How to Respond to Google Reviews

How to Respond to Google Reviews

By David Bird

Good job, you have Google reviews! Now it’s time to respond to Google Reviews. This post shows you how to find the place to respond, and then how to deal with certain review types.

Finding your Google Reviews

There are a few way to get to the spot where you can post a review response:

Respond to reviews from the email:

Whenever you get a new review Google sends you an email with a link to the review. You can respond under the review.

Respond to reviews from your phone:

If you have Google Maps loaded on your mobile device, you should have a notification that you can click and respond from your phone.

Steps to respond to reviews from your computer:

  1. Go to
  2. Click on your account which will take you into Google Maps
  3. Click the icon ‘read reviews’
  4. Using the top navigation in the ‘read review’ panel, ensure reviews are sorted ‘newest to oldest’. Click on the review you want to respond to, and then click the ‘Reply’ button.
  5. Write your reply and click the ‘Reply’ button in the lower right.

Why it is important to respond to Google Reviews

It matters how you respond to customer reviews, especially Google reviews; it helps your local SEO, shows customers you are involved and care. Here’s what do with good, bad, and even annoying ‘man cold’ reviews.

There’s an expression that businesses often use that goes, ‘if you liked our service, tell your friends. If you didn’t, tell us.’

When it comes to the internet, however, it’s not just friends your customers are telling, and it’s not just the good experiences they’re talking about. The good, bad and ugly parts of your business are being broadcast to the world, and they’re often being read by prospective customers before they even make it to your site!

One of the most popular platforms for this is Google Reviews. Customers can rate a business on a scale of one to five stars, as well as leave comments about their experience. A five star rating means you’re a rock star, a three star rating means your product or service was ‘meh’, and a one star rating means you have a very unhappy customer. But business owners can reply to these reviews, which gives them an opportunity to show the world how much they care about what their customers have to say—even the ones who aren’t happy.

Google Reviews is part of Google My Business. If you don’t have a Google My Business account, you should get one. It’s free, and it helps your business appear in searches, either by showing your location on the map alongside competitors, or by profiling your business information at the right side of the screen.

Why you Should Respond to Google Reviews

It is just as important how you respond to Google Reviews as it is that you respond. The reviews themselves are vital social proof to both Google and prospective customers alike that your business is worth engaging, plus it helps your SEO. The more reviews the better! Your responses also help with SEO, and they show your customers (and prospective customers) attractive characteristics about you and your business, mainly that you are listening to—and care about—them.

How to Respond to Good Reviews

This is easy; you just need to come up with different ways to say thank you, we’re glad we could help, etc. It shows everyone that you are reading all your reviews and paying attention to what your customers are saying.

Here are some examples where reviews left comments and others where they didn’t leave comments:

Respond to Reviews

How to Respond to Negative Reviews

When responding to Google reviews, remember your audience is future customers. Those future customers just want to see you are reasonable to work with. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Be brief
  • Avoid the detail of the reviewer – it just makes your response longer and can be perceived as ‘taking a shot at the customer’
  • Write your response to the Google review and leave it for 24 hours. Review it again
  • Avoid emotion.
  • Stick to the facts as you understand them
  • It’s alright to be firm without being defensive.
  • Try to respond to google reviews within 48 hours

There are different types of negative Google Reviews

Here are some common negative reviews you may see, and how examples how to respond to Google Reviews:

‘Man Cold’ Reviews

These are one- or two-star ratings with no comments. These reviews are unreasonable, because you have no idea what you did wrong. Like a ‘Man Cold,’ where lots of attention is required because ‘everything hurts,’ these reviews offer you nothing specific to fix.

How to Respond: Ask the customer what you could have done better. You could say something like, “Thank you for the feedback. We work hard to give our customers a wonderful experience. You gave us a (one or two) star rating but didn’t leave any comments. Please let us know what specifically we can do next time to improve your experience.”

Here are a couple of examples:

Negative review and response

Legitimate Negative Reviews

Try as we might to please all our customers, sometimes people will have legitimate complaints. These customers may leave a one or two star rating and provide a description of their negative experience for all to see.

Your Response: First, take a deep breath. Step away from your computer if you need to. Negative reviews happen, and it’s not the end of the world. Wait until you’re completely calm before you respond, and make sure your response isn’t angry or defensive, or it will only make matters worse.

Here are some examples:

Your side of the dispute matters to the complainant — and to prospective customers

There are two sides to every dispute, and everyone who sees the bad review is waiting for your side of the story. When you respond to reviews, be factual and unemotional as you describe what happened from your perspective, and why you acted the way you did.

If you were wrong, say so and apologize. If you were right, explain your position, but remember to keep your anger, frustration, or personal thoughts of the person in check. Condescending statements about what the person ‘should have done’ or how they ‘should have behaved’ will only make you look bad.

The key to turning a bad review into something positive is sticking to the facts, describing what happened, and explaining why you acted the way you did. Most readers will appreciate that you took reasonable actions to address the customer’s complaint and having a professional manner about it can make you, and your business, look even better.

Review response summary

  • 1–3 Star Rating: Respond to the review with facts, keeping emotions in check. Address the customer’s issues honestly, without revealing any personal information.
  • 4–5 Star Rating: Thank the customer for taking the time to review.
  • 1–3 Star Rating Without Comments: Ask the customer if there was something specific they did not like about their experience with your business.

Did you know…

Bird’s Eye Marketing offers Google Business Profile setup and management services?