Google My Business Action Plan

The GMB Action Plan MENU

Management Phase:

Review Management & Support

As a business owner, you have the ability to respond to Google reviews and actually engage with your customers.

You can either respond to Google reviews via your desktop or a mobile device through your Google My Business app.

Regardless of whether the review is positive or negative, you should have a designated person or team who’s in charge of responding to Google Customer Reviews… as soon as possible!

Where to Reply to Reviews

Google has now made it easier than ever to reply to reviews. 

You can now reply to customers by:

  • GMB Website
  • GMB App (Android)
  • GMB App (iPhone & iPad)
  • Google Maps (If you’re logged in)
Personally, I recommend to all my clients to use the Mobile version of the GMB app!

Note:

From Desktop:

Simply select reviews from the left navigation and click “Reply” to respond.

 

 

Reply to reviews from Google My Business

  1. On your Android phone or tablet, open the Google My Business app.
  2. Tap Customers and then Reviews.
  3. Tap the review to respond to.
  4. Write a response and tap Send Send.

Reply to reviews from Google Maps

  1.   On your Android phone or tablet, open the Google Maps app Maps or use Google Search Google Search.
  2. You can open your Business Profile two ways:
    • Enter your business name in the search bar.
    • In Google Maps: In the top right, tap Account Circle Account Circle and then Your Business Profile.
  3. Tap Reviews.
  4. For the review you’d like to reply to, tap Reply.
    • Edit your reply: Tap More Menu and then Edit.
    • Delete your reply: Tap More Menu and then Delete.
    • Report an inappropriate review: Tap More Menu and then Report.

Reply to reviews from Google My Business

  1. On your iPhone or iPad, open the Google My Business app.
  2. In the “Reviews” section, tap Manage reviews.
  3. Tap the review you want to reply to.
  4. Write a response and tap Send Send.

Reply to reviews from Google Maps

  1.   On your Android phone or tablet, open the Google Maps app Maps or use Google Search Google Search.
  2. You can open your Business Profile two ways:
    • Enter your business name in the search bar.
    • In Google Maps: In the top right, tap Account Circle Account Circle and then Your Business Profile.
  3. Tap Reviews.
  4. For the review you’d like to reply to, tap Reply.
    • Edit your reply: Tap More Menu and then Edit.
    • Delete your reply: Tap More Menu and then Delete.
    • Report an inappropriate review: Tap More Menu and then Report.

Replying to reviews from Google Maps is easy, simply follow these steps:

  1. Open Google Maps on your browser. This works with any browser, you don’t have to use Google Chrome.
  2. Search for the business’ name.
  3. On the GMB profile, scroll down to “Reviews.”
  4. Click on “Reply” and craft the perfect response to the review, whether good or bad.

Responding to Reviews (Good and Bad)

Responding to reviews offers an opportunity to not only influence consumers and win brand loyalty….
but also to impact your ranking!

How? Well, ideally the customer will add keywords like “best plumber in Atlanta” into the review and if they do, this will definitely help in your search rankings.  

However, even if they don’t, YOU CAN! When replying to reviews make it a habit to add keywords into your reply!

4 Simple tips for writing reviews:

  • Be nice and don’t get personal. It’s difficult to win an argument with a frustrated customer, and you want to avoid burning bridges. Keep your responses useful, readable and courteous.
  • Keep it short and sweet. Users are looking for useful and genuine responses, but they can easily be overwhelmed by a long response.
  • Thank your reviewers. Respond to happy reviewers when you have new or relevant information to share. You don’t need to thank every reviewer publicly, since each response reaches lots of customers.
  • Be a friend, not a salesperson. Your reviewers are already customers, so there’s no need to offer incentives or advertisements. However, you can tell reviewers something new about your business, or share something they might not have learned from their first visit.

Simple Reply Examples

Keep in mind – these responses below should not just be copied and pasted.

Words and phrases should be adjusted for each response to fit your brand’s tone and to mix up your messaging. If potential customers are scrolling through review sites and see the same response every time, it will probably make them question your sincerity.

Example 1

Hi there {first name},
We appreciate the kind words! I’m thrilled to hear that {first aspect reviewed positively} worked out for you. It’s always humbling to hear how we’re able to make our customers’ {jobs/lives} {easier/better}.

I’m also happy that you found {second aspect reviewed positively} {positive word describing experience – “helpful,” “useful,” “effective,” etc.}. We put a lot of work into that, and so I’m glad to hear it’s serving its purpose and helping you out.

Have a great day, and thanks for the review!

{your name}

Example 2

Hey {first name},

Thanks for the positive review! We love hearing from our customers – especially when our {product/service} is able to make a positive difference to them.

I know {person/department/team responsible for positive review} put a lot of work into that {product/service name}, so I’ll be sure to pass your kind words off to {him/ser/them}.

Thanks again, and we hope to {see you/hear from you} again soon!

{your name}

Example 3

Hello {first name},

Wow – thanks for your kind remarks! I’m so happy that {aspect reviewed positively} worked out for you, and that you plan to {keep doing business with us / come back soon}.

We thrive on this type of feedback, so I’ll be sure to pass this review off to the team. Our goal is to {your company’s mission statement / goal}, and I’m ecstatic that we were able to make it happen for you here with {aspect reviewed positively}.

Thanks again!

{your name}

Example 4

Hi {first name},

Thank you for taking the time to review us! I’m sure that {name/department/team responsible for positively reviewed aspect} will be thrilled to hear this.

We’re always improving our {business/software/product}, so I encourage you to come back and check us out again soon to see what’s new!

Thanks again – we appreciate it!

{your name}

It’s disheartening to get a negative review.

Responding to the review in a helpful, sincere way, however, can be the next step towards doing the right thing and fixing what can be fixed.

Best Practices for Responding to Negative Reviews 

  • Begin with an apology and thank the reviewer for sharing his or her thoughts. 
  • Acknowledge the results of the negative experience so the reviewer knows you fully understand what happened. 
  • If appropriate, offer an explanation – not an excuse – for what happened (i.e. “our truck was in an accident and couldn’t get your order on time, and we’re sorry we didn’t have a contingency plan in place to get you what you needed”).
  • Explain what you’ll be doing to ensure the problem is addressed and does not continue to happen.
  • Include next steps and, if needed, your email address so the reviewer can follow up with you if he or she wants to discuss more.
  • Thank the reviewer and apologize again before signing off.   

Response Prompts to Negative Reviews 

Example 1

Hi {first name},
Thanks for taking the time to write a review. I’m so sorry about {main criticism in review}. {Add commentary acknowledging how the negative impacted the reviewer, as expressed in her or his review}.

I want you to know that I will be passing your comments on to {person/team/department that can attempt the situation}. We want to make sure your voice is heard as we continue to improve, and hope you won’t hesitate to reach out if there’s anything we can do to make this better.

All the Best,

{your name}
{your email address}

Example 2

Hello {first name},
First off, thanks for sharing your feedback. I’m really sorry that {negative aspect} didn’t meet your expectations. Clearly, we fell short, and I apologize.

In the future, I’ll make sure that {steps you’ll take to ensure the situation doesn’t happen again}. The last thing we want to do is let our customers down, and moving forward, we’re going to do everything in our power to hold ourselves to that standard.

Again, we’re sorry we dropped the ball this time, but we hope you’ll consider giving us another chance. Feel free to reach out to me personally at {your email address} and I’ll see to it that you get what you need this time.

Have a great day,
{your name]

Example 3

Hi {first name},
I appreciate your honest feedback here, and I’m sorry we let you down.

I want you to know that I reached out to your account manager, {AM name}, to get a little more insight into what happened here. Clearly, we could have done better, and I’m sorry that we {reiterate the misstep}.

{AM name} and I want to make sure you get what you need here, so {he/she} will be reaching out with what we’ll be doing to try to make this right for you. You can also reach out to me, {your email}, for any questions that you have.

Thanks again for your feedback – I’m looking forward to the chance to make this right.

Best,

{your name}

Example 4

Hi {first name},

Yikes! I’m so, so sorry to hear that this happened. Allow me to explain.
When {incident} happened, {situation that caused the incident to happen}. This was totally our fault, and I’m sorry that we let it happen.

At {your company name}, we always want to put our customers first, and I apologize that we fell short this time. I’m sharing your feedback with {team/person responsible for error} so that {he knows/she knows/they know} what happened, how it affected you, and what can be done to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

I hope you’ll allow us to make it up to you. If you’d like to talk more, please feel free to reach out to me personally at {your email}. My name’s {your name}, and I’d love the opportunity to talk this through with you to make it right.

Thanks again for the feedback, and take care!

{your name}

Note:

Some reviews are a mixed bag – containing both praise and criticism.

Here, you’ll need to express gratitude for both. Below are a few ways to respond to these types of reviews. 

Best Practices for Responding to Mixed Reviews 

  • Greet and thank the reviewer for taking the time to write a review. 
  • Acknowledge the positive(s) in the review and why it/they made the reviewer satisfied with your service. 
  • Apologize for your missteps and explain how you’ll use the feedback to improve.
  • If the negative largely overpowers the review, offer to make it up to the reviewer in a private conversation by providing your contact information. 
  • Thank the reviewer again and sign off with your name. 

Response Examples to Mixed Reviews 

 

Example 1

Hey {first name}!

Thanks so much for taking the time to write this review. I’m thrilled to hear that you appreciated {positive aspect reflected in the review}. Here at {your company name}, we {express similar appreciation to the person or aspect that was reviewed positively}, because {tie it in to a company value}.

However, I’m sorry to hear that {negative aspect highlighted in the review}. This is surely not what we’d like to hold ourselves to when it comes to the quality of our service. I’m going to reach out to {person/department/team responsible} to share your feedback and see what we can do to fix it. You can expect to hear from us in {timeframe for response} about what we’ll do to make this right.

In the meantime, if you have any more comments you’d like to share or questions for me, feel free to reach out to me personally at {your email} and I’d be happy to chat more.

Again, thanks so much for the review!

All the Best,

{your name}

Example 2

Hi {first name},

Thanks for writing to let us know your thoughts about {company/product/service name}.

It looks like we fell short on {area of criticism} – and that’s not okay. I want you to know that I’ve spoken to {person/department/team in question} about this, and we’re going to {action taken} to make sure this isn’t an issue moving forward.

Also, I’m really glad to hear that you {liked/enjoyed/appreciated} {aspect highlighted positively in the review}. {Explain why you also appreciate the positive}.

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts, and if you have any more comments, feel free to start a conversation with me at {your email}.

Best,

{your name}

Example 3

Hi there {first name},

First off, thank you for letting us know about your experience with {company/product/service}. I’m elated to hear that {aspect highlighted positively in the review}. I’ll be sure to let {person/team/department responsible} that {his/her/their} work is appreciated!

Sounds like we could be a bit better when it comes to {area of criticism}, though. Sorry we fell short there. Moving forward, we’re definitely going to prioritize {how you’ll address the criticisms}, so I hope you’ll {stay with us/give us another chance} so that we can show you how important your feedback is to us.

In the meantime, if there’s anything else you want to share with us, you can message me personally at {your email}.

Thanks again!

{your name}

Example 4

Hello {first name},

I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts here. First off, let me apologize. {Area of criticism} is not okay, and I’m truly sorry that’s what you experienced with {company name}. I’ve contacted {department/person/team responsible} to share your feedback, and we’ve decided to {action taken to fix the problem}.

Making our customers happy is always at the top of our to-do list, and I’m glad you saw that side of us when you {highlight aspect of review that was positive}. I hope you’ll {stick with us/give us another chance} so we can build on what worked here and fix what didn’t.

Should you have any more comments, I’d appreciate the opportunity to hear them out and work with you to find the best solution here. My name is {your name}, and you can reach out to me any time at {your email}. I look forward to talking with you!

Thanks,

{your name}

Example 5

Hi {first name},

Thanks for your review. We value your feedback and are thrilled you’re enjoying {aspect reviewed positively}!

I appreciate your comments on {aspect reviewed less favorably}. We’re always improving our {products/software}, so I’ll pass this off to the team to factor into future updates and enhancements.

Best,
{your name}

Example 6

Hey {first name},

Thanks for your feedback on {product/service reviewed}! I’m thrilled to hear that {aspect reviewed positively} was able to help you {reiterate how it helped the reviewer, as written in the review}.

As for your comments about {aspect reviewed negatively} – that’s great feedback! We really appreciate it. I’ll pass that off to our {team/department}, who can {explain what will be done when the department hears about the feedback}.

Thanks again,

{your name}

Example 7

Hi {first name},

Thanks for letting us know about your experience with {product/service/company}. It sounds like we dropped the ball on {aspect negatively reviewed}. I’m really sorry about that.

I’ve passed your review on to {department/team responsible} to make sure this is addressed. {Optional}: You’ll be hearing from {the rep you spoke with / your account manager} soon about next steps on how we’ll fix this for you.

Thanks also for your kind words about {aspect positively reviewed}. I’m glad we were able to make {aspect made easier} easier!

All the Best,

{your name}

Example 8

Hi {first name},

Thanks for your review!

I’m thrilled to hear that {aspect reviewed positively} worked out for you. I’ll be sure to pass that positive feedback off to {person/department/team responsible}. We take a lot of pride in our work, so thank you for taking the time to share how it’s worked out for you. It means a ton to us.

I also appreciate the feedback you have for us on {aspect reviewed less positively}. Our {product/software} is always improving, and we rely on valuable feedback like this to make it even better. Please feel free to reach out if you have any other comments!

Thanks again,

{your name}

Here and there, you’re faced with a review that is either inaccurate, ill-informed, or used to delegitimize your business.

As frustrating as these reviews are, remember that existing and potential customers will be reading them and your responses to them, so keeping your comments professional and articulate is extremely important.

Also, it’s important to remember that these responses should be utilized exclusively for slanderous and inaccurate reviews – not just a review that you disagree with or makes you look bad. Typically, these responses should be written for a review that you’ll flag or report to the review site as false. (Next section below)

Best Practices for Responding to False and Inaccurate Reviews  

  • If the review is rooted in any truth, apologize for where you went wrong and explain how you’ll be addressing the issue moving forward. 
  • If the reviewer is lying or rude, don’t be rude back! Remember – this could affect how you’re perceived by potential customers. 
  • If the review is clearly for the wrong company, politely explain that this may not be the page the reviewer is looking for and ask if the review could be removed.
  • If you’re unsure that the reviewer is being honest, politely ask for a proof point (“When were you in?” or “May I ask who you spoke to?”, etc.) to verify the reviewer is actually a customer. 
  • If the review is clearly fake, comment professionally explaining that the review is false and has been reported to site moderators as such. 

 

Response Examples to False and Inaccurate Reviews 

 

Example 1

Hi {first name}, 

Based off your review, I think you may have the wrong business! We don’t {proof point about how you can’t be the business in question}. 

That said, would you remind removing your review from our page?

Thanks,

{your name}

Example 2

Hello {first name}, 

We appreciate you writing the review.

Would you mind following up with me at {your email} to let me know what name your account is under? I checked with everyone on our {team in question} team, and no one recalls this happening. I want to get to the bottom of this to make sure we make things right.

Thanks,

{Your Name}

Example 3

To all reading this review: {first name} is actually from our competitor and has left similar reviews before despite never having {used our product / visited our store}. We have reached out to {review site} to have this review removed so we can continue to use the site as a way to hear from our customers, share positive feedback with the team, and use criticism as a way to improve our business.  

Example 4

Hi {first name},

We appreciate you sharing your thoughts here. However, I do want to use this opportunity to clarify a few things. 

You said in your review that {aspect accurately reviewed negatively}. This is absolutely correct, and {optional: as I told you in person/over the phone/via email}, we’re so sorry and have {describe corrective action taken}. This was not up to our standards of service, and we will use this situation as an example of where our team needs to be better. 

However, you also mentioned in your review that {aspect inaccurately negatively reviewed}. The story behind that is {polite clarification as to why the reviewer’s comments are ill-informed, slanderous, or incorrect}. 

{Optional: Repeat the above language for all other false claims.}

I hope this clears things up. 

Best,

{your name}

Reporting Fake Reviews to Google

Unfortunately, Google doesn’t offer a simple “delete” option for its reviews. Instead, there are only two ways that a review can be removed. The person who posted the review can delete it or your business can “flag the review as inappropriate.” 

 

 

Note:

Flagging the review alerts Google that the review is fake or that it doesn’t comply with Google’s review policies.

After that, you’ll be guided to the landing page below where you’ll need to complete a brief report of the issue and submit your email for follow-up communication. 

After that, Google will notify you as soon as your request has been processed and analyzed by its team. 

It’s important to note that Google has built-in spam checkers that automatically analyze a review for inappropriate, irrelevant or misleading content.

While this feature is pretty reliable, inaccurate reviews are sometimes overlooked which can lead to negative perceptions of your business.

While not every review will be removed, let’s look at a few scenarios that you’d want to file an appeal.  

According to Google, the topics below are considered to be against its user terms and conditions. Therefore, if you notice a review that falls under one of these categories, you can request to remove that content. 

Irrelevant Comments

Google wants to make sure its users are getting accurate information about your business. So, if you’re seeing comments that don’t pertain to your business or a customer’s experience, you should flag these reviews. 

Illegal Content

Google prohibits users from posting reviews that contain links to websites or email addresses that sell illegal products. This also includes images that promote products or special offers. 

Inappropriate/Offensive Content

Google will remove any content that it views as “obscene, profane or offensive.” It will also remove reviews that are threatening or contain derogatory comments.  

Conflicts of Interest

You can’t post a review of a company that you own or work for. You also can’t post a review of your competitor, as this would allow you to manipulate their rating in your favor. 

Impersonation 

All Google reviews must be published by the person who is writing the review. You can’t publish the review on someone’s behalf or pretend to be someone else when submitting your review.

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