature in the app, offer to let them be beta testers on upcoming features — think outside the box!”

How To Respond To A Bad Review

These are often dreaded by business owners, but reviews are so prevalent now that buyers know that bad reviews don’t necessarily mean bad company or product. Sometimes negative reviews occur because the person had a missed expectation. Maybe your marketing or sales message created an expectation in the mind of the customer that wasn’t consistent with their experience. That could be a good feedback for you, the business owner, to change your messaging to align with your business practices, or change your business practices to match your message.

Bad reviews aren’t always bad, and can sometimes lead to new/repeat business. Problems are opportunities. Get Clarity on your problems, and you’ll subsequently get Clarity on how to grow your business.

Bad reviews responded to in the right way can and will lead to a positive impression with both current and future customers. Here are things to keep in mind when responding to a bad review.

Tips For Responding To Bad Reviews

  1. Keep in mind the general tips from above
  2. Ask the reviewer to contact you – Don’t try to hash it out in public, as the backfire effect can cause people to become more rigid in their point of view, especially when there’s an audience. Ask the person to message you on GMB messaging, calling, email, or an in-person meeting
  3. Research – Find out why the incident happened. Go through records, receipts, and notes. Become an investigator, the internal affairs department that finds out what happened
  4. Tell the truth – If you’re not taking things personally, you’re being a friend, and being nice, then this should come naturally. Let them know that you made the mistake, but only if you did, do not take credit for something that is not true
  5. Explain what you can do – Reply telling the reviewer what you can do and cannot do, even if it’s just something that you’ll adopt into your business for future use
  6. Apologize – again, only when appropriate
  7. Personal connection – Use your name or initials at the end of the reply
  8. Leave anger at the door – When following the general tips above, this should be self-evident. Don’t get personal, don’t lash out, be professional.
  9. Be quick – respond in timely proximity to the review. You’ll show that your’re attentive and involved. This looks good to people reading the reviews and the reviewer. 

The benefit of responding to GMB reviews is two-fold: local ranking and customer perception. There’s just no reason not to reply to all of them. It’s easy, is good for customer experience, and exposes any gaps in your business to you when you’re too close to the trees to see the forest.

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