Responding to Reviews: A Small Business Owner’s Guide to Customer Engagement


Customer reviews are super important for any business and how to respond to reviews from your customers is a skill you need to learn to thrive in the customer-centric business climate we have today. Whether you run a lemonade stand, a neighborhood bakery, or a small online shop, reviews can make a big difference in your success. We’ll break it down step by step, so even a 5th grader can understand. Plus, we’ll share some real-life examples and practical tips to help you get started.

Managing Google Reviews and Google Business Profile


Why Are Reviews Important?

Imagine you’re trying to decide where to buy the best pizza in town. You pull out your smartphone and start reading reviews. Would you choose the place with five-star reviews and happy comments or the one with lots of one-star reviews and complaints? Most of us would go for the pizza joint with great reviews, right?

Well, your customers do the same thing when they’re thinking about buying something from your business. Reviews show them what other people think about your products or services. They can help build trust and credibility for your business. So, making sure you respond to reviews is a crucial part of customer engagement.


Imagine you have a small pet supply store. A customer leaves a review saying, “I love this store! The staff is so friendly and helpful.” A simple response like, “Thank you for your kind words! We’re glad you had a great experience” shows that you appreciate their feedback.


The Dos and Don’ts of Responding to Reviews

Now that we know why reviews matter, let’s talk about how to respond to them. There are some things you should do and some things you should avoid.


Thank Your Customers: When someone leaves a positive review, say thank you. It shows that you appreciate their business.

Be Polite: Even if you get a negative review, stay calm and polite. Responding rudely can make things worse.

Address Concerns: If a customer has a problem, try to solve it. Ask how you can make things right.


Don’t Ignore Reviews: Ignoring reviews can make customers feel like you don’t care about their opinions.

Don’t Get Defensive: If someone leaves a negative review, don’t argue with them. It’s better to apologize and offer a solution.

Don’t Fake Reviews: Never write fake reviews for your own business or pay someone else to do it. It’s dishonest and can harm your reputation.


Let’s say you run a homemade ice cream shop. A customer writes, “I came in, and the ice cream flavors were boring.” A good response would be, “Thank you for your feedback! We’re always working on new flavors, and we’d love to hear your suggestions for exciting ones.”


Types of Reviews and How to Respond

Not all reviews are the same. There are positive, negative, and neutral reviews. Here’s how to handle each type:

Positive Reviews:

When someone leaves a glowing review, it’s time to celebrate! Here’s how to respond:


A customer writes, “I got the cutest handmade earrings from this store! They’re amazing!” You can reply with, “We’re thrilled that you love our earrings! Thanks for choosing our store.”

Negative Reviews:

Negative reviews can be tough, but they’re also opportunities to make things right. Here’s what to do:


A customer leaves a review saying, “I ordered a book online, and it arrived damaged.” You can say, “We’re so sorry to hear about the damaged book. Please reach out to us, and we’ll make sure to send you a replacement right away.”

Neutral Reviews:

Sometimes, reviews don’t express strong feelings either way. Here’s how to respond:


A customer writes, “The food was okay, but nothing special.” You can say, “Thanks for your honest feedback. We’re always working to improve, so we’ll take your comments into consideration.”


Practical Tips for Responding to Reviews

Now that you know how to handle different types of reviews, here are some practical tips to help you get started:

Set Up Review Notifications

Make sure you know when new reviews come in. Most review platforms allow you to set up notifications, so you can respond promptly.

Personalize Your Responses

Use the customer’s name and mention specific details from their review. It shows that you’re paying attention.

Stay Consistent

Respond to all reviews, not just the good ones. Consistency in your engagement is key.

Respond Quickly

Try to reply within a day or two of receiving a review. It shows that you’re on top of things.

Learn from Feedback

If you notice a pattern of similar complaints in reviews, consider making changes to your business to address those issues.

Use Positive Language

Keep your responses positive and friendly. Avoid using negative or defensive language.



Now that you’ve learned the ins and outs of responding to reviews, it’s time to put them into action. Remember, reviews can be your best friends if you handle them right. Be polite, address concerns, and use the tips we’ve shared.

As you grow your business, keep in mind that customer engagement is an ongoing process. Reviews are just one part of it. Keep providing excellent products or services, and your happy customers will leave more and more positive reviews. Now, go out there and make your small business shine!

Post Written by

Jo Medico is DoubleDome's Director of Client Services who ensures our company remains a proactive and value-adding partner to all of our clients. When she's offline, she loves spending time with her son trying out new local cafes. She's also a fitness enthusiast and likes to be at the beach or do anything outdoorsy.
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