Why your business should respond to Google Reviews
A guest post by Frankie Wallace.
A customer walks into your café — their favourite café, the one they visit every week — and checks out the menu.
She asks the guy behind the counter about the specials. He looks up from his phone and mumbles something, then puts his head right back down.
This customer who’s been loyal for years, asks him to repeat it. He sighs, rudely responds, and then snatches the cash from her hand once she orders.
There’s a good chance that not only will they have lost one of their best customers, but that she’s going to share her experience with her friends, family, and worst of all, the local online community.
Google reviews allow customers to talk about their experience with a business without the trouble of having to download an app.
The reviews are posted online and placed on the business’ Google listing. These reviews are extremely important for small businesses, especially those that cater to a local audience.
The importance of Google Reviews for small business
Reviews are important for small businesses in general, but the power of Google Reviews lies in Google itself.
For many customers, Google is the first touchpoint between them and a business. Since consumers already use Google for so much, it’s logical that it’s also the place to go to read reviews.
If you’re an Amazon shopper, you’ve probably noticed a similar trend. Amazon reviews let customers discover the best and worst aspects of a product before they buy.
When an Amazon seller sees a positive review, they can personally thank the reviewer, offer them a cross-sell or upsell product they think they’ll like, and continue to build the relationship.
When the seller sees a negative review, they can jump in to remedy the situation before that one review impacts other buyers’ decisions.
Benefits of responding to Google Reviews
In the past, responding to Google reviews was something only certain businesses did — the ones that went above and beyond.
Today, responding to reviews is a common expectation that customers have. This is especially true when it comes to negative reviews, but even positive reviews shouldn’t go unnoticed.
When someone takes the time to leave a positive review, they want to know that the company received it and appreciates it. While you don’t necessarily have to reply to positive reviews as swiftly as negative reviews, give them attention every few days.
Aside from meeting customer expectations, responding to Google reviews can improve local SEO.
Reviews don’t just show up on the business’ Google listing, but also on their Google Map listing, which is what a lot of customers will look at when trying to find a local business.
Reviews influence Google rankings as well, and the highest ranked business will show up more prominently in Google Map searches. The same is true for mobile searches.
How to effectively respond to a Google Review
In order to respond to your Google reviews, you have to sign in to your Google business account.
Once in there, there’s a section for managing reviews. If you have trouble accessing the reviews, this article has a step-by-step guide.
Responding to positive reviews is simple and fun:
- Address the reviewer by name whenever possible.
- Warmly express your gratitude for their kind words.
- Provide extra value. For example, encourage them to sign up for your mailing list.
Negative reviews are trickier. You may not win the customer over, but you can show everyone else that your company makes the effort.
Keep in mind that 70 percent of consumers say that a company’s response to a negative review can impact whether or not they will do business with that brand. Here’s how to handle them:
- Make sure that what the reviewer says sinks in before you respond. You want to be professional and helpful, not emotional and scattered.
- Respond publicly to the review. You want the rest of your audience to see how you handle the situation.
- Empathize with the customer and offer them solutions. Do this even if you wholeheartedly disagree with what they said.
- Be alert for abusive or fake reviews. There are several violations that can justify the removal of a review. If you suspect a review may be illegitimate or harassment, report it to Google.
How are Google Reviews affecting your business?
As a business, you probably have ads and marketing campaigns that you’ve put a lot of time into.
For the customer, though, Google reviews are a more authentic and trustworthy way to gauge what their experience will be like. Customers can find out what to expect from a company, and businesses can improve their social proof or uncover sticking points that are getting in the way of their success.
Because of this, being open and honest in responding to reviews is so important — it shows your potential customers the kind of business they will be dealing with, which is ideally one that shows honesty and integrity in the face of both positive and negative feedback, and demonstrating those skills is priceless. Good luck!
About the author
Frankie Wallace regularly contributes to a wide variety of blogs and enjoys writing about health tips and politics. Wallace currently resides in Boise, Idaho and is a recent graduate from the University of Montana.