How to Respond to Customer Reviews (18 Templates)

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ondering how to respond to customer reviews – positive or negative? We’ve got the templates and information you need to make the best impression with potential customers.

Feedback is incredibly valuable to you as a business owner: through it, you know what’s working, what isn’t, and the tweaks you can make to improve efficiency. We know that customer reviews drive business (or drive it away), and here are the numbers to prove it:

And, the reason you’re here:

The data shows that people trust reviews, and that they care about your responses to them. We’re going to spell out everything you need to know to make your review responses the best they can possibly be.

Here are the topics this guide on how to respond to customer reviews will cover:

Handling Positive Reviews

Handling Negative Reviews

Negative Review Response Templates

Handling Fake Reviews

Getting More Reviews

 

Handling Positive Reviews

Many businesses tend to focus on only responding to negative reviews, but we encourage you to think differently. It is just as important to know how to respond to customer reviews of a positive nature.

Why You Should Respond to Positive Reviews

Positive reviews come from your biggest fans, your regulars, the customers who love your story and service and the work you do. You do not want to miss out on an opportunity to interact with happy customers and thank them for their patronage. Here’s why:

  1. It humanizes your brand. No matter what industry you work in, a sincere, grateful response to a positive review feels personal and authentic.
  2. It’s an opportunity to boost SEO. When you use relevant keywords in your review responses, you help increase the chances of that positive review showing up in searches.
  3. It shows you value every customer experience. When other potential customers are reading reviews, it shows you value the experiences of every customer – whether positive or negative – and that tells them you care.

How to Respond to Positive Customer Reviews [Template]

Responding to positive reviews is much simpler than responding to negative reviews, but there are a few things you want to keep in mind when doing so:

  • Thank your customer. Your customer took the time to write a raving review of your business, make sure he or she knows how much you appreciate it!
  • Use keywords. Include your business name and some keywords like the industry you’re in and the city where you’re located to boost the review for searches.
  • Include an invitation. Invite them back, to work with you again, to bring a friend, or to join your customer appreciation club if they haven’t already to remind them you appreciate them and their continued business.

Keep in mind that customers will notice if you simply copy and paste the same response to every positive review, which will sound robotic and inauthentic to them. Take this template and tweak it as necessary in order to respond to customer reviews:

“Hi [Customer Name], the [Business Name] team is happy to hear you had such a wonderful experience! We’re so glad you enjoyed [Insert What Reviewer Enjoyed]. Thank you so much for [stopping by / your business], we really appreciate it and we hope to [serve / work with / see] you again soon!”

How to Respond to Ratings-Only Positive Reviews [Template]

Sometimes, you’ll have customers who don’t leave any text feedback along with a star rating. It’s still important to respond to these, but these kinds of responses can be much shorter and to-the-point.

Here’s an example of how to respond to customer reviews that don’t include any text:

“Hi [Customer Name], thanks for the excellent feedback! We appreciate your business and hope to [serve / work with / see] you again soon.”

Handling Negative Reviews

No matter the industry your business is in, it’s important to know how to respond to negative customer reviews. They can be an excellent marketing opportunity if you look at them the right way.

Why You Should Respond to Negative Reviews

While it can hurt to receive a negative review, it’s also an opportunity for you to deliver excellent customer service and show off your business’ values in a very real and authentic way. Here are a few reasons you should know how to respond to customer reviews from dissatisfied patrons:

  • Ignoring a bad review will make things worse. If you don’t respond, you only signal to potential customers that the reviewer is right, or that you don’t care about serving customers well.
  • Responding is an opportunity – not something to be afraid of. So, a customer had a bad experience. This happens to every business owner. Come back to it when you can objectively look at the feedback and respond graciously to it.
  • Done well, replying shows that you care. Nine times out of 10, customers with poor experiences want to feel heard and know that something is being done to make it right.

How to Respond to Negative Customer Reviews

Read on for four steps on how to respond to customer reviews from dissatisfied people, or jump to our negative review response templates for some examples you can use when responding to negative reviews:

1. Thank them for their feedback

Whatever the negative review says, this person provided you with an opportunity to improve. Here are a few things you could begin with when responding to their review:

  • “Thank you for telling us about your experience.”
  • “We appreciate your feedback, as we’re always looking for ways to improve our business.”
  • “Thanks so much for bringing this to our attention.”

2. Apologize and sympathize

Consider the situation from your customer’s position and take note of where your business went wrong. Here are a few things you could say after thanking them for their feedback:

  • “We sincerely apologize that your experience did not meet your expectations or our standards.”
  • “We take full responsibility for your experience and hope you accept our apology.”
  • “We are truly sorry for your experience, and we would have been upset if we were in your place, too.”

3. State what you are going to do to make it right

And now we come to that opportunity we mentioned earlier in this article. As the business owner, you can either choose to leave negative feedback be, or implement change to prevent another situation like this from happening in the future. (We recommend door number two.) Here is an example of how you could frame this part of the response:

  • “As a result of your feedback, we are providing our employees with additional customer service training to prevent another experience like this from happening in the future. We know we messed up and we’d sincerely appreciate an opportunity to make this right.”

4. Take it offline

Perhaps the most important step of any negative review response is taking it offline. Offer a direct email address, phone number, and your name when appropriate so the reviewer can get in touch and you can deliver on the promise you made to make it right. This allows the rest of the conversation to be between you and the dissatisfied customer. Here are a few ways you could word this part of your response:

  • “Please give us a call at [Phone Number] or email [Email Address] and ask for [Name] so we can learn more about your experience and make it right.”
  • “If you have any further concerns or would like to talk to one of our team members personally about your experience, you can reach us at [Phone Number] or [Email Address] anytime.”

How to Respond to Ratings-Only Negative Reviews [Template]

One of the most frustrating situations is receiving a one or two-star review online with no comment or further feedback attached to it. If you run into an issue like this, here are a few responses you can tweak and use to respond:

  • “Hi [Customer Name], we’re sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy your experience with us. We take customer feedback to heart and would love to learn more about your experience so we can improve our services. Please contact us at [Phone Number] or [Email Address] at your earliest convenience so we can make this right! Thanks, and have a great day.”
  • “[Customer Name], thank you for your feedback. Your experience is important to us and we would appreciate hearing more about it so we can make things right! Feel free to contact us at [Phone Number] or [Email Address] anytime. Thanks again!

Can a business sue for a bad review?

You may have a case to sue if a reviewer made a false claim that hurt your business, such as you aren’t licensed as a medical facility (when you actually are).

The fact is that technically, you can sue reviewers who complain about slow service or that your products are too expensive – but you won’t win. The First Amendment, or freedom of speech, will protect a reviewer’s rights to say such things. However, if a false claim has been made that tarnishes your reputation or has lost you business, you may have a case for suing on the grounds of defamation.

Disclaimer: we are not lawyers, and if you are seriously considering suing, it would be in your business’ best interest to receive professional legal advice regarding the matter.

Can you remove a negative review?

You may be able to remove a negative review of your business, but only if it meets certain parameters.

For the major review sites – Yelp, Google and Facebook – a review can’t be removed simply because it gave you a low rating or said you had poor customer service. The negative review can only be removed if it contains any of the following:

  • Prohibited content, like hateful, derogatory or sexually explicit speech, and any locally or regionally illegal content.
  • Conflicts of interest, like the review was written by a competitor or disgruntled employee.
  • Spam, like computer-generated sales content or gibberish.
  • Off-topic content, like the review has nothing to do with a visit to your business.

Think you have a case for removing a negative review of your business? Jump to our sections on how to remove a review on Google, Yelp or Facebook.

How do you respond to a customer review without knowing the order number?

Even if you don’t know the order number of a customer, you can still respond sincerely to their concerns by:

  • Apologizing. Nothing makes an upset customer feel heard like a sincere apology.
  • Asking for their order number. Request them to contact you with their order number so you can make it right for them.
  • Including several methods of contact. Include a phone number and email address so the customer can contact you in the way he or she feels most comfortable.

Negative Review Response Templates

When responding to negative reviews of your business, you first want to understand what happened. Sometimes negative reviews are fake, sometimes they are exaggerations, and sometimes they are from customers with legitimate concerns. Always approach the review response humbly and from a place of understanding.

A few best practices to keep in mind when responding to negative customer reviews:

  • Don’t include the name of your business in your review response to prevent negative reviews from showing up in searches.
  • Don’t specifically state what you are going to do to make things right (i.e., waive a fee, offer free product, etc.), as doing so could unintentionally encourage other negative reviews from people hoping to receive the same perks.

Here are several industry-specific review response templates you can use when responding to customer reviews:

Car Dealership Template

Here’s a sample of how to respond to customer reviews of your dealership:

“Hi [Customer Name], thank you for bringing this to our attention. I’d like to apologize on behalf of our dealership team for the level of service you experienced. We strive for excellence in customer service, and we recognize we missed the mark here. As a result of your experience, we scheduled a meeting with the involved parties to discuss how we can prevent similar situations from happening in the future. Please let us know if you have any further concerns by contacting [Employee Name] at [Phone Number] or [Email Address]. We do appreciate your business and would like to do what we can to make this right. Thanks, and have a great day!”

Construction and Maintenance Template

There are two effective ways to handle a negative construction or maintenance review: recognize that you made a mistake and apologize, or respectfully explain the situation from your company’s perspective.

Here’s an example of how to respond to customer reviews when they reference legitimate mistakes your business made:

“Hi [Customer Name], we appreciate your honest feedback and the opportunity to make things right for you. I spoke to the parties involved on your account and you are correct in saying mistakes were made. I hope you accept my sincerest apology for the lost time and stress this caused you. Please contact me at your earliest convenience so I can waive certain expenses incurred and begin earning back your trust.

Thanks,

[Name]

[Title]

[Phone Number]

[Email Address]”

Here’s a sample of how to respond to customer reviews when you want to put the situation into context for others:

“Hi [Customer Name], thank you for sharing your feedback, and I sincerely apologize for the experience you had with our construction company. Unfortunately, the siding purchased for your remodel was the same you chose and signed off on. It’s also why you were invited to come and inspect the product before we began installation. We do have this process in place to prevent situations like this from occurring, and we regret that you are unhappy with the final work. If you have any further concerns, we would appreciate hearing from you. Feel free to contact us at any time.

Thanks,

[Name]

[Title]

[Phone Number]

[Email Address]”

Entertainment Template

Here’s an example for how to respond to customer reviews in the entertainment industry that you can adjust for your local theater, studio, agency or other business:

“[Customer Name], thanks so much for your feedback. We value every experience at our [theater / studio / etc.] and apologize that yours didn’t live up to your expectations. We’re considering your feedback as we make changes to our [theater / studio / etc.], but we would love the opportunity to make this right for you now. Contact us by calling [Phone Number] or [Email Address] so we can compensate you for your trouble. Thanks again, and we hope you have a good day.”

Financial Services Template

Accountants and banks have also been known to run into less-than-ideal reviews from dissatisfied patrons. Here’s a sample of how to respond to customer reviews of this nature:

“Hi [Customer Name], we apologize that you had a less-than-ideal experience at our [bank / firm / etc.], and we appreciate your candid review. Your business is very important to us, and we’d like to learn more about your experience so we can improve our processes. Please contact us at your earliest convenience by calling [Phone Number] or emailing [Email Address]. Thanks again, and we hope to earn back your trust in the near-future.”

Healthcare Facility Template

Healthcare facilities like doctor’s offices and clinics face more difficulties when responding to negative reviews because of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Here is an example of how to respond to customer reviews while remaining HIPAA compliant:

“Hi [Customer Name], thank you for your feedback. Our facility takes patient care and satisfaction very seriously. Because of privacy regulations and to best protect our patients, it is protocol for us to handle situations like this offline. We would appreciate it if you contacted us at [Phone Number] at your earliest convenience so we can better understand the situation. Thank you again, and we hope you have a great day.”

Hotel Template

Hotels and motels are notorious for receiving feedback online. Here’s a sample of how to respond to reviews from former guests:

“Dear [Customer Name], thank you for your candid review of your stay at our hotel. We sincerely apologize that your experience was not up to our standards. Your feedback is highly valued and helps us make decisions regarding improvements and updates to our facilities. It is our pleasure to inform you that, as a result of your experience, we are making updates to our rooms and installing new bathtubs over the next few weeks. We would love for you to stay with us again at a discount once the updates are complete. Please contact me at [Phone Number] or [Email Address] if you decide to give us another chance to serve you. Thank you again for your honesty and the opportunity to improve our hotel!

Appreciatively,

[Name]

[Title]”

Law Firm Template

Law firms are susceptible to all kinds of negative reviews, from clients whose cases were lost, to those whose cases were refused, and so many more. People often turn to review platforms when emotions are running high, so it’s important to know how to respond to customer reviews left by unhappy clients. Some lawyers wonder if it’s ethical to respond to a negative review, and it can be, if you follow the proper guidelines.

Here’s an example you can use to craft your response:

“Dear [Customer Name], thank you for your feedback and I understand your frustration. A negative case outcome is not something anyone wants, and I would appreciate the chance to personally address you on this matter. Please contact my office at [Phone Number] so we can resolve this issue together.”

Non-Profit Template

Here’s an example of how to respond to negative reviews of a non-profit organization:

“Hi [Reviewer Name], we are so sorry to hear that you had a negative experience with our organization, and we are thankful you brought it to our attention. As a non-profit, it is always our goal to cultivate meaningful relationships with our supporters. We would appreciate it if you contacted us as [Phone Number] or [Email Address] so we can learn more about your experience and let you know how we’d like to try to resolve things. Thanks again for sharing your concern, and we look forward to hearing from you.”

Restaurant Template

Restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries and others in the food and beverage industries are especially known for relying on positive reviews of their locations. Here’s a sample of how to respond to customer reviews from dissatisfied guests:

“Hi [Customer Name], thank you for your candid review of our restaurant. We apologize that your food came out cold and we are pleased to let you know that we met with our wait staff to discuss how we can keep this from happening again in the future. We sincerely appreciate your patronage, and hope you’ll give us another chance to serve you! If you have any questions or further concerns, please give us a call at [Phone Number].”

Salon Template

Poor salon experiences can drive customers away when they’re posted about online. Here’s a sample of how to respond to customer reviews of a hair or nail salon:

“Hi [Customer Name], we are so sorry you did not enjoy your experience at our salon. Excellent customer service is a top priority for us and we regret that we did not meet that in this situation. We would love an opportunity to resolve things with you and make this right in the best way we can. Please contact us at [Phone Number] or [Email Address] so we can do that for you. Thank you for your feedback, and we hope to earn back your trust!”

Veterinary Template

Pet parents can be very protective of their furry friends, and if they think your veterinary clinic didn’t treat them well, they’re likely to head online. Here’s an example of how to respond to customer reviews left by dissatisfied pet parents:

“Hi [Customer Name], we appreciate the feedback and we are truly sorry that you did not have a great experience at our clinic. Unfortunately, because pets can’t tell us what’s wrong with them, we often have to run many tests in order to narrow down the possibilities. Sometimes this can lead to a greater expense than initially anticipated, and again, we apologize that this was not clearly communicated to you earlier in the process. We are appreciative of your business, and if you have any further concerns about [Pet’s Name], please don’t hesitate to reach out at [Phone Number] or [Email Address].”

General Business Template

If your specific industry isn’t covered in the list above, here is a general template you can use or tweak in order to respond to customer reviews:

“Hi [Customer Name], thank you for being candid regarding your experience with us. We sincerely apologize that it did not meet your expectations or our standards. As a result of your feedback, we are providing our employees with additional customer service training to prevent another experience like this from happening in the future. We know we messed up and we’d sincerely appreciate an opportunity to make this right. Please contact us at [Phone Number] or [Email Address] at your earliest convenience so we can resolve this for you. Thanks again, and we hope you have a great day.”

Handling Fake Reviews

Negative reviews from competitors, internet “trolls,” or people who did not actually have an experience at your place of business are known as fake reviews.

Fake negative reviews have hurt business’ reputations over the years, and they are not something you want to ignore or take lightly. Even though you know they’re fake, potential customers could be reading them and taking them at their word.  

Why You Should Respond to Fake Reviews

Once you’ve flagged or reported a fake review (instructions on how to do so listed below), it’s usually a good idea to post a response because it can take days or even weeks for the review to be removed.

The purpose of responding to fake reviews is not to validate them, but rather to explain to others browsing your reviews that you’ve seen and are handling the fake feedback. Remember, you want to be cordial while correcting the issue.

How to Respond to Fake Reviews [Template]

Here’s a general example of how to respond to fake reviews:

“Hi [Customer Name], it seems there might be some confusion! Are you sure you have the right business? Our [restaurant / business / etc.] has specific processes in place to prevent these kinds of things from happening, and the situation you mention isn’t something our staff is familiar with. Feel free to give us a call at [Phone Number] so we can better understand the situation and assist you!”

How to Remove a Fake Google Review

When you encounter a fake review, your priority is to try to remove it from the platform. Here’s how you can make that happen:

1. Flag the review. Login to your business’ Google account and click “Reviews” on the left-hand sidebar:

Locate the fake review, click on the three dots to the right of the review, and select “Flag Review:” 

That will take you to a form you can fill out in order to report the review.

2. Call for support. If nothing happens to it within 48 hours, head to the Google My Business Help Center and click “contact us” in the upper right-hand corner.

3. Get more positive Google reviews. The best way to discredit a fake review is by surrounding it with raving, positive ones. Here’s how to get Google reviews that will push the fake ones down and out of sight.

How to Remove a Fake Yelp Review

Yelp wants fake reviews on their site even less than you do. If you find a fake review has made its way past Yelp’s detection algorithm, here’s how to remove it:

1. Report the review. You can do this by logging in to your Yelp account (or creating one), locating the review you with to flag, clicking the three dots to the right of it, and selecting “Report Review:” 

You’ll be prompted to provide an explanation of why they should remove the review.

2. Contact for support If a few days pass and nothing happens, you can fill out this form for further assistance.

3. Get more positive Yelp reviews. You can work on discrediting fake negative reviews of your business with lots of positive reviews. Learn how to get Yelp reviews that work for, not against, your business.

How to Remove a Fake Facebook Review or Recommendation

Facebook reviews recently became Facebook recommendations, and it is quite simple to report a fake review left by a competitor, former employee, or by someone who didn’t actually have an experience at your place of business:

1. Report the review or recommendation. Login to your business’ Facebook page and locate the review or recommendation you wish to report under the “Reviews” section on the left-hand side:

Click on the exclamation point icon on the right of the review or recommendation to report it:

2. Follow further instructions. There may be a pop-up or form that appears, asking you to select or explain the reason you are reporting the post. Be as specific as possible.

Getting More Reviews

One of the best ways to drown out negative reviews is with a steady, regular stream of positive reviews, which may be easier to obtain than you think. You can get more positive reviews of your business by asking your happiest customers to leave feedback online.

How do you ask for more positive reviews?

Customers are much more likely to leave positive reviews of your business when you ask them at the right time and in the right way.

Here are some best practices to follow when asking for online reviews of your business:

  • Pre-screen your customers. You want to only ask for online reviews when your customers are satisfied with their experience. If they aren’t satisfied yet, you want that negative feedback to go privately to your business so you know what needs to be improved.
  • Follow-up with customers. You’re more likely to receive more positive reviews when you ask more than once for your customer’s feedback, either by way of an SMS text message or through emails.
  • Send request for reviews often. It’s ideal to receive a steady stream of reviews from your customers, so it’s a good idea to make a habit of requesting reviews from customers weekly – if not every day.
  • Automate the process. Your time is valuable, and there are simple methods of automatically requesting reviews from customers. If you’re wondering whether this is the right move for you, try a free trial today.

Which review platform should my business focus on?

There are more business review sites than you might realize – hundreds, in fact – and the best ones for your business might surprise you.

There are the top review platforms, of course – like Google, Yelp and Facebook – but there are also platforms for specific niches, like TripAdvisor for all-things tourism, Avvo for lawyers, and so many other business review sites you can take advantage of. We recommend having a presence on those top sites, as well as creating accounts for the sites specific to your niche.