Responding to Customer Reviews: What You need to Know

Tamia Tutson
Table of Contents
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    One of the most crucial steps in learning how to become an entrepreneur is learning how to respond to customer reviews–the good, the bad, and the ugly. Whether entrepreneur or business owner, the same rules apply; responding to online reviews can quickly increase or decrease your user base and eCommerce sales.

    In this article, we’ll discuss the types of reviews that customers leave and show you how to respond appropriately. More than this, we’ll explain the importance of a customer review and why it’s more important to respond to them regardless of the circumstances when you sell online.

    What Are Customer Reviews?

    Customer reviews are comments left for your business by customers who purchased an item or service. Overall, the purpose of a review is to provide feedback for the business showcasing areas of potential improvement, or what was done right. A customer review, often referred to as customer testimonials can impact whether or not a potential customer completes a purchase. They're a pivotal component in reducing your cart abandonment rate. More than this, depending on how you respond, a customer review provides valuable insight into your overall eCommerce customer service.

    A customer review can appear virtually anywhere. However, the most common places to find them include:

    • Social Media
    • Review Sites: Indeed, Glassdoor
    • Your business website
    • Popular eCommerce Search engines: Yahoo, Bing, Google (Google My Business/Google Reviews)

    Why You Should Be Responding to Customer Reviews

    First and foremost, the most crucial aspect of running a business is ensuring your customers are satisfied. Whether it’s a negative or positive review, responding to them shows your customer that you care about their shopping experience. Therefore, listening to your customers’ concerns is one way to seek out areas of improvement for your business.

    More than this, responding to customer feedback can help you create a brand voice when you’re just getting started. But, if that wasn’t enough for you, here are some added benefits of responding to reviews:

    • Customer Retention: By responding to a customer's review, you can easily change a negative experience into a positive one. While they may have had a negative experience, you can encourage them to give your business another try by responding with concern and ensuring them that your business can and will do better.
    • Increases Ratings: It’s a proven fact that local businesses will get higher ratings by simply responding to their customer’s reviews. Often, when users stumble across your business, they’ll look to reviews to help them make a final decision. A business with no reviews at all or reviews with no response from the company can turn customers the other way. Positive responses show customers that your business has potential.
    • eCommerce Keyword Research: A nifty way to boost your eCommerce SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is to use keywords in your responses. Of course, do this where they fit best; otherwise, your response can be disingenuous.
    • Feedback Loop: Most of your customers understand that you’re not perfect. However, it’s up to you to take negative reviews and improve your company based on them. Responding to a negative review will show your customers that you care about them and are committed to improving their experiences. Take the time to understand your customers’ frustration and use that feedback to improve your business.

    Business Review Examples

    Business reviews won't always be positive; on the other hand, they won’t always be negative either. Knowingly, you should be able to craft the appropriate response to either, regardless of how often a positive or negative review appears for your business.

    Use the following steps to respond to a positive customer review:

    Responding to Positive Customer Reviews

    1. Always start your comment with a “thank you.” This shows that you understand the time it took for the customer to write the review, more than this, it shows your gratitude for their business. Remember to include specific details about the product or service they used, and reference the employees they referenced in their comment too. For example, “Thank you so much Diana for leaving us such a wonderful review. We agree that our receptionist, Annie, is friendly and helpful.”
    2. Every response to a review is public. Therefore, it’s a good place to add marketing strategies. You can use positive reviews to market a new product or service you offer that you feel the customer might like based on their review. It can go something like this, “If you enjoyed our first-time customer discount, try out our membership! This way, you can receive discounts based on your purchases each and every time!
    3. To finish up your comment, try including an action step. Action steps encourage customers to try another product or service you offer. You’ll want to let them know you’re excited to hear from them again–this shows that you value their business.
    4. Finally, share your good reviews on your social media platforms. This strategy can increase your sales, conversions, and leads. It’s also an excellent way to include SEO tactics.

    Positive Review Template

    Here is a template you can use when responding to a positive customer review:

    Dear [name of customer],

    Thank you so much for leaving us such a wonderful review! It means a lot to us that you had a positive experience with our business. Customer satisfaction is extremely important to our team, and your review lets us know we’re doing things right. Again, thank you for taking a few moments from your day to leave a kind message,we look forward to seeing/hearing from you again.

    Thank you,

    [Your name]

    [Your role at the company]

    Responding to Negative Customer Reviews

    Unfortunately, not all of your reviews will be positive. Customers may be moved to leave a negative review for many reasons. Regardless of the reason, a negative review can be a learning curve for your company and provides you with an opportunity to improve your eCommerce growth. By responding to negative reviews with kindness and professionalism, you can actually improve customer retention and improve customer relationships. Here are six steps you can follow when responding to negative reviews:

    1. Your response to a negative review should be even more professional than your response to a positive review. You should always start by addressing the customer by their name (if they provide it). Using their name is a great way to individualize the response and show them that you care about their experience.
    2. Next, thank the customer for leaving feedback. Tell them that all feedback is appreciated as it provides your company with the opportunity to grow and learn from mistakes.
    3. The most important step is this one: apologize for their negative experience. Make sure that your business is the one to take the blame in the apology. Do not try to turn things around on the customer, and explain that your company holds itself to high standards. Don’t ramble in the apology, keep it short and sweet. For instance: “We have set high standards for our company and apologize that your experience failed to meet those expectations.
    4. Try to provide a resolution for the issue that was mentioned. Be sure to include any steps you have taken or will take to ensure their experience is not repeated.
    5. Depending on your business, you can provide additional contact information. This way, your customer has a way to contact you directly with further questions regarding their experience. Provide an email address and phone number in the response.
    6. Finally, ask the customer for a second chance to earn their trust and business. Provide an invitation for them to visit your company once more, this time with a better experience. This will affirm the confidence you have in your business to provide an exceptional customer experience.

    Negative Review Template

    Here is an example of a template to use when responding to a negative customer review:

    Dear [name of the reviewer],

    “Thank you for providing us with feedback. We apologize that your experience failed to meet your expectations. As a whole, our company strives to provide our customers with the best experience possible. Please know that your experience is not normal, and we have taken steps to ensure that no other customers have the same issue.

    Feel free to reach out to [insert relevant contact information] with any additional questions, comments, or concerns. We would love the chance to make things right with you and hope you choose to give us a second chance.”


    [Your name]

    [Your role at the company]

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    Why Are Reviews Important

    Starting an eCommerce business is not easy, regardless of the type of online business you run. However, we hope this article helps you navigate the stress of a customer review. Understanding how to respond to reviews is one of many valuable eCommerce skills that can be learned over time. If you’d like to learn more ways to improve your business, we recommend you research the best eCommerce tools, and learn how the entrepreneurial mindset can help you flourish.

    Frequently Asked Questions About Customer Reviews

    What Is the Purpose of Customer Reviews?

    Customer reviews help companies identify potential improvement areas or acknowledge what they’re doing well. More than this, they provide much-needed insight into what customers want in a business.

    Are Customer Reviews Reliable?

    Yes, overall, reviews from customers are reliable sources of information. Studies have shown that at least 91% of an authentic customer review addresses genuine concern or praise.

    Do Customer Reviews Matter?

    Yes, products and services are 200% more likely to sell when a review is associated. On average, consumers will trust a product with reviews over a product without.

    Should You Respond to Customer Reviews?

    The answer is: it depends.

    If you receive a negative review, it might be worth reaching out to the customer to try and resolve the issue. Acknowledging their pain points and showing that you're open to further discussion can go a long way in diffusing the situation.

    On the other hand, if you receive a positive review, simply thanking the reviewer is usually sufficient. You could also offer them a discount or other incentive to encourage them to continue doing business with you.

    What Do You Say When a Customer Leaves a Good Review?

    When a customer leaves a glowing review, it can be tempting to simply say "thank you." But there's more you can do to show your appreciation - and ensure that they keep coming back.

    Here are some tips on how to respond to positive reviews:

    1. Thank them for their kind words.
    2. Ask them to come back again soon.
    3. Offer a discount or coupon for their next visit.
    4. Share their reviews on your social media channels.
    5. Send an email or a personal note. 

    By following these tips, you can turn a one-time customer into a lifelong fan - and that's something worth thanking them for!

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