Many business owners see Google reviews as a bit of a double edged sword. The potential to show off how great customers think your company is certainly is a fantastic opportunity. But the fear of negative reviews having backlash against potential customers is a daunting concept to say the least. Throw into account the fact that over 75% consumers trust online reviews as much as recommendations from family and friends according to an article from BrightLocal, and the stakes have certainly been raised!So what can you do to improve your Google reviews? Well according to this Harvard study, simply replying to reviews shows a positive trend in the number of positive reviews a business has. There’s a number as to why this is the case, but the data showed that businesses who do respond to reviews increased their rounded score by half a star out of 5 within 6 months of starting to manage their responding process. Google my business is an important component to local SEO, with reviews making up a core part of the local ranking algorithm
Let’s start with the heavy one. Negative reviews are inevitable for any business, so don’t feel bad when one comes in. Sometimes a negative review may just be from a customer's expectations being misaligned from the experience they had, or a one off incident that can easily be resolved. Be aware that the actions you take following this review is where the real damage can be done, but maybe not how you were expecting...
While they are sometimes not the most flattering to receive, they do always contain a silver lining. What you are reading is at some level constructive feedback. Take a deep breath, look at the review and think critically about what is being said. Ask yourself critically, “Is the customer right in what they are saying?”. While you may feel compelled to immediately say no, there may be some evidence to the contrary. Do some background research and find out if they have been wronged in some way. You may find that there is something in your process that you would like to amend. Regardless, be sure to always take time to respond to the review calmly, never immediately go in guns blazing.
If a customer has reviewed you publicly, it pays to respond publicly. Stay away from the urge to respond privately, as you are missing out on a golden opportunity. You want to show all customers, not just the one who submitted the review, that you care about your customers and that you are attentive to their concerns. People want to have a product or service from someone who cares after all.
Now that you are on show, it’s time to put on a good one! Be empathising and considerate of their situation. You want to extend out the olive branch to fix this issue, and no one is going to grab a thorny one. While it’s important to be kind, it’s more important to offer a solution. Whether it’s a product recall, advice on how to proceed or a free voucher, you want to ensure that an action can be taken. Even if you did nothing wrong, you need to be caring for an unsatisfied customer.
This is more of what we want. Positive reviews are a great affirmation of your business’ value. If you’ve received a positive review - well done! Be sure to follow up that review and add extra value to the feedback for your customers. Don’t worry, this is easier than responding to negative reviews (and a lot less daunting!)
Your customer has just taken time out of their day to do you a solid, that review may be the difference in making a sale in future! When responding to them, little details matter. While you can get away with having canned responses from a template, ensure that at least refer to them by name. Refrain from saying “Hey there” unless they have left a fake name. The customer will feel far more appreciated and genuinely cared for.
With the positive review being so beneficial to you, don’t be afraid to show your gratitude. Each review (positive and negative) is important to your business and you want each customer to know that you appreciate the time they’ve taken to review you. It shows that you aren’t just trying to eliminate the negative reviews and that you are thankful for any potential future reviews.
Thanking a customer for their review is definitely a great activity to undertake, but have you considered how it is also an opportunity? The customer has opened a dialogue with you, and you now have the chance to provide even more value to them! Have a read through the review and see if there is anything you can add. If a customer left a review of the special pasta on your menu, why not let them know of any potential specials that you have planned for the future? Take this time and you may find your satisfied customer soon becoming an ambassador for your business, actively promoting it to their network.
Now that you are ready to tackle your reviews, it’s time to login and begin that value adding. If you are using a desktop, follow the steps below:
If you have access to the Google My Business app on your mobile device, you can respond to any reviews on the go:
If you are the business owner/operator then you have the chance to show appreciation and support for your clients at the top level. Whether the review is positive or negative, your response carries more weight than from an employee. It shows that everyone in the company values the customer experience and feedback. As a business owner, you will definitely have some value to add to the customer. If they had a bad experience be sure to apologise. You want to show that you are a human and care, not just a money-hungry business person. If you have the ability, be sure to offer ways in which the issue can be resolved as business owners. You can often have a negative review removed if you can resolve the issue.