Powerful Response to Customer Reviews of All Types: Positive and Negative


Table of Contents

One of the most underrated marketing tasks is that of responding to reviews. Small business owners, no shade intended, are more concerned with running the day-to-day tasks and some of the marketing strategies like placing ads, writing blog posts, and maintaining their website that something as inconsequential as customer reviews gets nary a thought let alone what to do with them after (check out this blog post for more information about that). Here’s why the no-response trend needs to change.

The Ugly Truth about Customer Reviews

When you set up your business, the first tasks (like setting up your Google My Business profile) can be exciting. The excitement of a brand new venture and the promise of success gets you eagerly moving through these steps until you’re entrenched in the daily grind of running your business. The thing lots of business owners forget is that those profiles need maintenance and consistent updates or the dust of neglect will show when someone stumbles across it.

But why are social media platforms and GMB important? It’s not just a placeholder for advertisements of your products or services. They house your customer reviews and reveal to the whole world what people think of your business.

Simple Formula for Responding to Reviews

When responding to customer reviews, whether positive or negative, this formula is a simple way to craft a response that feels personal and unique, no matter who you’re responding to.

Response = Gratitude x (Mirroring + Feedback + Specificity)

One thing you’ll want to be cautious about is the mirroring aspect. This doesn’t necessarily translate in the same way between the positive and negative reviews. Consider taking the action of mirroring as specifically imitating the customer’s emotive expressions rather than the emotions expressed, especially when responding to a customer who isn’t happy. We’ll first look at some very definite DON’Ts in responding to upset customers.

When responding to an unhappy customer:

  • Do not delay.

The quicker you respond to a dissatisfied customer the better. No one enjoys being left in limbo after a serious (or non-serious) issue. According to the research, 52% of consumers expect to have their comments responded to within seven (7) days. Make sure you get your reviews checked every week!

  • Don’t get defensive.

Regardless of the accusation or experience told on the review platform, you must approach each one with empathy and aplomb. Take the feedback with understanding and respond to their disappointment graciously.

  • Do not write a long response.

No response should be very long. First, you’re not defending yourself or pointing fingers. Second, your goal is to resolve the issue. Each of those things equates to a very thoughtful and concise response.

  • Don’t use obscene or offensive language.

With the normalization of foul language in society, this one might feel less applicable; but stick with me. Regardless of your personal beliefs, it is still considered poor taste and unprofessional to curse at work… especially at customers.

Customer review and Manager response from Etta

7 Things to Remember when Responding to Reviews

  1. Personalize your response– people love hearing/seeing their name
  2. If you must apologize, be sincere – you are simply empathizing with their feelings, not accepting guilt
  3. If there was a problem, resolve it – offer a solution to smooth ruffled feathers. If the situation is complicated, take it offline and discuss it personally (email or over the phone)
  4. Always thank customers for their feedback – crafting a comment, suggestion, or critique took time and effort
  5. Highlight your company values: share your company’s values and customer-centric attitude in all responses
  6. Keep all responses short
  7. Sign off with your name and position – let people know a real person took their concerns seriously


You can’t please everyone. So you must choose to represent yourself and your business with professional dignity and respect.


The moral of this story is that all business owners really should have someone responding to all their customer reviews, whether they are collected on Facebook, their website, or other search engine profiles like Google My Business. It doesn’t matter how it gets done, but it really ought to be done because your online reputation depends upon how people talk about you and how you, in turn, respond back to them. To learn more about customer reviews, check out this blog post!


I’ve researched and compiled 16 pages of templates to help you respond to reviews of all types, both positive and negative. Download your copy now!

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