Publish Date:
April 1, 2024

The Best 3 Star Review Response Examples

This guide for small business owners features 3 star review response examples and customizable templates for replying to customer ratings.

A 1 star review is clearly negative, and a 5 star review is clearly positive — but what about a customer who rates your business 3 stars? Is that type of review considered good or bad, and how should your business reply?

This guide for small business owners will cover everything you need to know about 3 star reviews and how to deal with them effectively. 

We go over tips and best practices for responding, provide real examples of responses from business owners, and feature review response templates your business can use to build its own responses. Lately, we answers FAQs about dealing with customer feedback.

Let's start by explaining what a 3 star review might indicate for your business. 

What does a 3 star review mean?

Yelp, Google, and most other review sites enable users to rate businesses on a scale of 1 to 5 stars when leaving a review. 

A 1 star rating or 2 star rating is considered a bad review. A 4 star rating is considered a positive review, and a 5 star rating is a great review. 

On a scale of 1 to 5 stars, a 3 star review is average. However, most consumers expect businesses to be rated higher than that — and, as recent data reveals, most businesses meet that expectation.

For example, the average Google business rating is 4.11 stars as of mid-2022. That's about 10% higher than the 2015 average score of 3.74 stars, according to SOCi. 

SOCi also found that “[A]n increase in one full star — for instance, a business that increases its average Google rating from 3.0 to 4.0 stars — corresponds with a 44% increase in conversions. Therefore, each tenth of a star increases conversion rate by 4.4%.” 

Brightlocal data shows similar trends. For example, only 13% of consumers would be willing to choose a brand rated 3 stars, vs. 37% for a business rated 4 stars. 

The takeaway is that, even if its overall tone is positive, a 3 star review can still hurt your brand’s reputation. Most consumers prefer to see ratings of at least 4 stars, and on Google — the largest, most influential review site — the average rating is actually above 4 stars. 

On the bright side, a 3 star review is superior to a 1 star rating or 2 star rating. Usually, a reviewer who leaves a 3 star rating was satisfied with at least some aspects of their customer experience. For example, they might praise your customer service or product quality while complaining about wait times or pricing. 

The tone of the 3-star review will determine what response strategy you should employ. Later in this guide, we’ll provide some examples of positive, negative, and mixed 3-star reviews, but first, let’s break down some basic “do’s” and “don’ts” of responding. 

How to respond to 3 star reviews: tips and best practices 

It's important to know best practices for replying to customer feedback. Following best practices will help you write on-brand, professional-sounding review responses, which has benefits like:

  • Controlling your online reputation and perceptions of your brand
  • Encouraging repeat business and boosting customer loyalty
  • Making a positive impression on undecided shoppers and potential customers

Here are five of our top tips for responding to 3 star online reviews

Express gratitude

It's important to always thank your customers for sharing their comments, regardless of whether they leave negative or positive reviews. Even if they rate your business without leaving a text review, you should still thank them for taking a moment to provide feedback. 

Respond to all positive and negative reviews

It's crucial to respond to all of your online reviews, on all review sites where you're listed, as quickly as possible. When responding, be sure to:

  • Use a professional tone that's courteous and helpful
  • Stay on-brand and be consistent with your messaging
  • Keep your response concise and on-topic 

Personalize your review responses

Most consumers prefer personalized content, such as personalized advertisements or product recommendations. Give consumers what they want by personalizing your review responses, such as:

  • Using the customer's name
  • Mentioning the name of your business and/or a staff member
  • Referencing specific details from the review

Sincerely apologize to unhappy customers

Some 3 star reviews are strongly negative. If a customer leaves a bad review, it's important to apologize and describe what actions you're taking to improve — for instance, sharing their feedback with your management team. 

You should also emphasize your commitment to customer satisfaction and providing a positive experience going forward. 

Encourage customers to contact you

Encourage further engagement by inviting customers to contact your business directly. Depending on the nature of the customer's comments, be sure to provide contact information for the appropriate staff member or department, such as your reception desk rather than your corporate headquarters. 

Emphasize that you want to learn more about their experience to improve your service going forward.  

Examples of responses to 3 star reviews

Our examples include 3 star reviews that are positive, negative, and neutral in tone, ensuring that you'll be prepared to deal with both happy and unhappy customers.

Along with the examples below, we've also included customizable response templates. Your business can use these templates to quickly reply to your customers on review sites like Yelp and Google.

Responding to 3 star positive reviews 

While most contain mixed or negative feedback, some 3 star reviews are completely positive, like the example shown below. 

When you receive a positive review accompanied by a 3 star rating, the best strategy is to thank the reviewer and invite them to provide additional feedback about improvements they’d like to see.

responding to a 3 star positive review example

Review response template: “Hi [ Customer Name ], thank you for taking a moment to commend [ Staff Member ] for their great service. We appreciate your valuable feedback and will be sure to share your kind comments with [ Staff Member ]. While we’re pleased to hear that you had a positive experience, we always welcome additional feedback about how we could improve our service even more. We would love to hear more from you and encourage you to contact us at [ phone number or email address ] if you’d like to share any further details. Thanks again for reviewing and supporting our business!” 

Responding to 3 star negative reviews 

If a 3 star rating is accompanied by a customer complaint or describes a negative experience, it’s crucial to apologize to the reviewer and emphasize your commitment to customer satisfaction. 

Depending on the nature of the customer’s issue and whether it’s still ongoing, you should also invite them to contact you for support. 

responding to a 3 star negative review

Review response template: “Thank you for reaching out to us with your comments, [ Reviewer Name ]. We apologize for the inconvenience and are here to help get your matter resolved. Please reach out to our [ customer support ] team by calling [ phone number] during our office hours or sending a message to [ email address ]. We’re committed to improving your satisfaction with our service, and we look forward to assisting you further. Thanks again for your review!” 

another example of responding to a three star negative review

Review response template: “Hi [ Customer Name ], thank you for taking a moment to leave us a rating and review. We’re sorry to hear that our recent upgrades didn’t meet your expectations. At [ Business Name ], our goal is to make every experience a positive one. We take your feedback seriously, as it helps us to improve our service. We encourage you to contact us directly if there’s anything we can assist you with, and we hope we’ll have the opportunity to serve you again soon!” 

Responding to 3 star neutral reviews 

Many 3 star reviews contain mixed or neutral sentiments. It's common for 3 star reviews to praise specific aspects of the customer's experience, such as friendly service, while complaining about other parts of the experience, such as high prices.

When your business receives a mixed or neutral review, it's important to acknowledge both the negative and positive aspects of the customer's experience. That means thanking and apologizing to the customer, inviting them to return to your business, and encouraging them to reach out for assistance if appropriate.

Here are a few examples of how to respond to neutral reviews in a positive way.

a 3 star neutral review
responding to a 3 star neutral review

Review response template: “Hi [ Customer Name ], thank you for taking the time to share your review with us. Please accept our sincere apologies for the inconvenience you experienced during your visit. At [ Business Name ], our goal is always to provide a positive experience to our guests. Your valuable feedback is being shared with our management team to improve our service in the future. We hope we’ll have an opportunity to serve you again soon and earn a high star rating on your next visit!” 

another example of responding to a 3 star neutral review

Review response template: “Hi [ Customer Name ], thanks so much for taking the time to share your valuable insights with our team. Your review means a lot to our business and helps us provide a more satisfactory experience. We appreciate your comments and will definitely take your feedback into consideration. If there’s anything else we can assist you with, please don’t hesitate to contact us at [ phone number or email address ]. From everyone here at [ Business Name ], we hope to serve you again soon! ” 

Responding to 3 star ratings with no review

According to research by SOCi, "Overall, from 2015 to present, reviews with text have declined by 28%." This trend is especially pronounced on Google, with SOCi finding that "52.4% of all Google reviews in our data had no text at all" as of 2022.

With rating-only reviews on the rise, business owners need to know how to respond to reviews without comments. The best strategy is to thank the reviewer and encourage them to share more details over a phone call, email, or follow-up online review. 

responding to a 3 star review without comments

Review response template: “Hi [ Customer Name ], thanks for taking a moment to leave us a rating! If you’d like to share any comments about how we could improve your customer experience, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at [ phone number or email address ]. We value your honest feedback, [ Customer Name ], and we hope to hear more from you soon. Thanks again for rating [ Business Name ]!” 

another example of responding to a 3 star review without comments

Review response template: “Hi [ Customer Name ], thanks for rating [ Business Name ]! We’re glad you were satisfied with your experience, but would love to learn how we could help make your future visits even better. Our team always welcomes honest feedback from our customers, which we use to grow and improve our service. We thank you again for your rating, [ Customer Name ], and hope to hear more from you soon!” 

When you respond to a 3 star rating or review, you have a few objectives:

  • Retain Existing Customers — Reassure the reviewer that you're working to address their concerns
  • Convert Potential Customers — Show potential customers that your company is committed to providing a great experience
  • Gain Actionable Insights — Encourage the reviewer to provide you with more feedback

The review response examples above show how to write responses that are aligned with these goals.

Can you delete 3 star reviews?

In short: it depends. If the review violates Google’s policies, it may be possible to have it taken down. Otherwise, the rating or review is unlikely to be removed. 

So what sort of reviews does Google prohibit? And what about other review sites, like Yelp or Trustpilot? 

Let’s start with Google’s review removal policy. 

Google explicitly bans all of the following types of content: 

  • “Gibberish and repetitive content,” including spam 
  • Hate speech
  • Obscenity and profanity
  • Offensive content, including “unsubstantiated allegations of unethical behavior or criminal wrongdoing” against your business 
  • Personal information

If a negative review contains prohibited content, such as hate speech or off-topic content, you can flag the review for removal. 

You can also flag reviews that violate Google’s rules against fraud and review manipulation, including: 

  • Fake or fraudulent reviews, such as fake negative reviews from your competitors 
  • Any review “that is not based on a real experience and does not accurately represent the location or product in question”
  • A duplicated review “that has been posted from multiple accounts to manipulate a place’s rating” 

Flagging a review does not enable you to delete it — instead, it means that Google will investigate and potentially remove the review. Google will notify you of its decision via email, typically within a few days of receiving your report. 

While each platform varies, most major review sites enforce similar rules and restrictions. Yelp, for instance, prohibits “threats, harassment, lewdness, [and] hate speech,” along with irrelevant content, promotional material, and reviews that are biased, fake, or compensated. 

Here are Google's step-by-step instructions for reporting an online review in Google Maps, Google Search, or directly from your business page: 

how to flag a review in google maps

You can also flag an inappropriate review using Google’s review management tool: 

how to flag a review in review management tool

You might also be interested in: 

How to easily manage 3 star reviews

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Leave the writing to our experienced team of scribes, who respond to your reviews in under 24 hours — or tap into the power of AI to generate personalized responses within minutes. 

Whether you decide to take a human-centric or AI-boosted approach to reputation management, ResponseScribe always gives you the power to: 

  • Approve responses before they’re published 
  • Request edits and revisions 
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Effortless set-up and implementation

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Flexible pricing for any size business

Cost is a critical factor when choosing a review management tool for your business. ResponseScribe offers three tiers of service, enabling you to scale as your business grows and expands.

Pricing starts at just $19 per month, which includes AI-generated responses, business insight reports, and up to 50 responses per month on 50+ leading review platforms. 

Get more with our Pro plan, which includes human-powered responses, or level up with our white-glove service, which includes 24/7 one-on-one support plus Google Q&A responses.  

responding to 3 star reviews with responsescribe

Boost your online reputation with automated review responses

Whether you’re looking to get more positive reviews, or you need help responding to feedback from customers, ResponseScribe and Shout About Us offer cost-effective, easy-to-implement solutions targeted to your specific goals. 

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FAQs

Should you respond to a 3 star review?

Yes. Your business should respond to all 3 star ratings and reviews, regardless of whether the customer feedback is positive, negative, or neutral. In fact, not only should your business respond to all 3 star reviews but to all online reviews and ratings. Brightlocal data shows that 88% of consumers are "'fairly' or 'highly' likely to use a business" that responds to all reviews, compared to just 58% for negative reviews only and 54% for positive reviews only.

What does a 3 star review mean?

Some 3 star reviews contain negative feedback, some contain positive feedback, and some are neutral reviews containing both positive and negative feedback. Yet despite ranging in sentiment, 3 star ratings are generally considered to be average or below average. According to SOCi, "The average business on Google has a rating of 4.11 stars" as of 2022, up from 3.74 in 2015. And only 13% of consumers are willing to use businesses with a 3 star rating, which jumps to 37% for businesses rated 4 stars. 

Is a 3 star review neutral?

Three star reviews can vary in tone. Some are enthusiastically positive, but most contain mixed or negative feedback. Since some 3 star reviews are negative while others are neutral or positive, the contents of the review will determine the type of response strategy you should use. Remember that most consumers expect businesses to have a minimum rating of at least 4 stars (37%), with only 13% willing to use businesses rated 3 stars. From that perspective, 3 star reviews are negative for your business.

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