If a staff member came to you with an issue, you’d sit down and talk about it, right?

If your partner or spouse brought up a frustration, you’d do what you could to make it right, wouldn’t you?

And if a customer came to you in person to offer constructive feedback, you’d listen to what they say and provide a solution.

And when someone compliments you for something, you express appreciation and thanks; we all like hearing that!

Your online reviews are the equivalent of those in-person conversations, and you need to respond to all of them, especially if you want to ensure that potential customers choose you over your competition.

The internet is the first place people go to find a new local business or see the reputation of a company they’ve tried. If you don’t maintain your online reputation or respond to your reviews (good or bad), you could be missing out on a lot of new customers because they are a large part of your reputation on and offline.

Your Reputation Is Your Online Calling Card

When it comes to your online presence, if over 90% of potential customers are doing a local search before they do business with you, then it’s a vital key to the growth of your business.

That’s why it is essential to have a clean online reputation; it’s often the first impression people get about your business.

The first step is to make sure you claim all the listings relevant to your business type. Google is imperative, then there is TripAdvisor, Yelp, Facebook, and countless other industry-specific ones. When you claim the listing, you’ll be able to ensure that the information about your business is up to date, post your own images, and you will have access to the reviews for monitoring and responding.

A solid online presence paints a professional picture that will help ensure successful customer relationships and attract more new customers.

Online Review Sites Are One Of The First Things People Check

For any would-be customer, positive reviews are an excellent indicator for choosing who to buy from – with so many options available, reviews give them the edge in finding the best option. What other customers say about your business is more credible than what you will say, making people feel secure that they are making a good decision.

Because these are such valuable decision-making tools for potential customers, it’s essential to be engaged in the conversation. That way, you have control over how people will view your business and can focus on making sure it’s as positive an impression as possible.

Ideally, you want a system in place that asks your happy customers to post their positive reviews online. The more new reviews you have, the less impact the negative ones will have. Also, having more current positive reviews will rank you higher on the review platforms.

Responding To Your Reviews Shows You Care

How would you feel if you asked someone a question and they just walked away? Or you voiced a complaint or concern, and no one acknowledged it or offered to fix it? When it comes to reviews, interacting with your customers can make all the difference in the world.

Consider managing online reviews the start of a conversation. People have something to say to you and want to be heard and listened to. This is why replying to both positive and negative feedback from customers is so important – it shows that you’re engaged, attentive, and care about their experience with your business. Dealing promptly with review comments signals that you are dedicated to improving their customer experience.

Big Secret Tip #1: A common question we get is, “Do with respond to a 1 Star Review with no comment?” This is one of the few cases we suggest NOT responding. If you do, you draw attention and start an unnecessary conversation. When you answer all your other reviews, it negates the 1-star ones.

Whether their review is positive or negative, having an understanding ear could be the tipping point in making them a returning customer.

Address Negative Reviews Head-On

Addressing a bad review is an excellent opportunity to show a potential customer that you are willing to go the extra mile to make sure they have an unforgettable, positive experience.

Things don’t always go according to plan; showing how to turn something negative into a positive can demonstrate your commitment to customers and help build trust. Don’t shy away from returning those negative reviews – it will be beneficial in the long run and potentially convince those who may have had a bad experience that you are worth a second chance.

Big secret tip #2: If handled properly, it also adds credibility to your online reputation. If all you get is five-star reviews, people become suspicious and won’t believe any of your reviews. They think you had all your friends, family and staff make up fake reviews. So, a few well-managed one or two-star reviews can actually help your reputation.

Tips For Responding To Negative Reviews

Everything you write online is permanent, so remain respectful and professional, even if you think the reviewer is wrong. If you can put aside your initial emotional reaction, there’s usually a grain of truth and room for improvement.


Here’s how to handle it…Take a few minutes and deep breaths. It will not serve you well to be defensive. Instead, apologize for any inconvenience they experienced and try to resolve the issue. Tell them what action you will be taking. One important tip is to try to take the conversation offline – suggest that the customer contact you directly with their concerns so that they can be resolved in private.

Occasionally, someone is so upset that there is no way to console or win them back. Worse, they may be completely wrong about what they are saying about your business. In this case, the desire to be “right” is powerful, but you must resist. While this is likely a lost customer or a vindictive person, their comments will be online forever, as will your response, so it is even more important to stay calm and professional. Do not attack the customer, make excuses for your business, or tell them they are wrong. Do not engage in an online battle or do anything to provoke them further. Thank them for their feedback, tell them you’ll take it into consideration, and then move on.

As a business owner, you want to make sure that you respond to all types of reviews in a way that preserves your online reputation and mitigates any damage.

Use Online Reviews As An Opportunity To Improve

Feedback from customers is precious. It helps you see things from an outside perspective – things you might have overlooked. Often customers have valuable feedback for improvements or changes that they hesitate to share while they are in your business but are comfortable going online, where they can offer suggestions to help you improve. Take every opportunity to listen to what your customers say – especially regarding their online reviews. By using these reviews as a springboard for self-reflection and improvement, your business stays competitive and furthers its success in the long run.

If you want more details on how to go about responding to the various types of reviews, read our article: How To Answer Any Review Bad Or Good

Manage Your Online Reviews, Manage Your Success

Online reviews are one of the first things people will see when they search for you and decide to do business with you. It’s essential to make sure that you rank high on the sites and that your reviews are current and primarily positive. Responding to all reviews shows that you’re engaged with your customers and care about their experience. Online reviews offer an opportunity to improve your business – listen to what your customers say and make changes accordingly.

Want to find out where your business stands on ALL online review sites?

Want to know how you stack up on stars against your competition?

Want to find out how to shoot up to the #1 spot on Google, Yelp, and TripAdvisor in your town, your state, and the country on your favorite review site?

How about how to use your reviews to get MORE NEW CUSTOMERS and blow your competition

If this sounds appealing, if you want MORE NEW CUSTOMERS, don’t ignore this. Click the button and schedule a FREE ($297 Value) online reputation review and strategy session with a DFY Online Reputation New Customer Specialist.

We will do all the work; you get some fantastic information…for FREE.

Michael Thibault

Known as “The Done For You Marketing Guy for Restaurants.” International Speaker on Restaurant Marketing. Published contributing author of 4 Marketing Books. Industry expert on Google Searches and Review Sites. Recovering Independent Restaurant Owner and Caterer of over 21 years. And, all-around good guy.

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