A good response to a bad review can be just as powerful as a positive review. Check out these tips on how to effectively manage poor online reviews.
How to Respond to Google Reviews (with Examples)
Ah, Google reviews. Can’t win (new customers) with them, can’t win (new customers) without them.
Well actually, you can. And the key to this is in responding to them.
That's why in this post, I'm going to walk through why it’s important to respond to reviews, share my tried-and-true tips for responding to Google reviews (both positive and negative!), and provide examples to model after.
Table of contents
- Why are Google reviews important?
- Why you need to respond to Google reviews
- How to respond to negative Google reviews
- Examples of responses to negative Google reviews
- How to respond to negative Google reviews
- Examples of responses to positive Google reviews
- How to publish your review response on Google
Why are Google reviews important?
First and foremost, asking customers for reviews should be a top priority. Why? Because nearly 90% of people trust online reviews. Plus, one study found that when searching for a home services provider, 70% of homeowners rely on a recommendation from someone they know or from at least one review site.
Why you need to respond to Google reviews
So it's important to get Google reviews, but you might be wondering why it’s really necessary to respond to Google reviews. You’re busy, why add more to your plate?
Let me explain…
Here are some reasons responding to Google reviews (both negative and positive) is worth your time.
Retain current customers
It costs 5-7 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one. So you want to do all you can to address customer concerns, provide a solution, and hopefully earn their repeat business.
If you’re not responding to negative reviews on Google, you’re probably losing some opportunities to retain your customers.
In fact, 67% of people who leave reviews say they will return to a business if their review gets a speedy response. But over 60% of people who leave reviews say they’ve never received a response. That leaves a lot of room for opportunity for your home services business!
Attract new customers
Prospective customers are reading reviews for your business. If all they see are negative reviews with no responses, they’re not getting the prettiest picture.
How you respond to negative reviews can also help you win over new customers. If they see from your response that you’re truly making an effort to rectify a mistake or that you’re willing to work with an unhappy customer, they may be more willing to work with you.
This can also go the other way. If your review response is a little defensive, unprofessional, or overall just not great, it can turn people away from your business, even if you have mostly positive reviews.
According to BrightLocal's Local Consumer Review Study, consumers are most likely to use businesses that respond to all reviews (not just positive or negative.
Show you care
Responding to negative and positive Google reviews shows both current and prospective customers that you’re paying attention and you care about their feedback.
Almost all (97%!) people reading reviews will also take the time to read your responses.
Customers expect it
53% of customers expect you to respond to reviews (within one week!). So give the people what they want!
How to respond to negative reviews on Google (with examples)
No one wants to get a negative review. And it can feel especially personal for home services businesses. You pride yourself on your work, your teams, and what you deliver. So hearing negative feedback doesn’t feel great. But in a few simple steps, you can craft a review response that will have unhappy customers feeling positive.
These are the steps I used when responding to negative reviews for up to 120 small businesses over three years (many of them home services businesses), so I’m confident they can help you master the process!
Don’t respond immediately
This may seem counterintuitive to other advice you’ve read. And, yes, it is important to respond quickly (see stat above!). But not immediately.
And here’s why:
When you see a dreaded negative review on Google, you’re probably going to feel a little defensive. You might want to fast-and-furiously type up a response telling the reviewer to can it (or something more colorful) or explain all the reasons they’re wrong.
This is where we need to take a minute to digest what we’ve read and begin formulating a courteous and professional response. Let’s talk about those steps now.
Identify the theme of the review
Whether the negative review is short or long, read through it a few times. Is there anything that stands out to you? Are there any themes you can identify?
Some common “themes” in Google reviews for home services might be:
- Customer service / onsite teams
- Finished work
Getting to the root of why the reviewer is upset can help you create the best response. It shows that you’re paying attention, you understand the issue, and can give you some ideas for resolution.
Write your review response
When writing your review response, here are some things to include:
- Their name. Make it personal! (If their name is included in their review.)
- An apology. This could be an “I’m sorry you felt this way,” or an “I’m sorry to hear this.” Any acknowledgement of the reviewer’s feelings can go a long way.
- Some details from their review. Try to include a few key pieces of information from their review to show that you tailored your response to them. Almost worse than no response is one that’s clearly copied and pasted across every review.
- A potential solution. You don’t have to outline the exact solution in your response (and you probably shouldn’t), but you should let the reviewer know what action you’re taking to address their complaint.
- A way to connect offline. Google doesn’t allow back and forth with reviews, so your review response should really be the starting point for your resolution process. If you know who the customer is, let them know you’ll be in contact (and provide an ETA). If you’re not sure who the customer is, provide contact information and ask them to reach out so you can resolve their issue directly.
Here’s a real-life example of a review response that includes pretty much everything I outlined in my guidelines:
Proofread your response
Yes, for spelling and grammar. But also do a tone check. Does your response seem measured? Professional? Like someone others would want to grab a beer work with?
Feel free to make tweaks if you feel like it still needs a little work.
Post your response
Once you feel like your review response is in a good place, it’s time to publish it! We’ll walk through those steps a little later.
This is key. You can’t just talk the talk, you have to walk the walk. Meaning, you need to follow up after your review response to address the customer complaint.
Follow up promptly, be professional, and keep it cordial.
This part of the process can help you not only retain a customer but also influence them to change their review or provide an update!
Negative review response examples
Want some examples? I’ve got you!
- Hi, Stacy. I’m so sorry to hear you were unhappy with the sod installation in your front yard. Our goal at Happy Sod is complete customer satisfaction, so we’d like to make this right for you. I’ll give you a call and an email this week so we can figure out a time to have our team come back out. Please feel free to reach out to me directly as well at [email address.
- Hi there, Danny. I’m so disappointed to hear you had a less than stellar experience with our team last week. I would love to speak with you to get more information so I can make sure this doesn’t happen again and to see what we can do to help you. Please give me a call or email me at your convenience at 555-123 or [email address].
- Hi Jamie, we are sorry to hear you didn't have the best experience several weeks ago. Based on your feedback it sounds like you may have spoken to our after-hours answering service. We have taken action to ensure we wont miss any messages from them in the future. We hope that you will give us another chance to assist you should the need arise! If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to email us at [email] Thank you!
- Marielle, thank you for sharing your feedback, and we sincerely apologize for any confusion or inconvenience you experienced during the process. We understand that there was a miscommunication regarding the service technician, and we're sorry for any disappointment this may have caused. Your satisfaction is our priority, and we're committed to addressing any issues promptly.
Regarding the water heater installation, we're sorry to hear that there were discrepancies between your expectations and the actual work done. We take your concerns seriously and are investigating this further to ensure our team's adherence to specifications. Additionally, we apologize for any disruption in your garage. We're reviewing the details of the job to identify any areas that may have inadvertently been affected. We appreciate your understanding of the circumstances and value your feedback as it helps us improve our services. Please know that your experience does not reflect the quality we strive to deliver.
If there's anything more you'd like to share or discuss, please don't hesitate to reach out. We're here to assist you and address any remaining concerns. Once again, we apologize for any inconveniences and thank you for choosing us. We hope to have the opportunity to serve you again and provide a more positive experience.
How to respond to positive Google reviews
This is a much easier process because getting positive reviews is fun! Here are some tips and steps to keep in mind.
Customers are 21% more likely to leave a review after a negative experience than after a positive one, so take a moment to thank your customer for leaving their positive feedback! And for being a customer. A small word of gratitude can go a long way.
Make it personal
It’s fine to respond to positive Google reviews with a simple “Thank you!” But it’s nice to make it a little more personal to the reviewer. They took the time to leave you positive feedback, so take a minute to thank them personally!
Use it as an opportunity
You can also use positive reviews as an opportunity to further highlight positive aspects of your business.
For example, if someone leaves a review that says something like “I had such a great experience with Carl. He answered all my questions, arrived promptly, and cleaned up thoroughly after unclogging my kitchen sink. Excellent service!” You could respond with something like “Sam, thank you for the feedback! At Sink Uncloggers we’re all about making things quick and clean, so we’re so happy you were pleased with Carl’s service!”
You don’t want to get too over the top or salesy, but if they set you up a little bit, you can take your shot.
Examples of positive review responses
Here are some real examples of responses to positive Google reviews that you can model after:
- Thank you for the review, Barbara. Let us know if you need anything in the future, we are always here for you!
- Thanks very much for the review and kind words. We hope you love the look of the new roof as much as we do!
- Ed, We really appreciate your confidence in us and kinds words. We really enjoyed working on your beautiful home! It looks amazing with the new roof!
- Hi Keith, We appreciate your review and are so happy everything went smoothly. Please don't hesitate to ever reach out if you need anything.
- Thank you so much for this review. We really appreciate you being a customer and helping to share the word about us. We're here for you anytime.
- Jack, it was a real pleasure working with you. You have a beautiful home and we are glad we were able to resolve your issues. Thanks for the kind words.
How to publish your review response on Google
Now that you have your negative and positive review responses ready to go, how do you get them live? Follow these steps to post your response to Google reviews.
- Navigate to your Google Business Profile dashboard. This is easily found by searching for your business when logged in to the Google account associated with your Google Business Profile. You can also go directly to business.google.com.
2. Click on “Read reviews.” This will pull up all the reviews for your business.
3. Click “Reply” under the review you want to respond to.
4. Paste in your response
5. Click “Reply”
Voila! Your review response is submitted and will be displayed shortly.
Respond to Google reviews like a pro
There you have it: A step-by-step guide for how to respond to Google reviews–the good and the bad. By following these steps, you can become an expert in addressing customer complaints on Google as well as positive comments. Remember to respond to Google reviews quickly, address complaints offline, and deliver the best customer service possible to keep getting those positive reviews!