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The Do’s and Don’ts of Google Review Responses

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The Do’s and Don’ts
of Google Review Responses

google reviews

These days, everyone’s a critic. Literally. Nothing can escape the five star rating system. From your favorite bath bomb on Amazon to your favorite muffler shop down the street, reviews are a necessary part of doing business in the 21st century. And Google Reviews are the most widely used reviewing platform on the internet with 59% of consumers using them. Needless to say, that’s a lot of people. But simply having Google Reviews enabled for your business does not ensure that they’ll be helpful. They’re an amazing tool for interacting with your customers, but you have to know how to use them. 

For instance, what do you do if your business receives a negative review? Do you pack up shop and call it quits? Do you start an all out flame war with a stranger online? The answer to both questions is “probably not.” Additionally, how do we reward consumers for leaving good reviews? And what’s the best way to improve with an unsatisfactory customer experience? These answers are essential to running a business online. So, join us as we delve deep into the weeds on Google Reviews Dos and Don’ts!

What are Google Reviews?

According to Message Desk, a Google Review is “a voluntary, unpaid, online review that customers write about places they’ve visited.” So, Google reviews are married to Google Search, Google Maps, and your Google Business listing. These Google Reviews make it so much easier for people to leave feedback and for you to connect with your customers. It also allows users to upload pictures and wax poetic about their favorite aspects of your business. 

These reviews are public for all to see. And, if you have a Google Merchant account, Google actually does a lot of the work for you by helping collect customer feedback. Google will send an email asking your customers if they want to provide feedback based on their interaction with your business. This comes in the form of a short survey. Then, Google uses the info from that survey to determine a seller rating. The Google Reviews and ratings, of course, can be displayed on your website and other marketing platforms.

google reviews

Why Google Reviews?

It’s not a question as to whether it’s worth it to enable Google Reviews for your business. It is worth it. Trust us. 89% of consumers say they read reviews before purchasing a product. It just makes too much sense. The benefit of knowledge to make an informed decision is enormous. And as these reviews become more ubiquitous, not being able to leave a review seems out of place. A few stats about online reviews illustrate why consumers trust them so much: 

  • 79% of consumers say that they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. So, why not let the masses do your advertising for you? They’re going to be seeing your business on Google anyway, might as well let them say nice things about you!
  • 59% of consumers use Google Reviews. FIFTY NINE PERCENT of all users. That’s a lot of people. As we’ve discussed in previous blogs, Google is a massive company that has basically cornered all aspects of the internet. It’s ubiquitous, so it makes sense that their reviewing platform is massive as well.
  • As many as 82% of consumers say they consult Google Reviews to find out more about local stores. So, even if you’re a very small, business, Google Reviews are a great way to drum up support.
  • 47% of all internet users worldwide say they leave reviews.
  • Businesses that use reviews are 3.5 times more likely to convert leads than those that don’t.

So, obviously review culture is here to stay. So, it’s important that businesses be on top of responding to these reviews. Surprisingly, it is just as important to respond to positive reviews as it is to respond to negative ones.

Why Respond To Positive Google Reviews?

Obviously, a good review should be the norm. Positivity should always be the status quo. Because of this, it can be easy to ignore positive Google reviews. However, much like a well behaved middle child, you need to give just as much attention to them as you do the problem reviews. Just because a review is good, doesn’t mean it should go ignored! 

If people see you respond and even reward good reviews, it can encourage more positive Google Reviews and boost traffic! Additionally, 53.3% of customers expect a business to respond to their Google Reviews. So, not only is it a nice thing to do, but most people expect a certain amount of brand engagement these days. And in case you’re wondering who will even be reading these, just know that 97% of shoppers who read reviews also read the business’s response. So it’s imperative to respond to these!

google reviews

How To Respond To Positive Google Reviews

Okay, so we know that we should respond to positive reviews, but how do we do this? Luckily there are some agreed upon best practices to keep in mind when addressing positive reviews.

1. Respond quickly – Time is of the essence. As with all things, customers love promptness. And it shows to the world that you’re invested in customer feedback. And if you respond quickly enough, you may be able to start a live dialogue. That’s a great tool to get more info about what specific features the customer liked. You can also so if there were any minor points of friction that they experienced and use that knowledge to further improve your business!

2. Make it personal – A little personal touch never hurt anybody, so make sure to use the reviewers names in your response. Don’t just call them “partner” or “sport” or “champ,” like a CEO who is unsure of their employees’ names. Often, people assume no one is monitoring these pages, so if someone sees their own name in the response, it may spark them into a dialogue. Of course, if the only name they have is “partymonster1995,” some things are best left unsaid.

3. Express your gratitude – The squeaky wheel should not be the only one getting grease. Grease should run free for all wheels! In your response, make sure to let the customer know how much you value their opinion. A little kindness (and grease) goes a long way.

4. Provide additional value – Hey, being nice is nice. But if you really want to show your gratitude, give them something! What is going to set your company apart from the rest? If someone loves your brand and raves about you online, why not reward them with a coupon code? Or give them a sneak peek at upcoming features. The methods of providing additional value, but just ensure that the positive customer gets something for leaving positive Google Reviews. This may ensure others do the same!

5. Encourage customers to advocate for you – Okay, so you know they’re on your team. Now you have an opportunity to turn your happy customer into a loyal customer. So when you respond to their review, maybe ask them if they would want to share their Google Reviews with others. Or ask if you can share their review on your company’s social media. Not only is this a nice thing to do, it’s also a great marketing tool to get eyes on your page. 

6. End things even more positively than they began – Ensure that you’re leaving this interaction even better than you found it. Use a friendly sign off! And sign your real name to reassure them that they’ve talking to an actual person, not a very complimentary robot. Above all, use a positive tone and drive home how much you appreciate their review. They took the time to post a review of your business, the least you can do is give them the same energy back.

7. Use their feedback – Whether the review is good or bad, each one is a learning opportunity for your business. In this regard, once again, the things you learn from a positive review are just as important as the things you learn from a negative review. Positive Google Reviews tell you what you’re doing right as an organization and what you need to keep doing to retain customers. Using the info you gain from positive and negative reviews can ensure you improve flaws in your customer experience without compromising features that your customers enjoy.

Positive Google Review Response Example

Okay, great! But what exactly does this look like? Let’s say you run, oh I don’t know, an award winning digital marketing agency. One of your customers, Mathilda, has left you a review that raves about your work ethic and quality of your results. To thank Mathilda, all you need to do is run down the above list to craft a response that leaves her feeling appreciated. Below is an example of a good response to a positive Google Review, followed by a bad response to a positive google review.


Hey, Mathilda!

Thank you so much for your wonderful feedback and for taking the time to post this review.

We love our customers and are constantly innovating to make their experience better. We’re happy that you’re happy with the website we designed for you 🙂

I would love to make your experience even better! Is there anything you would recommend us improving?

Thanks for your review, 

John Doe, Owner.



Sup Mathilda,

Tell us something we don’t know. We rule.




Okay, do you spot the difference there? The first one used all the elements of Google Reviews etiquette; making it personal, expressing gratitude, providing value, encouraging advocacy, and ending on a positive note. The second one had the bad attitude of a villain from a 1980s teen comedy.

Why Respond To Negative Google Reviews

Now that we’ve gotten the good out of the way, let’s move on to the more difficult task. How do you calm an upset customer? And why respond in the first place? Wouldn’t it be easier to either ignore the negative feedback or delete the comment entirely? Well, that may not be the best practice. In fact, 62% of consumers say that they will not buy from brands that censor reviews. But rather than seeing negative Google Reviews as an attack on your company, you should look at it as an opportunity to learn. 

Responding to these reviews can also show other customers that you are dedicated to making their experience as amazing as possible. In fact, research shows that customers are 1.7 times as likely to visit your business if your company responds to negative reviews. And just like positive Google Reviews, negative ones have some agreed up best practices that will help you avoid an all out internet flame war.

google reviews

How To Respond To Negative Google Reviews

1. Internally assess the feedback – Rather than immediately lashing out at a negative reviewer, take a moment to internally evaluate the message. Once again 73% of customers look at reviews from the last month. If there’s a negative response from the company, it’s a bad look. So, take some time (not too much) and craft a logical response. Do not, I repeat, do not insult their mother out of anger.

2. Publicly respond to the review first – No reason to hide the conversation. Once again, this is an opportunity to prove that you truly care about the customer experience and are willing to do a lot to improve it. Customers notice this and are more likely to use your business if they see you’re attentive on Google Reviews.

3. Work towards a one on one convo – All that being said, Google Reviews is not the best platform for in-depth, nuanced conversation. It doesn’t happen in real time and it has the potential for other reviewers to butt in while you’re trying to make progress. So after the initial public response, if it seems like it will take some time to reconcile, attempt to move to a more private space like email, live chat or phone. This isn’t necessarily trying to hide the conversation, but you need to ensure that your customer’s needs are met and you can’t always do that in a public forum. You used the tool of Google Reviews to highlight a deficiency and now you can rely on your own customer service to reconcile it.

4. Be transparent about mistakes – We are none of us perfect. Mistakes happen, but it’s how we respond to these mistakes that show a company’s character. Research shows that over 90% of Americans say that brand transparency plays a factor when making purchasing decisions. People can understand mistakes. What they can’t reconcile is a business not owning up to those mistakes and not attempting to make up for it. Doing so shows your dedication to the customer and invites brand loyalty.

5. Ask questions – We’re not dealing with professional writers here. Some reviews may be vague or missing large swaths of pertinent info. Sometimes you get a one star review with only a single, negative word. What does that mean? There’s no harm in asking. In fact, it’s imperative if you want to be able to fix the problem.

6. Empathize and offer solutions – Your words have to have action and intent behind them. Empathy is of course extremely important, but you also have to begin to rectify the situation. Afterall, usually these people are specifically looking for a solution to the situation.

7. Incentivise when necessary – Let’s say an angry customer was merely looking to scream into the void. They had a bad experience, blew off steam on Google Reviews and went along their merry way. Well, it is possible to reclaim them as a loyal customer. This is where you can offer something, a discount for example to rectify the situation. Obviously use your judgement as to whether this is worth it. If it’s a one time customer who is unlikely to ever use your business again, it might not be financially viable to offer them a bunch of free stuff. But when necessary, an incentive can reengage an upset consumer.

8. Sign your name at the end of your response – Just like with positive Google Reviews, people want to know they are talking to a real person. Believe it or not, when customers know there’s a living breathing human being on the other side of the computer (with feelings that can be hurt), they are a lot nicer and more willing to compromise. This also lets them know that your company is invested in their review and valuing their support.

9. Request an updated review – Peoples’ opinions change all the time. The entire point of responding to these negative Google Reviews is to change perceptions. The review afterall, is only the beginning of a larger conversation. So, after your initial response, and after your one on one convo, if you feel the customer’s issue has been satisfied, feel free to ask if they’d be willing to update their review. That review is public and prospective consumers may not read the whole thread to see if reviewer had their needs met. So, updating the original review is the best way to ensure future generations of customers see what a great job you do!

Negative Google Review Response Example

Okay, let’s say that you run a taco shop. Someone named Jim had a negative experience one day and decided to flame you on Google Reviews. Below are good and bad responses to the negative review.


Dear Jim,

Thank you so much for taking the time to write this review. I appreciate your feedback, and I’m sorry to hear you had a bad experience at Taco Palace last week.

Let me assure you that everyone at Taco Palace takes customer reviews to heart, and hearing that your Fiesta Platter was subpar upset all of us. I’ve shared your review with the team. If you ever would like to come back and enjoy dinner (on us), we would love to apologize in person. If you’re interested in coming in again, please contact me at jdoe@restaurant.com to set it up.

I appreciate your time and hope to see you again soon!


John Doe, Owner.




Dear idiot,

I’m surprised you were able to even get our delicious tacos in your mouth, seeing as how your jaws are constantly flapping about stuff you don’t know. We’d love to invite you back to our restaurant so that we may engage you in a physical altercation. Try us.


Your Mom

Okay. What went wrong with that second one? I’m sure while it must have felt good to annihilate Jim, he’s unlikely to frequent Taco Palace again. So make sure to stick to our Negative Google Reviews best practices to avoid having it out with Jim.

Tatiana in Office Gets it Done


As you can see, Google Reviews are a powerful tool. But you need to know how to use that tool to get the most out of these reviews. They’re an opportunity to not only learn what customers think of your business, but also to display your customer service prowess for the world to see.

If you need help setting up Google Reviews, or want to learn more about employing these tactics, chat with the folks at KARMA jack today!

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