How To Respond To Reviews – Negative, Positive, False, Blank

Responding to online reviews can feel trivial. With a business to run, store to manage, or employees to hire, it just doesn’t make it to the top of the priority list. 

But, tracking reviews, responding, and asking for new reviews are key elements to keeping your business strong and thriving.


We’ve looked through the online review data to find reviews are a strong indicator of buying potential across all age groups. 

To help you get the best reviews possible, we have tips and examples of how to respond to reviews, how to ask for reviews, and how to monitor your reviews in a time-sensitive manner.

Online Review Data*

Do I Really Need To Worry About Online Reviews?

  • 91% of 18-34-year-old consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
  • 86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses.

Do I Really Need To Respond To All Of Those Reviews?

  • 89% of consumers read businesses’ responses to reviews.
  • Nearly all (96%) of 18-34-year-olds read review responses.

Do I Really Need To Worry About My Average Review Rating?

  • 57% of consumers won’t use a business that has fewer than 4 stars.
  • 11% want a perfect 5 stars.

Do I Really Need That Many, Or That Often Of Reviews?

  • Consumers require an average of 40 online reviews before believing a business’s star rating is accurate.
  • 85% of consumers think that online reviews older than 3 months aren’t relevant.

*Survey Data from BrightLocal 2018 Local Consumer Review Survey

How To Respond To Negative Reviews

Use Their Name

Everyone has an online identity these days. Whether they left the review for you on Google, Facebook, Yelp, Indeed, or elsewhere, chances are they’ve taken the time to add their name and maybe other personally identifiable information.

Use that to your advantage! Call them by their name. Psychologically, using someone’s name helps calm them, rather than saying “Dear customer,” or “Hello,”.

Get them in the right mindset, right away so the issue doesn’t escalate further.

Thank Them

They took the time to leave a review, even if it’s negative. That means they’re engaged! They think you can do better. Thank them for leaving the review, and for holding you or your employees to a higher standard.

It makes you look good, makes them feel good, and gets everyone on the same page.

Sympathize

Let them know you understand that having a bad experience is not ideal and that you also prefer to get what you pay for. Let them know you’re on their side, without apologizing.

Take Responsibility

If you can determine the authenticity of their complaint, take full responsibility as the business owner. The buck stops with you.

If you can’t determine the authenticity of the complaint, let them know you’re looking into it and will update your response once you’ve verified their claim.

Take It Offline

Encourage them to contact you directly via phone or email to hash out any other complaints. Try to get them offline so they don’t do any more damage.

Negative Review Response Examples You Can Copy & Paste

“John,

I’m so disappointed to hear you weren’t satisfied with your last oil change experience at Cohlab Tire & Auto. Thank you for taking the time to leave us a review so we can work on any issues we have. We hold ourselves to a high standard here, so it’s important to get feedback and keep improving.

I know it’s not ideal to have your vehicle begin overheating shortly after an oil change was completed. I would never want that to happen to my vehicle, my family’s vehicles, and definitely not for a client either.

I checked with the technician who worked on your vehicle, Sam, and he walked me through the procedures he took with your oil change. I cannot find fault with his work based on his account, but I know there are always two sides to a story, and inspecting your vehicle can also help us ascertain what happened here.

Could you call me directly to schedule a time to bring your vehicle in? I’d like to inspect it myself to figure out why this is happening. Please call my work cell phone at (320) 555-5555. I look forward to chatting with you soon.

– Jeff Cohlab”

How To Respond To Positive Reviews

Use Their Name

Everyone has an online identity these days. Whether they left the review for you on Google, Facebook, Yelp, Indeed, or elsewhere, chances are they’ve taken the time to add their name and maybe other personally identifiable information.

Use that to your advantage! Call them by their name. Psychologically, using someone’s name helps get them in a receptive mindset, rather than saying “Dear customer,” or “Hello,”.

Thank Them

They took the time to leave a review. That means they’re engaged! They may even recommend you to more clients! Thank them for leaving the review, and letting the world know how much they enjoyed the experience.

It makes you look good, makes them feel good, and gets everyone on the same page.

Encourage Other Reviews

Ask them to pass along their reviews to others or share them on social media. Also encourage them to ask others in their party, or friends of theirs who are clients, to leave a review as well. Explain how much a good review helps your business and how grateful you are.

Positive Review Response Examples You Can Copy & Paste

“Janet,

Thank you so much for leaving us a 5-star review! At Cohlab Tire & Auto, it means the world to us when we can make our clients happy and make driving safe and easy. If you’re able, we’d love it if you’d share our review with your friends and family online, and encourage them to leave a review if they have used our services.

Good reviews like yours are a huge help to us in expanding our client base and keeping us in business. Thank you again!

– Jeff Cohlab”

How To Respond To False Reviews

Provide Proof If Possible

How do you know it’s a fake review? Do they mention visiting at a specific time, and you have camera footage to refute that claim? Do you they mention purchasing a certain service, when really they purchased a different service?

However, you can refute their claim, do so calmly and provide the data publicly so that there is no wiggle room left for doubt in other future clients’ minds. You must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they are fake.

False Review Response Examples You Can Copy & Paste

“John, or whatever your real name is,

You mention you visited our store on Aug. 16 and had a tire rotation done, and then promptly had a tire fly off while driving down the freeway.

It should be known that we were closed on Aug. 16 due to a funeral. Our entire staff attended this funeral, and I’ve attached a photo of the funeral card.

If you’re an actual decent person inside, please delete your false review. I’ll be reporting it to this website as a false review.

– Jeff Cohlab”

How To Respond To Blank Reviews

Thank Them

Since there’s no name, thank them plainly and simply.

Encourage Them To Edit Their Review

Invite them to leave more details about their visit to help others understand your business better, and understand why they left their star rating.

Blank Review Response Examples You Can Copy & Paste

“Hi there,

Thank you for the 3-star review! I am curious to learn more about your experience so we can serve you better. Would you be interested in returning to edit your review and leave us more information? I’ll keep an eye out for your edit. Thank you!

– Jeff Cohlab”

Cohlab.Reviews Management Service

Generate New Positive Reviews

We make it as easy as possible for your clients to leave you a review. When they choose a star on your landing page, they’ll be given a choice of where to leave a review, and can choose their preferred online location where you have a presence – i.e. Facebook, Google, Yelp, Indeed, Glassdoor, etc.

Get A Custom Landing Page

Give your customers a direct link to this landing page, or share it on social media. Your logo will sit on top, and they can select a site to leave reviews. If a negative choice is made, the user is encouraged to send you an email first to resolve things privately.

Send Out Automated Email / SMS Invites

Send an email or SMS to your clients, encouraging them to leave you feedback. This can be done individually, or by mass invite. Link them directly to your custom landing page, and watch reviews pour in.

Show Off Your Reviews From Around The Web

Show potential clients you’ve knocked the socks off of many before them using social proof from around the web. We can bring reviews in from nearly any review site on the internet and get them all on a specific review page, or as a rotator on your home page.

View of User Dashboard for review analysis with Cohlab.Reviews.

Analyze Your Performance

Once a month, login into the Cohlab.Reviews system and see how you’re performing – or have it automatically emailed to you. Are you seeing a spike in bad reviews at a particular location? Now you can address the trend! You can’t change what you aren’t measuring.

Track Multiple Locations

Do you have multiple branches or locations? We can build the main landing page along with one for every location individually, and track all of their reviews individually or as a group. We make it simple and straightforward.