Should You Be Responding To Online Reviews?

Published on 12 February 2019
Updated on 2 May 2023
by HeartBeat Digital Marketing
respond to online reviews

Online reviews are critical to the success of a local business, with nearly 90% of consumers only considering purchasing from a business if they have a star rating of 3+. Responding to online reviews is another critical piece in not only building a positive online presence, but also in encouraging other consumers to leave their feedback and engage with your practice.

How does a business respond to online reviews? Do positive online reviews need to be responded to at all? How do you respond to a negative review? All these questions and more are covered here, so you can leverage your online reputation to grow your practice.

Review response is also a service that HeartBeat Digital Marketing can offer to practices, as online reputation is a valuable aspect of marketing. Having a strong reputation is a cornerstone of any business’ digital presence, and helping businesses navigate the complex waters of reputation and online reviews is an integral part of digital marketing services. We’ll cover this in more detail below.

Let’s get responding!

How to Respond to Reviews

How do you respond to a negative review? Why reply to a good review?

By following these guidelines, you’ll be able to take charge of those first six reviews that a whopping 73% of consumers form their opinion on, and earn more business in the process (BrightLocal).
Regardless of where the review is—be it Google, Facebook or even Bing, —you can capitalise on a good review, and minimise the damage caused by a bad review. Let’s see how!

Managing Positive Reviews

Responding to positive reviews is just as important as responding to negative reviews. However, many businesses wonder why.

Why respond to a good review?

If a good customer leaves a glowing five-star review, it can’t get any better than that, right? Actually, it can. Responding to a positive review is an easy way to engage with happy customers that benefits both your brand identity, and your one-to-one relationship with that customer. Remember, online reviews and review sites are public, so the positive conversations that happen about your brand here can do wonders for your business!
Here’s why you should always respond to a positive review:

  • It’s the polite thing to do. If a customer gave you a compliment in real life, you would say thank you. It’s only polite. And with an online review, the compliment is public. So be extra nice!
  • Everyone is looking. 92% of consumers now read online reviews (BrightLocal). I know I do! The public, including potential future customers of the business, may read this review. Replying to the review is a chance to speak to these people too, and do some subtle marketing
  • Actively creating, and engaging with, positive online conversations about your brand and the local community can encourage others to participate in that conversation, and generate more buzz and visibility for your business
  • It affects search rankings. By replying properly, you can improve the SEO ranking of the review, and help the review show up in search results for a business

Okay, so we know that if you get positive online reviews, whether it is on Yelp, Google, or Facebook, responding to that positive review is a must. So, how can your business hit your review responses out of the park and get in some good marketing?

How to respond to a positive review (4 steps)

Step 1: Thank the customer for the positive review and be specific.
Ensure the reviewer knows a real person is behind your reply by thanking them for something specific they said. “Thanks for leaving a review, and mentioning our receptionist, Jenny. You’re right, she is always smiling!”

Step 2: Use the business name and keywords in your review response to the good review.
Using the business name, category and location in your response will help the positive review appear in search results. “The team here at [Business Name] is thrilled to hear such good feedback, and we’re proud to be one of the friendliest [skin care clinics] in [city name].”

Step 3: Add a little marketing to your review response.
Your reply is public and will be read by others, including future customers, so throw in some marketing! Mention a behind-the-scenes reason they had a great experience, or a new feature or promotion. “Did you know we just started offering anti-wrinkle injections?”

Step 4: Invite customer to do something in your response.
Ask the customer to return, use another service, or spread the word. “Next time you’re here, you should try the [insert product here]!” “We hope to see you again soon, and bring a friend!”

How to get more positive reviews

A great way to build trust and visibility with your business online is to cultivate a strong, positive online presence. How? Through positive reviews!

The more positive reviews you have, the less detrimental negative feedback will be on your brand when you do receive it. (We all know you can’t please everyone!)

Ultimately, the best way to get more reviews is to ask! People love sharing their opinions, and happy customers will take the time.

They key is timing. If the business asks when the customer is most pleased with the product or services, the reviews will have the best chance of being very positive.

ASK IN PERSON: You can place a review reminder on the receipt, or at the checkout, or on the delivery slip. You can give a reminder card to the best customers. You can even hand out cards at the till that encourage customers to leave a review of their experience.

ASK ONLINE: You can encourage customers to leave feedback online through email, text, and more. Tools like HeartBeat Digital Marketing Customer Voice give businesses the power to gather authentic customer experiences and generate more online engagement about their brand.

Managing Negative Reviews

Negative reviews can be crippling to a healthcare practice—especially if the business has few reviews to begin with. Even worse? Negative reviews that aren’t responded to. Don’t let those online wounds fester! Dealing with negative reviews doesn’t have to be hard, and it can even be leveraged as a marketing and branding opportunity.

Why respond to a negative review?

Unfortunately, you can’t just ignore a bad review until it goes away. In fact, ignoring an unpleasant review can make things worse!


  • You’re not just replying to just the one reviewer. You’re speaking to everyone who reads this review, including potential future customers.
  • Replying is your opportunity to make things right. If a customer brought a complaint to you in person, you would try to make it right. The same goes for online reviews—despite the impersonal nature of online reviews, it’s not over just yet. You can turn this thing around!
  • Replying shows other readers you are not shady or neglectful to feedback, and have taken steps to ensure this problem won’t happen to the next customer.

The best thing to do when you receive a bad review is act quickly and strategically. Here’s how your business should respond to negative reviews, and make the most out of a less-than-pleasant situation.

How to respond to a negative review (4 Steps)

Step 1: Apologise and sympathise in your response to the negative review.
Acknowledge the customer’s concerns. Even if they are unfounded, show sympathy that they had a bad experience. “I’m sorry to hear about your bad experience.”

Step 2: Insert a little marketing in your response to the bad review.
Explain what your customers usually experience. “We’re normally known for our exceptional attention to detail, and we regret that we missed the mark.”

Step 3: Move the conversation offline.
Provide contact info with someone at the business, so they can discuss the problem in person. “My name is [name] and I am the [Owner / Manager]. If you’d like to discuss this further, please contact me at [phone number / email].”

Step 4: Keep your response simple, short and sweet.
Don’t go into too much detail or ask any questions. This will prevent saying something that might cause the upset customer to add more negative feedback by replying to the review. Three sentences for your whole reply is a good rule of thumb.

BONUS: Don’t include the business name or relevant search keywords.
You don’t want this review showing up in search results!

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