Google reviews is one of the most effective ways of creating a high-visibility opportunity for researchers to find you and make fast decisions on whether to buy your products or services. It creates a public arena for you to show off your positive (or negative) reputation, acquire and manage customer feedback, and improve your business with real time data. Given it’s importance, here are 8 best practices for managing your Google Reviews and getting the most out of your effort.
1. Claim Your Google Business Listing on Google
To claim your business listing on Google, first, you need to have a Google account. Once you have signed in to your account, go to Google My Business and click on the “Manage now” button. From there, search for your business by name and address. If your business is not listed, you can create a new listing. If it is listed, you can claim the listing by following the verification process, which usually involves receiving a verification code by mail or phone. Once you’ve verified your business, you can update and manage your business information, respond to reviews, and post updates to your Google listing.
2. Respond to Every Google Review
Responding to every Google review, whether positive or negative, in a timely and professional manner is important for several reasons. Firstly, it shows that you value and appreciate your customers’ feedback, and are committed to providing excellent customer service. By responding to reviews, you can also address any concerns or issues that customers may have, and provide helpful information that can influence their decision-making process. Additionally, responding to reviews can improve your search engine optimization (SEO). It also shows potential customers that you are an engaged and responsive business, which can help build trust and credibility. Finally, responding to negative reviews publicly and handling the situation professionally can help mitigate any negative impact on your reputation and potentially turn the situation around. Overall, responding to every Google review in a timely and professional manner can have a positive impact on your business’s reputation, customer satisfaction, and search engine ranking.
3. Take Negative Reviews Offline to Resolve
Taking the conversation offline when responding to a Google review involves acknowledging the reviewer’s feedback and then providing contact information or an alternative channel for further communication. Here’s an example of how to do this:
“Thank you for your feedback. We apologize for any inconvenience caused and would like to assist you in resolving the issue. Could you please reach out to us directly at [insert email address or phone number] so we can discuss this further and find a solution?”
By providing contact information or an alternative channel for communication, you can move the conversation out of the public eye and have a more personalized and constructive conversation with the reviewer to resolve the issue. This approach also shows that you take their concerns seriously and are committed to providing a satisfactory resolution.
4. Promote Your Business Using Google Reviews
While it is not appropriate to directly ask reviewers to promote your business, you can use your responses to their positive feedback as an opportunity to indirectly encourage them to spread the word. Here’s an example of how to do this:
“Thank you for taking the time to leave us a positive review! We are thrilled to hear that you had a great experience with us. If you know anyone who could benefit from our services, we would be grateful if you could share your experience with them. Word of mouth is a powerful tool, and we appreciate your support in helping us grow our business.”
By thanking the reviewer for their positive feedback and expressing gratitude, you can create a positive impression and encourage them to share their experience with others. It’s important to remember that reviews should be genuine and unsolicited, so avoid offering incentives or rewards for promoting your business. Instead, focus on providing excellent customer service and creating memorable experiences that will naturally lead to positive reviews and word-of-mouth referrals.
5. Avoid Incentivizing Customers for Reviews
Incentivizing customers to leave reviews is not recommended because it can compromise the authenticity and credibility of the reviews. When customers are offered incentives, such as discounts or free products, in exchange for leaving a review, they may feel pressured to leave a positive review even if they did not have a positive experience. This can lead to a skewed perception of your business and potentially damage your reputation if customers discover that the reviews are not genuine.
Furthermore, incentivizing reviews is a violation of Google’s review policies, which prohibit businesses from offering incentives in exchange for reviews. Violating these policies can result in Google removing the reviews or even suspending or disabling your business listing.
Instead of incentivizing reviews, businesses should focus on providing excellent customer service and encouraging customers to leave reviews organically. This can be done by simply asking customers to leave a review after a positive experience or by following up with customers after a purchase to gather feedback. By creating an exceptional customer experience, businesses can earn genuine and positive reviews that will build trust and credibility with potential customers.
6. Never Post Fake Google Reviews
Posting fake reviews on your Google business profile is a violation of Google’s review policies and can have serious consequences. Here are some of the potential outcomes if you post fake reviews:
- Google may remove the fake reviews: Google has a team of moderators who regularly review business listings and can remove fake reviews that violate their policies. This can damage your business’s reputation and reduce your overall rating.
- Your business listing may be suspended or removed: If Google determines that you have repeatedly violated their review policies, they may suspend or even remove your business listing from their platform.
- Legal repercussions: Posting fake reviews can be considered deceptive advertising and can result in legal action against your business. This can lead to fines and damage to your business’s reputation.
- Trust and credibility: Fake reviews can erode the trust and credibility that your business has with potential customers. When customers discover that your reviews are fake, it can damage your reputation and lead to a loss of business.
Posting fake reviews on your Google business profile can have serious consequences and is not worth the risk. It’s important to focus on providing exceptional customer service and earning genuine reviews from satisfied customers.
7. Use Google Reviews to Improve Your Business
Customer feedback from Google reviews can provide valuable insights that can help improve your business in several ways:
- Identifying strengths and weaknesses: Reviews can provide information about what customers like and dislike about your business. You can use this feedback to identify areas of your business that are performing well and areas that need improvement.
- Improving customer service: Reviews can highlight specific areas where your customer service may be lacking or could be improved. Addressing these concerns can lead to a better overall customer experience and higher customer satisfaction.
- Resolving customer issues: Negative reviews provide an opportunity to address and resolve customer issues. By responding promptly and professionally to negative reviews, you can demonstrate your commitment to customer service and potentially turn a negative experience into a positive one.
- Enhancing your reputation: Positive reviews can help enhance your business’s reputation and credibility. Potential customers are more likely to trust businesses with high ratings and positive feedback.
- Informing business decisions: Reviews can provide insights into customer preferences and behaviors that can inform business decisions. For example, if several customers mention a particular product or service that they would like to see offered, this information can be used to expand your offerings.
Overall, customer feedback from Google reviews can provide valuable information that can help improve your business and enhance the customer experience. By paying attention to feedback, addressing concerns, and making improvements, you can build a positive reputation and earn customer loyalty.
8. Implement a Review Management System
Implementing a review management system can help streamline the review process and track progress over time. Here are some steps to consider:
- Choose a review management platform: There are many review management platforms available that can help automate the process of requesting, monitoring, and responding to reviews. Choose a platform that best fits your business needs and budget.
- Set up automated review requests: Use the review management platform to set up automated review requests to be sent to customers after they make a purchase or use your services. This can be done via email, SMS, or other methods. Customize the message to reflect your brand and encourage customers to leave a review.
- Monitor reviews: Use the review management platform to monitor reviews across different platforms, including Google, Yelp, and social media. Set up alerts to notify you when a new review is posted, so you can respond promptly.
- Respond to reviews: Use the review management platform to respond to reviews in a timely and professional manner. Customize your responses based on the type of review (positive, negative, or neutral) and provide a personalized message that addresses the customer’s concerns or feedback.
While there are plenty of other review sites out there such as Yelp, Tripadvisor, and other more industry-specific options, Google is universally accepted as the leader in online reviews for businesses. Over 90% of customers read reviews before purchasing or committing to a service online, and 84% say they trust the online reviews. Having a system to manage and leverage Google reviews to improve your business inside an out is a huge step to taking your business to the next level.