Here at Reviews.io, we often say that receiving a review is just the beginning. Left alone, reviews are static; they're passive and dead-ended, but engage with them, and their whole dynamic can change. Whether it changes for better or for worse? Well, that, our friends, is up to you.

To help you learn right from wrong and get your review responses absolutely spot on, we're showcasing an assortment of replies we've spotted across our site, from a number of different companies in a variety of industries. We'll be giving each review response some feedback of its own, plus a Reviews.io score out of 5.

The goal?

To identify the little things that make a review great, and the even-smaller things that can make it a disaster so that you can nail your review responses every time.

But first: why should you even bother continuing to read this blog post?

Well, with 95% of unhappy customers returning if their issue is resolved there's a lot to gain here - and even more to lose!

Review Response Example#1

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The Good: We always recommend beginning a response to a negative review with an apology to get the customer on the side, and this company do that well - it's a tick from us. A clear explanation is also included which helps to reassure the customer that the company has investigated the issue thoroughly and this isn't a scripted response.

The Bad: We've all been told that 'the customer is always right' and here, the word 'but' could signal that the company believes otherwise. Even though the explanation they give is completely valid, it's important to remember the customer is disappointed regardless and it's best not to rattle them. 'But' signals the beginning of an argument, and this is not the time or place to start one. We know responding to negative reviews can be tricky, but it's important to keep your cool.

Reviews.io Score: 3/5

Review Response Example#2

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The Good: One thing we can say about this review is that an explanation is clearly given, backed up with knowledge and the company's policies.

The Bad: This review response comes across as rather aggressive. The response doesn't address the customer directly at all and therefore the purpose of the reply seems not to apologise or rectify The issue but for the company to justify itself. Sentences are short, blunt and come across as overly defensive and dismissive of the customer's complaint.

Reviews.io Score: 2/5

Review Response Example#3

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The Good: This company repeatedly write some of our favourite review responses. Why? They're always genuine, understanding and extremely apologetic. In this reply, there's no defensiveness or excuses being made - they seem truly sorry for the customer's disappointment and almost seem disappointed in themselves, stating their usual standards and expectations to help reassure the customer they can expect better in the future.

Reviews.io Score: 4.5 (pretty much as good as it gets)

The Bad: There's little to say here. The only real improvement we can think of is elaborating on the solution instructions slightly - what does the company need to receive in an email in order to make things right? The order number perhaps?

Reviews.io Score 4.5/5

Review Response Example#4

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The Good: The tone of voice is really great here, being both informal whilst also retaining professionalism. The company appear to have taken the issue seriously and apologise profusely, making no excuses whatsoever. Added bonus: they also make promises to prevent such instances in the future. This shows real respect and appreciation for their customers and also that they have an attitude of accepting and learning from their mistakes - a human quality which makes them much more forgivable.

The Bad: Whilst the content is great, the sentence structure and choice of syntax could be better. If possible, it's ideal for someone who has experience with writing content to deal with reviews to ensure a polished lasting impression.

Reviews.io Score: 4.5

Review Response Example#5

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The Good: Here's another company getting it right early on with an apology on the second line. They also thank the customer for taking the time out to leave a review - a feature we really like. So many customers fail to leave companies feedback, so when they do, it's nice to show them it's appreciated. Instructions that enable the customer to take the matter further if needed are also included, showing that customer satisfaction is important to them and they're customer service team are always on hand to help.

The Bad: The review is overall, quite solid, however, there are a few areas that could be improved on. 'Had you' is almost like that 'but' we saw earlier - it suggests the responsibility - or, fault - lies with the customer, which should never be the goal here. And although the customer is welcomed to contact customer services, no specific instructions on how to do this are given - the process should be made as easy and seamless as possible.

Reviews.io Score: 3/5

Review Response Example#6

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The Good: When a company leave a review, they want answers. Here, a very precise explanation is given of the events that led up to the problem, showing the person responding - and indeed, the company as a whole - have a thorough system in place to track and update the order process. It's reassuring for the customer to know that every step of their order has been recorded.

The Bad: This is another review response which comes across as a bit passive aggressive in places. No greeting is included, or real apology given, and the explanation is so detailed that it seems almost smarmy. The result is a company that appears a bit unprofessional and 'petty' in places. They have risen to the bait, and it shows.

Reviews.io Score: 1.5/5

Review Response Example#7

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The Good: Straight off the bat, it's clear the replier actually read the review and put some thought into their response. Immediately, they apologise and offer a solution - no excuses are made or fingers pointed. But the really great thing about this review? It's human. It has personality, a bit of humour and is generally upbeat and happy. It leaves a positive lasting impression of the business in question, and is so friendly and personable, the customer's unlikely to still be angry after reading it.

The Bad: Only point to mention here is that the apology could've been a little stronger. Other than that, we'd say this review response is pretty much bang on.

In Summary

When it comes to writing your review response, it's essential to take some time to get it right. Taking that static review and turning it into a conversation is an extremely powerful thing, but get it wrong and it could come back to bite you.

Always apologise, be responsible - whether you agree or not - provide a solution, and you're likely to go too far wrong.

Confused about review responses? Give one our friendly team a call, or head over to our website to jump on live chat with one of our advisors - they'll be able to help you with anything you want to know.