How to Respond to Online Reviews

Every local business owner is faced with the same question when it comes to their online reputation: what’s the best way to manage my online reviews? For some the answer is to be hands off and focus on other things, but neglecting your online presence can be a negative sign to potential customers, and it’s best to be proactive when it comes to online reviews. With that in mind, let’s dive in to how to respond to online reviews to help drive in more customers.


Key Points

  • Which Review Sites to Monitor

  • Responding to Negative Reviews

  • Responding to Positive Reviews


Which Review Sites to Monitor

Most business owners these days have heard of Yelp, whether they love it or hate it, but Yelp is no longer the only online review source that people are looking at. Facebook Reviews and Google Reviews have been dramatically increasing in popularity and usage in the past couple of years and monitoring all three of these sites is important if you want to truly stay on top of your online reputation. If you’re only paying attention to Yelp you may be missing out on tons of reviews on Facebook and Google, so make sure to keep up with all three of these main sources of online reviews.


Responding to Negative Reviews

One of the most pressing concerns for most local business owners when it comes to their online reputation is negative reviews. No matter how closely you focus on customer service or how beloved your business is in the community, there’s always bound to be someone out there who will write a negative review.


Here’s our advice for responding to negative reviews:

  • Respond quickly: It reflects well on you and your business if you can respond to any negative reviews within a day or two of when they are posted in order to show that you are a responsive business owner.

  • Remain positive: As much as you might want to fight fire with fire, it’s best to remain respectful and focus on a positive outcome. If someone had an issue with a particular staff member or food item, hear them out and try to understand how you can provide a better experience next time.

  • Ask for a second chance: Often when someone has a bad experience, it’s a matter of an odd circumstance that is unlikely to happen a second time. If you can entice the to come back in with a special offer or an improved experience you can turn a negative review into a positive one.


Follow these steps and even if you can’t change every negative reviewer’s mind, you can at least publicly display that you are making an effort and that you are an engaged business owner. This goes along way to earn trust and build a relationship with your community.


Responding to Positive Reviews

Some people only focus on responding to the negative reviews that they receive, but there is also value in responding to positive reviews as well. A positive review represents a good opportunity for you to engage with someone who is already a supporter of yours, and this can be beneficial for a few different reasons.


For one, you might make that person even happier and give them a reason to come back in sooner than they might have otherwise. Another reason to respond to positive reviews is that, just like with responding to negative reviews, it shows the community that you care about their experience and that you’re an engaged business owner. In many people’s opinion this carries over into how you manage your business and how much you care about customer happiness.


One more good reason to respond to positive reviews is that you can educate a customer on other menu items they might enjoy, if they left a positive review for one type of product you offer you can thank them and recommend something else that you think they might like.



It’s a great idea to respond to all of the reviews you get, whether they’re positive or negative. Maintaining an active presence on the top review sites will help you to establish a relationship with your community by showing past and future customers that you care about providing a positive customer experience.