Respond to Google reviews in order to boost your SEO and give you the opportunity to connect with existing customers and attract new ones.
Attracting new customers to your business should always be a top priority to build awareness and increase sales. Did you know your Google My Business account can have an impact on how many people find you through online searches?
It all comes down to Google reviews. These reviews can increase your search rankings, or search engine optimization (SEO). This has a direct effect on how many people find your business when searching online, especially local customers.
Responding to Google reviews is good for customers and good for your business.
How to manage Google reviews for your business
- Set up a system to monitor and respond to reviews
- Create templates for different situations
- Empower staff to make things right
- Be prompt
- Respond in public, repair in private
- Ask for an updated review
Why is it essential to respond to Google reviews?
Business owners have multiple priorities fighting for their attention, and making time to go online to attend to reviews is easy to put off.
However, consider how important a review feels to the customer leaving it. This may change your perspective. Someone who purchased from you or dealt with your business decided to take a few moments to connect with you to share their experience. Good or bad, that’s a customer who has asked for your attention or engagement.
Here are reasons why you should respond to Google reviews:
- Show appreciation for positive reviews.
- Avoid disappointing customers who expect to hear back from you.
- Acknowledge and address the concerns of unhappy customers.
- Attract new customers who are influenced by online reviews.
- Boost SEO, especially local search results.
A survey of local consumers done by BrightLocal found that 77 per cent always or regularly read online reviews; 89 per cent are highly or fairly likely to use a business that responds to all of its online reviews; and 57 per cent are not very or not at all likely to use a business that doesn’t respond to reviews. Business owners can’t afford to ignore the influence these interactions have on potential new customers.
What do I need to do to start responding to Google reviews?
Digging into Google reviews triggers a lot of questions for business owners. How do you respond to someone’s Google review of your business? Why does this type of feedback matter so much?
Before you can respond to reviews you have to create your Business profile and verify your business on Google. Then you can reply to reviews from your business profile on Google Search or your business profile on Google Maps.
Verifying your business means you’re confirming the business information Google has for your company and that you’re the only one able to edit it online. There’s a bit of a delay to complete the verification, so it’s a good idea to do it right away.
How should I respond to Google reviews?
It can be unnerving for a business owner to see reviews posted publicly and respond. After all, there’s an element of unpredictability when people can simply go online and comment on their experience with your business. It’s crucial to have a strategy for responding to both positive and negative reviews.
Responding to positive Google reviews
Positive Google reviews are a pleasure to receive, yet you might be surprised to learn just how many businesses don’t reply to them. Offering a response to a positive review can make your customers feel heard and appreciated.
As well, if reviews and responses help boost your SEO, why wouldn’t you take the opportunity to reply? Simply acknowledge the comment, answer any questions, and express your gratitude and appreciation for their business.
Handling negative Google reviews
The best approach to managing negative reviews is not taking them personally. Instead, pause before replying. Gather information to help sort the situation out and then draft a response. You are more likely to remain calm, help your customer feel heard and focus on a solution by following these steps.
Your initial response should be public. This will demonstrate your responsiveness and willingness to address the situation. Then shift the conversation to a one-on-one format, such as email, phone or private message.
Remember that negative reviews aren’t the end of the world. In many cases, things that trigger a bad review can be out of your control or simply a misunderstanding. Remaining professional and showing compassion for your customers can go a long way to making the situation better.
Focus on taking responsibility, apologizing where appropriate and fixing what you can. Most customers will be satisfied with high degrees of responsiveness and transparency. They don’t expect perfection.
6 best practices to manage Google reviews for your business
Here are a few best practices to ensure you are proactive about managing your Google reviews and don’t get stuck second-guessing how to handle uncomfortable situations:
- Set up a system to monitor and respond: Everyone should know whose responsibility it is to respond to reviews and when it happens.
- Create templates for different situations: This will help with difficult replies and ensure you maintain a consistent, constructive tone across all responses.
- Empower staff to make things right: Whoever is in charge of responding to reviews should be able to offer solutions to help make a negative situation better.
- Be prompt: Don’t let reviews sit for days or weeks. Be prepared to respond from both desktop computers and mobile devices to avoid delays.
- Respond in public, repair in private: Move conversations to private platforms if they will take time to resolve, but be sure to answer publicly to show you’re responsive and committed to making things right.
- Ask for an updated review: If a customer is satisfied with your response, ask if they’d consider updating their review before ending the interaction. They may feel moved to adjust their rating to reflect how they feel about what’s transpired in the conversations with you.
Google reviews are an opportunity to show gratitude to your best customers, make things right when errors occur and get a clear sense of how your customers experience your brand. Consider it the most direct form of feedback you’ll ever receive and use it to build relationships and improve your customer service.
How can I encourage my customers to leave more Google reviews?
Many happy customers don’t think to leave reviews, so be proactive. Ask for reviews whenever you have a positive interaction with a client. For example, you can ask after you’ve completed a sale or transaction, by email, when you wrap up a telephone conversation, or when you send a bill or invoice. Supplying a link to your business profile will make it easy for them.
Your customers may not know how to leave a review, so some gentle encouragement and information can help. Here’s all they need to do:
- Sign into Google with their Gmail account.
- Search for your business on Google.
- Click to leave a review.
- Choose a star rating and leave their written review.
Responding to Google reviews is good for customer engagement and gives you a valuable SEO boost when people are searching for businesses like yours online. Your response to a Google review influences more than the customer who provided it.
Download the Search Engine Marketing Handbook to learn more about improving your search rankings and attracting customers to your business.