Responding to Google Reviews
Everyone is familiar with Google Reviews. They’re those star ratings that you will see next to a business when you’e doing a Google search. The stars are a way for all potential customers to get an instant idea of the level of service to expect. A 4 or 5-star business looks like a safe bet right away, while a 1 or 2 star looks like a risky proposition. In fact, 85% of consumers trust online reviews just as much as personal recommendations.* You can’t control the content of your reviews, but you can have a heavy influence over your rating by taking some steps to boost it up while mitigating the damage from any bad reviews whenever possible.
The Dreaded Negative Review
It’s obvious that the best way to handle negative reviews is by avoiding them in the first place with excellent service and attention to detail. But, that doesn’t help you when you have angry customers dropping 1-star reviews on your profile like atomic bombs. There are two methods for softening the blow of some harsh online critics. When dealing with negative reviews your first step is to make a public response.
Responding to Reviews
All reviews deserve a direct response from your company whether they’re negative or positive. Actively responding to all reviews displays a level of attentiveness that goes hand-in-hand with good customer service. Negative reviews are going to look bad no matter what, however their impact can sting a bit less when they’re paired with your thoughtful response that will be appended right below.
Keep your response sincere and to the point without over promising. Depending on the review, the customer may be right in their criticisms. Every business owner can think of a time when they did wrong by one of their customers. They can also recall a confrontation where the customer was pissed off even when they were in the wrong. Your potential customers viewing your Google profile won’t be privy to any of the greater context in these cases. They will only be viewing the distilled version of the conflict in the form of [Complaint : Response].
Crafting Your Reply
Make sure to express your apologies while addressing their individual complaints. If appropriate, let them know what you will be doing to ensure that this doesn’t happen to them (or the person reading these reviews) again. Avoid any type of criticisms of the person that left the review or anything that looks like an argument. Potential customers want to see that issues are dealt with professionally.
We talked about responding to negative reviews. Responding to positive reviews is easy. What about the reviews where they aren’t upset, but maybe they weren’t thrilled either? This can be a great opportunity to show where your business is improving or changing. Below is a great example of how to reply to nice, yet unenthusiastic customers:
How to Enter Your Response
Log into your Google MyBusiness profile to see all of your current reviews and get the chance to respond. If you don’t have a GMB profile see my last post on getting set up with one. After logging into your account, just click on ‘reviews’ from the main menu. You will then be shown a list of all of your reviews. Just click on one for the opportunity to post a reply. Just keep in mind that this is totally public and not a private response to the reviewer.
Recovering from Negative Reviews
After receiving a few poor reviews, it can seem that you have fallen into a hole that won’t be easy to climb out of. Responding to the negative reviews is a good start, but that won’t do anything to boost your overall star rating. A positive ranking may be even more important than you thought. 49% of consumers need at least a 4-star rating before they choose to use a business.*
The only way to fix your star rating is by adding positive reviews to drown out the negative. Once you start to receive a good amount of 4 and 5-star reviews your negative reviews will begin to look like the outlier and not the standard.
Soliciting Positive Reviews
Asking for feedback from all of your customers is a good business practice in general. Here is a simple 3-step process for making sure that your satisfied customer’s comments can be made visible to your potential customers:
- Ask for feedback from all customers. This can be done via email or phone (or another method depending on what type of business you have and what information you have collected from the customer)
- Identify customers with positive feedback
- Direct those happy customers to leave you a Google review
Make it easy for the customer by including a link that brings them to an open review box on your business profile. Use this site to generate those links.
*All statistics included in this post were sourced from BrightLocal’s 2017 Consumer Review Survey.