Responding to business reviews is as important as getting them. Whether it’s a positive or negative, brief or lengthy, it is the responsibility of the business to respond timely and accordingly to these statements.

Reviews are a constant part of any business. Whether it’s good or bad reviews, they add to your business publicity. If you are a self-published author promoting your book online, reviews as well as comments to your website, social media, review discussions, and all other materials related to your brand can make or break your reputation online.

One important mindset businesses must adopt is to address each and every review no matter what it says. Good reviews need to reach other target customers. Bad reviews need to be neutralized and if possible revised into a positive one. Staying passive and letting these reviews will not do your business any good.

Also, reviews are not black and white. So, we categorized them into five, each with different features and how to appropriately deal with them.

Code 1: Pleasant Reviews

Positive reviews are the ultimate advertising materials. There is no greater form of validating your brand or service than a positive word coming from a previous customer. A positive review can be a simple testimonial about how satisfied a customer is. Mentioning staff or repeatedly praising the brand is another level of a positive review. The one that packs strong convincing power though are reviews that recommend your brand to the public.

Approach: First, make sure to thank the reviewee. Let them know that you appreciate them taking the time to put in a good word for that particular service. It helps if you mention the particular service or product that he or she is referring to. Share it with your crew. Mentioning this in your response lets the reviewee as well as other people that you have qualified people working with you. It is important that you invite your customers to return. For positive reviews, choose to respond publicly.

Code 2: Negative Reviews

You cannot please everybody. This is a tough reality and sometimes they come in the form of negative business reviews. As much as we want to avoid them, we eventually have to face them in order to make things right and to avoid them from spreading and doing more damage to our business. Negative reviews need to be addressed timely and with certain care if you truly want to win back your customer’s trust.

Approach: First, address the reviewer politely and thank them for the review. Whatever the reason, say sorry. It does not do well for us to be proud and there is nothing wrong with admitting your mistakes or shortcomings. However, do not do lengthy apologies. Go directly to resolving the issues and exhaust all means in doing so. Lastly, make sure to extend your hand and apologized one more time. If you can address negative reviews offline or privately if you can. If not, make sure the public knows you’ve done your part in resolving the issue. This is the least you can do to gain sympathy out of a negative review.

Code 3: Neutral Reviews

There are customers that are not really generous with their business reviews. These are the neutral reviews and they come in the form of three-star reviews and brief, perfunctory statements. They are unimpressed but they are not frustrated or disappointed either.

Approach: Neutral reviews lean a little on positive reviews. So the trick is to approach it with gratitude and excitement. The tricky part is to convince to come back. Make sure you offer something a little extra this time around. Whatever it is you plan to win them back, never forget that you are aiming to turn the three-star review into a five-star review.

Code 4: Fictitious Reviews

Fake business reviews are easy to make because it’s easy to come up with a fake account. However, they only amount to 15-30 percent of all total reviews.

Approach: First, you have to confirm if it’s a genuinely fake review. Once confirm, have the review flagged down as a fake and report it. Renowned review sites such as Trustpilot and Goodreads react immediately to fake reviews. While waiting for the flag down or result, avoid engaging the review. Unless, the site prohibits you from flagging reviews as fake. Respond calmly and politely and issue a disclaimer of having doing any transaction with the reviewee. Do not be aggressive. As soon as you’re done with the response, figure a way to bury the fake review with positive reviews.

* Nuisance Reviews

The difference between fictitious reviews and nuisance reviews is its threat level. Still, whether they are using fictitious or real accounts, be ready to response to annoying and senseless reviews. They become a threat if they issue damaging statements. Until such time, they best way to deal with these is to ignore them and bury them with significant and positive reviews.

ReadersMagnet does reviews for authors and their books. is features reviews daily.