How to respond to google reviews

by | Jun 14, 2018

In the past, the reputation of a local business relied on word of mouth. That concept holds true today, however, potential customers will get to know your business and its reputation by a different medium: Google reviews. Google reviews are critical to the success of a local business. With 97% of consumers looking online for local businesses, it’s undeniable that potential customers look to current customers for help. As a business owner, understanding how to respond to Google Reviews is also extremely critical in building a positive online presence as well as encouraging other customers to leave their feedback.

But, how does one go about responding to online reviews? Do positive online reviews need a response at all? How do you even approach a negative review? Don’t fret!  All of these questions are covered in this post so you can manage your online feedback and engage with consumers, resulting in growth in your business.

Importance of Google Reviews

Potential customers value other customer reviews because they consider shared experiences from their peers more trustworthy than biased information provided by an actual business. In fact, in a recent consumer survey, 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations! With almost everyone having a smartphone on them at all times, consumers research online for a local business now more than ever.

On average, consumers will read 7 reviews before they trust a local business. That number increased from 6 in 2016 so consumers are becoming even more dependent on online reviews before choosing a company.

Google reviews not only affect your potential business growth, but they affect your potential website rankings as well. And understanding how to respond to Google reviews can help your business’ growth and potential in a positive way.

Moz’s Local Search Ranking Factors Survey concludes that online reviews make up about 10% of how Google and other Search Engines decide to rank your website.

Simply put…investing in getting Google reviews from your customers is likely to bump up your search rankings. Even if your search rankings didn’t improve you’re likely to get more website visitors because companies with higher star ratings have higher click-through rates. According to studies, businesses with a 5-star rating in Google’s local pack get 25% more clicks than those with a 3-star rating!

Why You Should Respond to Positive Reviews

All reviews, whether positive or negative, play a vital role in your business’ online reputation. The key is to smartly respond to the feedback and use it to your advantage to grow your business.

68% of customers claim to trust a business more when it has positive reviews.   If a faithful and trusted customer leaves a glowing five-star review, it would seem like it couldn’t get any better than that. However, it can.

By responding to a positive review, it benefits both your brand and your relationship with your customers.  Remember, reviews are public, so positive conversations regarding your brand can do wonders for your business!

Everyone is looking. 92% of customers read online reviews.  Chances are, potential customers will be reading both your positive and negative reviews.  Replying to positive reviews is a chance for you to engage, speak to your potential customers, and do some subtle marketing.  

Lastly, replying to a positive review is simply the polite thing to do.  If a customer complimented you and your business in person, you would thank them and tell them you appreciate them.  Replying to a positive review is exactly that…it’s thanking your customers for their kind words and their business.

How to Respond to a Positive Google Review

It’s pretty obvious at this point that responding to positive reviews is a must for your business.  But, how exactly should you respond to a positive google review?

Say Thank You!

First things first, simply thank the customer for their review and be as specific as you can.  This ensures the reviewer, and potential customers, that a real person is thanking them and this isn’t an automated reply.

Add Subtle Marketing

By simply using your business name and location in your response, it will potentially boost your company’s search rankings.  Feature any new features or current promotions that will catch the eye of future customers.

Give a Point of Action

Invite the customer to do something in your response.  Encourage customer engagement, by asking each customer to return and to take advantage of your next promotion or to spread the word about their experience.

Why You Should Respond to Negative  Reviews

Negative reviews can make any business owner shudder as they can be crippling to a local business.  Even worse–negative reviews that have no response. Dealing with negative reviews does not have to be difficult or time-consuming.  In fact, negative reviews can be leveraged as a marketing and branding opportunity.

Make no mistake: no brand can prevent every sour review.  However, with prompt and effective review responses, you can make restitution with valuable customers and protect your revenue by keeping those customers.  You are not just replying to that one particular reviewer, you are speaking to every person reading that review–more than likely potential future customers.   By replying, you can ultimately change a potential customer’s perception. You are showing potential customers that you are not neglectful to feedback and that you take steps to ensure that the issue won’t happen again.  

How to Respond to Negative  Reviews

The best thing to do when receiving negative reviews is to react promptly and strategically. Here are some tips to help you respond to negative reviews and turn those unpleasant situations into a positive experience.  

Apologize and sympathize

Acknowledge the customer’s concerns and show sympathy toward their experience.  Even if their statement is unwarranted–apologize for their unpleasant experience.

Never try to win an argument online

Being defensive with your response or “stating your case” will likely do more harm than good. Potential customers will be reading your response and they want to see that you value even an unhappy customer. Potential customers need to trust a business before doing business with them. They want to know that if they have a bad experience the business will work to make it right, not just ignore them. Continue the conversation offline.

Provide the customer’s contact information with someone in your company so they can personally discuss the customer’s issue.  

Keep it short and sweet

Don’t go into too much detail or ask questions.  This will protect you from saying something that might upset the customer even further.  Three sentences for your entire reply is a good rule of thumb.

Remember, if you get a negative review for your business, it does not mean that your business is bad. The review could have been a result of mismatched expectation. Not all customers that you work with are going to leave your business happy – despite your best efforts.  With more and more people leaving reviews for businesses, receiving a negative review is inevitable but now you know how to use it to your advantage. As the old saying goes “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade!”.

In Conclusion

In the end, everything circles back to understanding how to respond to Google reviews and realizing that those Google reviews are critical.  The actual process is pain-free. Google reviews are easy to manage, and they will help your business grow. You may find it tempting to simply ignore these reviews and carry on about your business, but you will be missing a huge opportunity!

Do you have more questions or need help with your reputation management? Contact us and we can help you master how to respond to Google reviews in a successful way!

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