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Written by
Katy Ratican
14 Jun 2021
6 minutes

10 types of Google Reviews and how to respond to them

How small business owners can categorise, manage and respond to the most common types of Google Reviews to manage their online reputation
How to respond to Google reviews

Of all the questions about Google Reviews, the most important one is how do you respond to them. Some may make you smile, some may encourage you and some may be frustrating. You can’t use the same approach on all of them. If you’re wondering how to respond to Google Reviews, here are the ten most common kinds of reviews and how you can respond to them.

1. The one-star rant

This customer was dissatisfied and gave you the lowest possible rating. But it doesn’t end there. They are quite verbose about what they didn’t like, providing details of what went wrong.

How to respond: Don’t reply before discussing the situation with your team members. When you engage, you don’t have to reply to all the points they might have raised — and be careful not to engage confrontationally. Apologise for their experience and tell them that you’ve taken remedial measures. Offer to take the conversation to a private channel.

2. The troll

This is someone who is critical of everything about your business without giving any specific details. They seem out to get you. Moreover, they might post frequently or expand on their previous reviews.

How to respond: An internet troll is a lot like a playground bully — and the best way to handle them is to rise above it. So, even if they don’t sound credible, apologise (everyone else will be watching you). Ask for the details of their purchase. If they share them, find out if their grievance is genuine. If they don’t share the details or if their experience doesn’t seem genuine, publicly state that you’ve no records of their purchase and can’t verify their claims.

3. The so-so review

The experience didn’t live up to their expectations so they found your place to be average. The important bit here is to look for the number of stars. The same review with three stars could mean a different thing from one with two stars. If you got three or more stars, consider it as a positive review.

How to respond: This is your opportunity to apologise for disappointing them. You should be specific about the measures you’ve taken or will take soon. Then you should request them to visit your business to notice the difference.

4. The one-word review

It all depends on the word. You don’t have to ask them to add to their review, only understand if it’s positive or negative.

How to respond: If it’s negative, you’ll have to apologise and ask for the details of their experience. You should convey that if they can provide additional information, you’ll be able to rectify the problems. If it’s positive, you can use it on your website and social media. A small blurb with “Excellent! - [Customer name] on Google Reviews” will build your credibility.

5. The local guide review

These are individuals who’d be familiar with the locality and would’ve known your business for a while. Their reviews might compare you to others and so, you have to take them seriously.

How to respond: If it’s negative, thank them for the criticism and assure them that you’ll work on their feedback. If it’s favourable, thank them and mention that as a neighbourhood small business, it’s reviews like these that encourage you to be at your best.

6. The gushing review

Congratulations! You’ve got your admirer. If your small business gets a glowing review, you should be delighted with what you’re doing.

How to respond: Thank them and paraphrase the key points they’d have made. Mention that it’s your mission to provide products and services of the highest quality, and it’s reviews like these that you consider as the biggest reward. Use that review on your website, social media, and even inside your premises as posters or printouts. Also, invite the reviewer to meet you the next time they’re at your establishment.

7. The review with the terrible pictures

Sometimes you’ll be surprised at the images customers post in their reviews. Whether it’s their dirty dishes at the end of service or a waiting crowded room, it can be off-putting to other customers.

How to respond: If it’s a favourable review, reply with a better photograph and thank them. If it’s negative feedback, share a better picture, apologise and tell them that you’ll do the needful. What’s important is for others to see the good pictures that you post. Note: If the photo violates community standards (or has nothing to do with your business) then you can flag it to Google for removal.

8. The video review

Customers are now posting videos as part of their reviews. This helps others get a clearer picture of the business. Remember, videos can be easily shared. So, ensure that your service is excellent and that your premises are clean and hygienic.

How to respond: It all comes down to whether they were happy with your service or not. If it’s a positive review, thank them and request their permission for you to share that video on your website and social media. When it comes to sharing videos that include other customers, air on the side of caution. Generally, you would need permission from anyone appearing in the video.

9. The awkward review

Sometimes the review could be unpleasant or embarrassing. If you run a business and have an online listing, this situation can’t be avoided. All you can do is prepare a protocol to deal with it.

How to respond: Invite them for a private conversation and see if you can turn the situation around. But if they’re insulting, discriminatory or levelling baseless accusations, you can apologise and say that you don’t condone their choice of words. After that, you can flag the review as inappropriate.

10. The review in another language

If you see a review in a foreign language, under no circumstances should you ask them to translate. You can do it yourself in Google in a matter of seconds.

How to respond: Follow the protocols for positive and negative reviews. Thank them for favourable reviews and mention that you’ll work on their feedback if it’s negative. Here’s a crucial tip: Your response must be in their language. You can easily do it via Google. They will be delighted to see it in a language they can understand. Others will also appreciate it. Pro tip: Use emojis for others to understand the content and tone of your response.

In short

If you’re a small business owner, you know that Google Reviews is where your existing customers have a chance to influence your potential customers. So, learning how to respond to Google Reviews should be a top priority as it’ll help build your online reputation.

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